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Geophysical Survey

Date 7 February 2018 - 16 March 2018

Event ID 1089071

Category Recording

Type Geophysical Survey


HY 45459 43129 A geophysical survey was undertaken,

7 February – 16 March 2018, on land to the N of the site of

Tuquoy. The site, which suffers from severe coastal erosion

was discovered as an eroding section in 1981. Tuquoy

underwent excavation in 1982–83 and full assessment in

1988. This work revealed a high-status Norse period hall

with suggestions of medieval settlement immediately to

the west.

The survey aimed to improve understanding of the

nature and extent of the site inland and to contextualise

the excavation and assessment of the coastal section.

The gradiometer survey was successful in identifying the

surviving landward extent of the site, visible as a clear

and extensive settlement cluster, with a possible boundary

marking the settlement limits. Targeted earth resistance

survey was also successful. It revealed a series of features,

notably a substantial square structure, possibly a highstatus

tower-like building, to the W of the excavation


An earthwork enclosure was identified directly N of

the Cross Kirk site, with much of the surrounding ground

showing rig and furrow cultivation in the earth resistance

survey. A large building, square in plan, was identified

close to the coastal edge, with a smaller structure, possibly

with a corn drying kiln, present in the W field. A former

streambed, depicted on the 1st Edition OS map was clearly

visible in the earth resistance survey data running N/S

through the centre of the survey area. Several kelp-pits

were identified on the coast in the SW part of the survey

area and a number of other possible features were also


Archive: NRHE

Funder: Historic Environment Scotland

Amanda Brend – Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology


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