School’s archaeological excavation discovers an important Iron Age Village


An Iron Age village at Swandro has been a focus for the School’s research over the past two months.

This important coastal erosion site on the island of Rousay, Orkney was excavated from mid June through to August. Present and past students (including Time Team and Meet the Ancestors star Jackie McKinley) formed the core of the excavation team. The excavation is led by Dr Julie Bond and Dr Steve Dockrill, Head of School Chris Gaffney discovered the extent of the village using geophysical survey, Professor Andy Wilson recorded the eroding coastal are using a new cutting edge laser scanner, while Dr Cathy Batt sampled a series of hearths for archaeomagnetic dates. Dr Julia Beaumont, Tom Sparrow and Sarah George also played a vital part in the excavation. The video clip shows the excavation of a later build within a large roundhouse forming the focus for the village. The village was wealthy with metal working throughout the mid and latter Iron Age. Fragments of Roman glass show contact with the outside world. The site situated on the Westness coast line of Rousay would have formed the Gateway to the Atlantic for the people living in Orkney. The site continues into the Viking period when the importance of this coastal strip is referred too by the Saga’s.

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