Skip to content
Open menu Close menu


Details of our projects can be found below.


Members of NARU have been involved in the excavation and survey of sites on the island of Sandøy as part of the international Heart of the Atlantic Project.

During the 2009 season, rescue work at Við Kirkjugarð (the churchyard) in the village of Sandur continued. The following newsletters chart the team's progress.

Excavation News 22-28 June

Excavation News 29 June - 5 July

Excavation News 6-12 July

Excavation News 13-19 July


Anadarko (Faroes), Leverhulme Trust (UK), National Science Foundation (USA). 

Orkney Gateway to the Atlantic

Orkney Standing Stones of Stenness Prior to the formation of NARU, work was carried out in Orkney on the island of Sanday.

The island was visited again when Steve Dockrill and Dr Julie Bond took part in a Time Team excavation at Westbrough. In 2009, the first 'Orkney Gateway to the Atlantic' North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation field school took place. The project is being run by Steve Dockrill, Julie Bond and Ingrid Mainland, in collaboration with Jane Downes and Julie Gibson from Orkney College, UHI.

This archaeological project commenced at the end of June 2009 and centred on the island of Rousay. The research project formed a new international field school for the North Atlantic Biocultural Organisation (NABO) and complements others in the Faroes, Iceland and Greenland. NABO is a non-profit making research co-operative investigating human settlement and adaptation across the North Atlantic. Researchers are from Scandinavia, the United Kingdom, Faroes, Iceland, and North America.

The project is led by Steve Dockrill and Julie Bond from Archaeological Sciences, University of Bradford and Jane Downes, Ingrid Mainland and Julie Gibson from Orkney College, UHI.

Orkney offers some of the best archaeology in Northern Europe, as shown by the stone circle at Stenness, which forms part of the World Heritage Area (Heart of Neolithic Orkney). This rich archaeological resource provides an educational background to the students’ training.

The protected archaeology in the World Heritage Area forms the tip of an archaeological iceberg, with many Orcadian sites being endangered by coastal erosion. This situation will be exacerbated further by global warming and resulting sea level change. The eroding sites have huge research potential and are able to provide important archaeological and scientific data which can inform us on how people confronted the marginality of these northern islands in the past.

The archaeological information offered by these sites can be increased with intensive landscape survey (topographical and geophysical) together with targeted test pitting and selective excavation to answer key questions. These techniques introduce the student to a wide range of skills.

Tofts Ness, Sanday

Tofts Ness Cover The excavations at Tofts Ness were published in 2007 by The Orcadian in association with Historic Scotland, and launched, with the accompanying Pool volume in Orkney, firstly on Sanday, and then in Kirkwall.


Researchers have been involved in many projects in Shetland mainly in collaboration with Shetland Amenity Trust. The projects are: