General volunteering for Society activities


We are always please to hear from any of our members who would like to assist the running of Society events , support our fundraising activities, or assist with the post excavation processing and cataloguing of finds. Recently volunteers have given their time to assist us manning the Blue Door Charity shop in Kirkwall, and to help staff the OAS shop at the Ness of Brodgar excavation.


We are also always looking for volunteers to assist the Orkney College Archaeology department in processing and cataloguing the mountain of finds that are unearthed each season from the various Orkney excavations such as the Ness of Brodgar, The Cairns on South Ronaldsay and Braes O' Ha'breck on Wyre.


If you would like to support the Society in this way please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with your details.


Excavation Volunteers


Please note that there are limited numbers of places available for volunteers on some of the well-known excavations in Orkney, such as the Ness of Brodgar, which receives many hundreds of requests each year, so unfortunately it is not always possible for site directors to give places to everyone who wants to dig.


The OAS is sometimes approached by the project directors of Orkney excavations seeking volunteers to take part as diggers. The requirements of each excavation will vary, some projects will be looking for experienced volunteers, others will happily take 'first timers;, giving all required on-site training. 

If we receive a request for assistance from an excavation we put potential volunteers in contact with the excavation's dig director. Normally Site Volunteers should be aged 18 years or over, there is no upper age limit, but you should be happy to work in the open air regardless of what Orkney's weather may throw at you, and possess a full set of waterproofs and stout boots!


If you would like us to put you in touch with site directors in Orkney who may be in search of volunteers for 2016 please This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and we send you their contact details




Sites in Orkney

Orkney is blessed with probably the greatest concentration of archaeological sites in Scotland, with over 200 scheduled sites.


The Committee

The OAS committee meets once per month  as is responsible for the management of all aspects of the Society's  activities.


Archaeology in Orkney

This page gives some information about the various organisations involved in archaeology in Orkney and how to contact them.


The Orkney Archaeology Society provides small grants for archaeological research projects. The amount available for grants each year is variable so we assess each application as it comes in.


Grants are allocated on a quarterly basis, and applications must be received by the deadline of the 31st March, 30th June, 30th September and 31st December in order to be considered for that quarter.

How To apply

Click here to download a grant application form including guidance notes on eligibility and the type of projects we will fund.

Other help we can offer:



The Society can publicise your project through its website, Facebook page and twitter feed – please email information  on your project to us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.




We can put you in touch with volunteers who wish to take part in Orkney-based field projects. Please email us a project description and contact details and we will post them online.


Recent Grants

A selection of grants awarded by the Orkney Archaeology Society in the 2014 – 2015 financial year are given below.

(Please note that this list does not include grants made to the Ness of Brodgar excavation from the Ness of Brodgar fund, as this has now been transferred to the Ness of Brodgar Trust, a separate charity)

Processing Environmental Samples from The Cairns excavation, South Ronaldsay - Grant awarded:  £1750

Prospecting for Orkney’s Maritime Heritage - Grant awarded: £900

Hoy and South Walls Landscape Project: Rackwick Survey - Grant awarded: £750

Landscapes of Change: Archaeologies of the Rousay Clearances - Grant awarded: £650

Braes of Ha’breck, Wyre - Geophysical Survey - Grant awarded: £400

Orkney’s Wooded Landscape (OWL): investigating Orkney’s prehistoric woodland through the investigation of submerged forests -  Grant awarded: £650

Gateway to the Atlantic 2015: Excavations at Swandro, Rousay - Grant awarded: £2400

Putting Flesh on the Bones: Reconstructing Pictish Cultural and Economical Strategies using Osteological and Isotopic Analysis: radiocarbon dates - Grant awarded:  £954


Working Stone, Making Communities - Grant awarded: £800



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