We are delighted to be able to announce two lots of very good news today regarding both our trailer appeal and our Heritage Lottery grant application. Firstly thanks to the incredible generosity of our supporters we have reached our fundraising target of £5,844 to buy our new site hut/toilet trailer! The order has been duly placed and the trailer should be home to Orkney in plenty of time for the start of the dig. We owe a particular debt of gratitude to our friends in America and Rousay, without whose support this would not have been possible – you know who you are! We would also like to thank the Rousay, Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust for their support and to express our thanks to everyone who made a donation to the appeal.
Secondly we have just heard that we have been successful in our application to the Heritage Lottery Fund of the National Lottery - here's our official press release that's gone out today:
Sharing Heritage: Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust celebrates £9,800 Heritage Lottery Fund grant
The Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust has received a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) Sharing Heritage grant, it was announced today. This exciting project, 'Bringing 5,000 years of archaeology to life at the Knowe of Swandro, Rousay, Orkney' and led by the Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust, has been given £9,800 to better interpret the archaeology of the Knowe of Swandro through the presence on on-site Living History reenactors, improved on-site site interpretation boards, free workshops and community events.
The Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust is involved in the excavation of the Knowe of Swandro in Rousay, a site which is threatened with destruction by the sea and comprises a chambered tomb along with Iron Age, Pictish, Viking and Norse remains. Our project 'Bringing 5,000 years of archaeology to life at the Knowe of Swandro, Rousay, Orkney' will increase community engagement and as a result of our project people will have learnt about heritage and had an enjoyable experience. This will be achieved by attending our free workshops and by the on-site demonstrations, explanations and activities undertaken by both the Living History Reenactors, members of the excavation team and visiting specialists.
Commenting on the award, Caz Mamwell said: 'It's brilliant news that we have been awarded this grant and we're looking forward to sharing our findings at Swandro with a wide audience. We hope that as many folk as possible will come over to Rousay to visit the dig and to take part in our events. We will be on-site from Sunday to Thursday each week from the 26th of June until the 3rd of August and visitors are very welcome. Our special events and workshops will be advertised on our website www.swandro.co.uk, via our Facebook and Twitter pages and in the Orcadian'.
Lucy Casot, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund Scotland, said: “'Bringing 5,000 years of archaeology to life at the Knowe of Swandro, Rousay, Orkney' is a fine example of HLF’s Sharing Heritage programme that, thanks to National Lottery players, makes it possible for local people to choose what is important to them, what they want to save, and how they want to spread the word throughout their community.”
Although we're not digging at the moment Rousay has been a hive of activity recently. German geophysicists from the Deutsches Archaeologisches Institut Romisch-Germanische Kommission – or DAI for short – have been in Rousay and have just signed a memorandum of understanding with our friends at the UHI Archaeology Institute. This will lead to joint research projects between the two and technical support and training. The team from DAI have been conducting large-scale landscape geophysics surveys of Rousay, using a geophysics rig towed behind a quad bike. They have surveyed much of the Westness area and also our site at Swandro, and we hope to be able to bring you some of their results in a future newsletter.
Rousay was also the venue for the 'Gateway to the Atlantic' workshop in late April, which saw archaeologists working on coastal erosion, climate change and heritage in the North Atlantic and Arctic meeting to discuss their research, including five of our Trustees. And finally you may already have noticed but we have a brand new website, with a much improved layout, more content and an easier to navigate dig diary. All the content from the old website, including our previous season's dig diary entries, have been transferred across to the new website. Most importantly, given the upcoming changes Google's search policies, we are now secure and have our very own, shiny new SSL certificate – yippee!