The Newark Project
Back in June last year, the Newark chapel site had a visit from the Scottish Coastal Heritage At Risk Programme team to view our efforts thus far in attempting to buy time for the site. There were experts from St Andrews and Stirling Universities, the University of Florida, the US National Parks Department and Historic Environment Scotland and they all were greatly interested in the site's history.
It wasn't the warmest of days, so afterwards the whole group sped back to the hall for welcome coffee and shortbread.......and talking....a lot of talking and yet more talking, with Isobel Gardner, Ann Johnston, Anne Mitchell and Dave Reay flying the flag for Deerness.
Well - a couple of hundred sandbags later, there have been developments! First HES funded the purchase of 500 more sandbags and then encouraged ORCA, UHI Archaeology Institute based at Orkney College to put in an application for a grant to consolidate all that has gone before with regard to the site, all the findings and papers etc. and now - with the latest technology available - do further carbon dating, isotope analysis and DNA testing on a high percentage of the already excavated skeletons. A big thank you to HES - ORCA got the substantial award for a 3 year project, heavily involving the local community and culminating in major exhibitions at the Orkney Museum, and back here in Deerness at probably the hall and St Ninian's.
Two years ago, the discovery of the Pictish sculptured cross slab concentrated academic minds on Newark, and with the folk buried in the medieval cemetery area dating from earlier 7th Century to 15th Century, they have quite a story to tell of Deerness, Orkney, Scotland and the Viking move out of Scandinavia. It’s an important place, this small parish! We'll put updates on the website and on our Facebook page as often as possible.