Provides Orkney's County Archaeology service, including maintenance of the Sites and Monuments Record. It works in partnership with many other bodies, foremost of which are Orkney Islands Council, Orkney Heritage Society, Orkney College and Historic Scotland.

The Ring of Brodgar

The Ring of Brodgar. Part of the "Heart of Neolithic Orkney" Picture: Richard Welsby

ARCHAEOLOGY is a precious resource. One of the principal threats to it in Orkney is coastal erosion. Thanks to support from Historic Scotland a programme of coastal surveys has been carried out over the past few years. Resources are limited and unfortunately not every site can be saved from the sea. One example of more than 100 critically endangered sites is the hitherto untouched chambered tomb at Tres Ness in Sanday, which is being swept away by the encroaching sea.
Tres Ness

Julie Gibson balances on the edge of the low cliff at Tres Ness. The sea regularly washes into the entrance passage of the tomb (to her left), and has already destroyed its frontage. Picture:Orkney Archaeological Trust

THE TRUST is a registered charity. Its aims are - Provide leadership on archaeological issues in Orkney; Work in partnership with other organisations in Orkney and elsewhere, to the benefit of Orkney's rich archaeological heritage; Communicate in a clear, effective and open way with its customers, stakeholders and the general public; Maintain a high profile for Orkney's archaeology; Maintain a high profile for the Trust, providing a focus for archaeological activities; Play a full and active part in archaeological education; Achieve a secure financial base in order to assure professional service delivery and further development.

THE HEART OF NEOLITHIC ORKNEY recently achieved World Heritage recognition. The Trust played its part in helping achieve this accolade, and is a signatory to the Declaration of Intent regarding the future management of the World Heritage sites.

Now, the Trust is considering options for the establishment of an archaeological institute providing a physical focus for its activities.


Viking Runes
School children examine some of the many Viking runes at Maeshowe chambered tomb. Picture: Richard Welsby


THE TRUST has a growing international membership of Friends of the Orkney Archaeological Trust who support Orkney's archaeology and the aims of the Trust. The Friends are provided with information on archaeology and archaeological activity in Orkney through publications, meetings, conferences, exhibitions, projects, tours and other activities and events.

The Orkney Archaeological Trust is a registered charity no. SCO25651

If you would like more information on how to join THE FRIENDS OF ORKNEY ARCHAEOLOGICAL TRUST write to:Membership Secretary,

Friends of OAT
PO Box 6213
KW15 1YD.
United Kingdom

or e-mail us at