Award recognises Westray archaeology dig in Orkney

Jakob Kainz Archaeologist Jakob Kainz found a 5,000-year-old figurine at Links of Noltland

An archaeology project in Orkney has been recognised at a prestigious UK-wide awards ceremony.

The project at the Links of Noltland on the coast of Westray was named Rescue Dig of the Year at the Current Archaeology Awards.

Commissioned by Historic Scotland and carried out by EASE Archaeology, it was said to have shed light on domestic and ritual life in prehistoric Orkney.

The included the well-preserved remains of more than 20 buildings.

The site has fallen victim to rapid coastal and wind erosion and archaeologists faced a race against time to uncover its secrets before it is lost to the elements.

Dig site The site has been threatened by coastal and wind erosion

Exposed to high winds, the dune system that has protected it for millennia is rapidly depleting.

Work was stepped up after an acceleration in the rate of erosion was detected in 2005.

Richard Strachan of Historic Scotland, the project manager of the Links of Noltland dig, said: "I am delighted that this incredible project has been recognised with such a prestigious award.

"It is an endorsement of the national and international significance of the site, and the hard work of those involved in the project, all of whom faced challenging conditions.

"Links of Noltland continues to surprise us, and is greatly enhancing our understanding of the Neolithic and Bronze Age."

The award is backed by Current Archaeology magazine.

Editor Dr Matthew Symonds said: "The Links of Noltland project saw off competition from some of the most exciting recent archaeological digs in the UK to emerge as the favourite in the prestigious 'Rescue Dig of the Year' category.

"Voted for entirely by members of the public, the result recognises the powerful glimpse that the dig provides of everyday life in the Orkney archipelago during the Neolithic and Bronze Age."

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