The Cairns

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Orkney bowl shows signs of repair

Post-excavation analysis of the oldest wooden bowl yet found in Orkney (see CA 343), has revealed details of its Iron Age use. Found by a team from UHI Archaeology Institute, during last summer’s excavation at the Cairns site in South Ronaldsay, the bowl was discovered in a stone chamber known as the ‘The Well’, beneath an Iron Age broch. As little is known about the function of this ‘well’, it was hoped that the bowl could provide some clues.

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Current Archaeology 347

I hope you had a wonderful festive period – but even as we look forward to what 2019 might bring, the past still has plenty to reveal. This month’s cover feature takes us deep into the Neolithic, where we consider evidence for whether sites that were monumentalised during this period were also considered ‘special’ during […]

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Current Archaeology 343

As I write, with a mid-August downpour hammering on the roof, this summer’s sweltering heatwave already feels a lifetime ago. During those drier times, though, the parched ground yielded a wealth of archaeological secrets as the ghostly outlines of buried features became strikingly clear. Hundreds of monuments, settlements, and other sites have been captured in […]

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Orkney’s oldest bowl unearthed?

The latest excavation season in Orkney has uncovered a cornucopia of finds. these include what may be the oldest wooden bowl yet discovered in the archipelago, unearthed at the cairns, South Ronaldsay, by a team from the UHI Archaeology Institute.

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Current Archaeology 338

Over 4,500 years ago, the Bell Beaker phenomenon swept across much of Europe. The resulting changes to burial practices and technology are clear in the archaeological record, but the origins of these ideas were obscure. Now ancient DNA analysis has revolutionised this picture –and revealed that the impact on the make-up of Britain’s population was […]

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Iron Age Orcadian ornament

Perched above Windwick Bay on South Ronaldsay, Orkney, the site known as The Cairns has been under continuous excavation by the Archaeology Institute of the University of the Highlands and Islands for several years. Although best known for its Iron Age broch (see CA 275), it seems that the area continued to be used even after this structure fell into ruin around the mid-2nd century AD. Recent radiocarbon dates are now shedding new light on this post-broch occupation, particularly on how it reflects the shifting social structure of late Iron Age Scotland.