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Ness of Brodgar 2015 - EXTENDED DEADLINE - 4 SPACES REMAINING - A UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, Scotland

Location: Stromness, Orkney, United Kingdom

July 18, 2015 to August 15, 2015

Application Deadline: 
Monday, December 1, 2014
Friday, January 23, 2015

Deadline Type: 
Contact for details

Program Type

Field school

RPA certified



Willamette University

Project Director:

Scott Pike, Willamette University and Nick Card, Orkney College, University of the Highlands and Islands

Project Description

Join the Willamette University Archaeology Field School (ARCH 355) for a unique opportunity to excavate in one of the world’s premier archaeology project in The Heart of Neolithic Orkney (a UNESCO World Heritage Site). Through Willamette’s exclusive relationship with the University of the Highlands and Islands, students will work with the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology and Orkney College as they unearth a unique and immense Neolithic temple-like complex on the Ness of Brodgar. This award winning and internationally recognized excavation was recently featured in the cover article of the August, 2014 edition of National Geographic and is redefining our understanding of the Neolithic world. The field school provides intensive, on-site training in archaeological methods and techniques and emphasizes a holistic approach to archaeological inquiry. In addition to daily instruction on excavation theory, technique and recovery, course lectures and fieldwork will emphasize a variety of topics including topographical and geophysical survey techniques, stratigraphy, ceramic typology, geomorphology, paleobotany, and the archaeology of the Orkney Islands. Visits to regional archaeological sites and museums give students a broad cultural and historical background in the archaeology of the region.

The Willamette field school is the only opportunity for North American-based undergraduate students to participate in the excvation.

Period(s) of Occupation: Neolithic

The link will guide you to Willamette University's internal field school website. Some of the details are pertinent only to Willamette students (e.g. student ID number, etc.). We strongly encourage applications from off-campus. If you have any questions please feel free to contact Scott Pike.

Project size: 
1-24 participants

Minimum Length of Stay for Volunteers: Students are expected to participate for the full duration of the field school

Minimum age: 

Experience required: 
No experience or prerequisites required

Room and Board Arrangements

Field school students are housed at the Homnavoe Hostel in the picturesque town of Stromness (  Field school students are the only tenants at the hostel for the duration of the season.  Transportation to and from the site will be provided.  Students are responsible for their own food.  There is a grocer within a minute's walk from the hostel.

Academic Credit

Name of institution offering credit: 
Willamette University
Number of credits offered 1 Willamette Credit (equal to 3 semester credits at most schools)
$5,100 Note that external funds are being sought to provide scholarships to all field school participants.


Contact Information
Scott Pike
Willamette University, EES Department
Recommended Bibliography: 

Below are several recently published articles and websites on the Ness of Brodgar. 

National Geographic's August 2104 feature article:

A PBS Newshour story that ran on February 20, 2013:

An October 6, 2012 Guardian/Observer article "Neolithic discovery: why Orkney is the centre of ancient Britain" at

British Archaeology Magazine, Isuse 128, January/February 2013, "Orkney's great mystery dig."  The student on the cover of the British Archaeology magazine article was a field school participant last year.

Archaeology Magazine, January/February 2013, "Neolithic Europe's Remote Heart: One thousand years of spirituality, innovation, and social development emerge from a ceremonial center on the Scottish archipelago of Orkney."

A 12-minute video of images from the site is now available for viewing at

An excavation blog that is updated daily throughout the excavation season at

Ingrid Mainland, Nick Card, Mary K. Saunders, Cecily Webster, Leif Isaksen, Jane Downes, Mark, Littlewood, 2013. SmartFauna’: a microscale GIS-based multi-dimensional approach to faunal deposition at the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney. Journal of Archaeological Science, Volume 41, January 2014, Pages 868-878