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Visit the dig

Visitors are welcome during the excavation season, which will run from the 3rd of July until 28th July 2017. It takes a little while to uncover the site at the start of the season, and to cover it up to protect it as much as possible at the end, so the best time to visit the dig is from Wednesday 5th July until Tuesday the 25th of July inclusive. The site is open Sunday to Thursday and closed on Friday & Saturday.


We will however be open on Saturday the 22nd of July to coincide with the Open Day at the nearby Skaill excavation, then our own Open Day will be on Sunday 23rd July.


There will be a special event on Sunday 16th July in the Rousay Heritage Centre featuring dig staff and a selection of interesting finds.


The first step in visiting the dig is to get to Rousay. There is a regular ferry service from Tingwall in the West Mainland to Rousay – cars need to be booked in advance but foot passengers can just turn up. Timetables are online at Orkney Ferries  and book by telephone through the Tingwall office on 01856 751360


If you come across as a foot passengers there is a public bus service on some days and a taxi/private hire service 7 days a week to get you from the pier head to the site, which us about a 6 mile walk otherwise.


For transport information in Rousay contact Richard   Telephone Number: 01856 821360


Mobile Number: 07746838761    E-mail:


To get to the dig please ask Richard to drop you at the car park (or park at the car park if you’re in a car)  for Midhowe chambered tomb: if you look down the hill along the coast to the left you will see the excavation.


WARNING: the hill is very steep and should not be attempted if you have mobility issues or health problems - it's a long way back up the hill if you get stuck!


Please walk down to Midhowe then turn left and walk along the shore, keeping to the seaward side of the stone dykes. This is a pleasant walk in itself, taking you past the remains of South Howe broch, Brough Farm, The Wirk, St Mary's Kirk and Skaill Farm, then past the Knowe of Rowigar and on towards Swandro. You can walk along the edge of the storm beach cast up by the Atlantic and there are many wild flowers along the way, together with a large seal colony along the shore and you may even see some otters!


The landowners at Swandro are extremely supportive of the excavation and we could not proceed without their willing cooperation. Please respect their land and livelihood and DO NOT take a shortcut across the fields, please walk along the shore and KEEP DOGS ON A LEAD AT ALL TIMES due to grazing livestock.


If you can't visit us then we have some photos and also videos of past seasons and more information for you and you may also subscribe to our free email newsletter to keep you up-to-date with the dig.


Viking re-enactor at the 2016 Open Day

Keith, a Viking re-enactor at one of the Open Days at the 2016 Swandro dig - quick, someone buy him a pint!

Keith in his Viking regalia  at the Knowe of Swandro dig open day - he's really very friendly