Grants awarded 2019
OAS funding of £2000 granted
Title: Prospecting for Orkney’s Maritime Heritage
The Prospecting for Orkney’s Maritime Infrastructure Research Project is a programme involving other academics and local community interest groups conducting marine and onshore survey fieldwork to record early harbours, landing places, maritime sites, structures and artefacts in Orkney.
Taking an holistic approach that incorporates Westerdahl’s definition of the maritime landscape, we are using and hope to develop a multi-disciplinary methodology, including targeted walkover, diver and marine geophysical surveys, historical, toponymic, ethnographic and cartographic data, the analysis of currents and tides and community knowledge.
This application is for a 3/4 day piece of onshore and intertidal survey fieldwork, with community involvement, around the Ouse, Shapinsay to record maritime sites, structures and artefacts and its potential use as a harbour.
OAS funding of £164 granted
Title: “Beware the mound-dweller! A brief illustrated History” Brief summary:
This application is for a grant towards my travel to and accommodation in Orkney whilst taking part in the Orkney Storytelling Festival in October (25th-28th 2018).
I have been invited as the speaker for this year’s Orkney Storytelling Festival. My talk will be based on my doctoral research, highlighting the value of folklore in archaeology as a means of approaching past mentalities. Key to this research are people’s responses to ancient places and how stories become an intrinsic and enduring part of the landscape.
I will be speaking about the Orkney mound- dweller, highlighting not only folkloric connotations, but also links with archaeology and the physical landscape. The talk will be held in collaboration with storyteller Tom Muir, who will tell mound-dweller stories at various points during the presentation.
OAS funding of £686 granted
Title: Hall of Clestrain geophysics
Initial archaeology survey in advance of building works as well as to understand the history of the Hall its gardens and the areas around it.
OAS funding of £300 granted
Title: Year of Young People Roadshow
The proposal is to organise a YoYP roadshow. We will visit 4 islands, namely Sanday, Stronsay, Westray and Hoy. We have booked spaces as the heart of the community such as community schools, where we will go and set up roadshow activities including sports, fun games, face painting, glitter tattoos, art & craft activities etc.
The objective of the roadshow is to promote the Year of Young People events that are happening in Orkney throughout the year, and to take YoYP to some of islands, where otherwise some children and young people would not be able to access these events.
OAS funding of £1972 granted
Title: Emergency mitigation: Geophysical Survey at Mossetter Mound, Windwick
• The landowner at East Mossetter has notified myself that, in the course of planned field improvements in the next few weeks, they intend to level an extensive mound known as Mossetter Mound that lies close to the Oback Burn approximately 450 metres to the south east of the main trench at The Cairns, Windwick Bay. The mound is neither scheduled (accorded statutory protection by the state), nor does it feature in national or local (SMR’s) Sites and Monument Records. The landowner is therefore currently legally entitled to level the mound and any archaeology within it.
• I am therefore seeking funding from OAS to the value of the tasks involved in setting up, undertaking and reporting a modest programme of geophysical survey to identify and characterise any archaeology present within the mound.
• • The Cairns project sits within a wider landscape setting of Windwick, Southeast South Ronaldsay. One of the key aims of the project has always been to “understand the relationship between ‘the site’ and its landscape at a variety of levels and the relationship between the site and the other ancient built and natural places within that landscape” (and see Cairns project aims below).
Consequently, the recent notification from a landowner that a large mound known as Mossetter is scheduled to be levelled in the course of field improvements in the next 6 weeks represents a threat, not just to whatever monument may lie within the mound itself but a curtailment of an important opportunity to understand the prehistoric and early Historic landscape of Windwick.
The landowner has expressed some flexibility along the lines that if a substantial archaeological monument was found to be present within the mound then they might reconsider their plans to effectively destroy the mound.
• A geophysical survey would be the most cost-effective and efficient way of evaluating the contents of the mound and would very likely be able to indicate whether extensive and substantial archaeological remains lie within.
If archaeological remains can be definitively said to be present then the character of these might allow the landowner to be incentivised to consider other forms of stewardship. Meanwhile the site can be added to the local and national monuments records facilitating better management and possibly protected status, ultimately.
OAS funding of 2 x £1500 (2018 and 2019) granted
Title: Landscapes of Change: Archaeologies of the Rousay Clearances and the Westness estate – post-excavation and outreach
The Landscapes of Change project, which is focusing on the Medieval and Post-Medieval settlement of Rousay, a relatively under-explored period of Orkney’s archaeology, has annually been undertaking fieldwork and survey on the island since 2012. This application to the OAS seeks support for a new programme of post-excavation and associated outreach activities which would extend the project’s activities throughout the year and open these up to OAS and other volunteers living outwith Rousay.
This proposed programme of post-excavation (geophysical survey, sample processing, finds work) and outreach (volunteer opportunities and support) is designed to prepare for and support fieldwork during 2018.
The 2018 season of fieldwork at Skaill aims to continue the community training workshops held in 2015 – 2017 at Skaill farm and will complement the ongoing Bradford University excavations at Swandro with collaborative community workshops, building on similar events in 2017, which were well-attended.
The study areas are linked by the discovery of Viking/ Norse remains at both sites, which will be used as a temporal bench mark from which to explore this period and the prehistoric remains at Swandro and the post-medieval farm at Skaill.
It is intended that three ‘Archaeology Days’ will be run (on Egilsay, Wyre and at the Rousay Community School) exploring these themes and linking the work at Skaill with the wider islandscape during the Viking / Norse and later periods. The intention is for a longer term collaborative community focused project attracting additional funding over the next 2-3 years in collaboration with the Rousay Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust.
The proposed programme of post-excavation is integral to these activities allowing the project to maximise the results from geophysical survey undertaken with students in 2015 with full processing and reporting. The results of the geophysical survey are key to the location of trenches and understanding of the farm mound for the 2018 and 2019 seasons.
A programme of sample processing at Orkney College will allow the project to fully realise the potential for micro fauna (fish bone, small mammals) and environmental information (charcoal, seeds) at the site as well as provide ecofactual material for C14 dating. These post-excavation activities will form the focus for volunteer placements, training and activities at Orkney College supported by Archaeology Institute Staff.