Cata Sand 

Cata Sand in Sanday is a prehistoric settlement site discovered by chance in 2015 and has been almost totally destroyed by catastrophic coastal erosion. A team of dedicated archaeologists has been battling time and tide over the last three years, comprised of members of the Sanday Archaeology Group and volunteers from the Universities of the Highlands and Islands and Central Lancashire, to rescue and record as much as possible.  Since the initial discovery excavation has shown that there are a series of 5,000-year-old Neolithic houses at Cata Sand and the team has been racing against time to record as much as possible before the site is destroyed. As you can see in the photo below, this really is archaeology on the edge!

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Much had been accomplished already – and you can download previous seasons reports here when, in 2019, the team were facing an unexpected funding deficit and the final season of excavation looked uncertain. We were asked to help, and launched an emergency public appeal for funds. Thanks to the generosity of our supporters this was successful and the season was able to proceed as planned. 

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The photo above shows Professor Jane Downes, one of our Trustees, about to be submerged by the tide at Cata Sand, whilst below you can see the obvious threat to the site from the sea.

To view the site's location please use the Google maps interactive tool below - switch to satellite view for the best effect (if you can't see it you've got your pop-up/security settings too high).