UHI Archaeology Institute's Skaill, Rousay, Orkney Excavations

Rousay, Orkney
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The excavations are part of the 'Landscapes of Change: archaeologies of the Rousay Clearances and the Westness Estate' project exploring long term environmental and landscape change on the island of Rousay, Orkney, focusing on the Westness Estate and particularly the settlement of Skaill (2015-present). Skaill is located in Westness which is mentioned in Orkneyinga saga as the home of Sigurd, a powerful chieftain. The project is specifically interested in looking at the development of a high status Late Norse estate into the historic period through significant socio-cultural and climatic change to investigate long term occupation and change. In 2024 the team are continuing to excavate the settlement mound, focussing on buildings to the east of the upstanding range, which date back to the 13/14th centuries.

The ongoing fieldwork forms part of a wider partnership with the University of Bradford, the Swandro–Orkney Coastal Erosion Trust, Historic Environmental Scotland (HES) and the German Institute of Archaeology (RGK). Working with community partners – the Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust (REWDT) and Rousay Heritage (RH) – the project provides yearly seasons of excavation, geophysical survey, landscape survey, schools outreach and training placements for island residents. Thanks go to the landowners Russell and Kathryn Marwick and to REWDT, Orkney Archaeology Society and OIC Archaeology Fund for supporting the excavations.

Visitors are welcome to the excavation during working hours, with tours available.

Contact Details

Rousay, Orkney


UHI Archaeology Institute's Skaill /, Rousay /, Orkney


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