Dr Caz Mamwell BSc MA PhD FSA Scot &
Dr Dave Lawrence BSc MSc PhD FSA Scot
Both of our tour leaders have many years digging experience all over the UK including some of the major excavation projects in Orkney, such as Pool Bay and Tofts Ness, both in Sanday; Quoygrew, Westray; Mine Howe, Tankerness, and not forgetting the 'Neolithic Cathedral' at the Ness of Brodgar, along with commercial archaeology projects such as walkover surveys,watching briefs and evaluations. They first met at the University of Bradford where they both gained BSc honours degrees in Archaeological Sciences, and both have been elected as Fellows of the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland.
Their masters degrees did at least differ - Caz gained an MA in Archaeological Practice at the University of the Highlands and Islands, whilst Dave’s MSc was in Human Osteoarchaeology and Palaeopathology with the University of Bradford – but both got distinctions.
Dave completed his PhD research with the University of Bradford: Orkney's first farmers. Reconstructing biographies from osteological analysis to gain insights into life and society in a Neolithic community on the edge of Atlantic Europe. If you fancy some bedtime reading Dave's thesis may be downloaded free of charge from the University of Bradford. He is also the osteoarchaeologist for the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA).
Caz's recently completed PhD research on the Orcadian Bronze Age was undertaken through the University of Edinburgh, resulting in a thesis entitled 'It rained a lot and nothing much happened' Settlement and Society in Bronze Age Orkney' - this will shortly also be available online.
Both Caz and Dave are on the Board of Trustees of the Swandro-Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust and are engaged in fundraising for the excavation of the chambered tomb and mulit-period settlement site at the Knowe of Swandro.
I have wanted to visit Orkney since I read an article in National Geographic years ago....and we finally arrived with Orkney Archaeology Tours for a week experience in July 2010. I cannot say enough good things about this trip; there were NO disappointments. My husband and I have traveled quite a bit over the years, although never before on a tour. This particular tour was a good decision: the information was invaluable, the small group worked perfectly, and the food/accommodations just as we would wish. The information imparted by Caz was fascinating. For an enormously successful trip on many fronts...education, fascinating spots, beautiful scenery, and all creature comforts... one can do no better!
Saying this was an excellent tour is a massive understatement! I have always been interested in history and archaeology and thoroughly enjoyed this. But you don't have to have a lot of knowledge about Orkney to enjoy this trip, as Dave filled us in on all of the local history and site information as he guided us. I have rarely been so inspired! Dave was incredible! His knowledge is endless on the history of each site we went to, as well as general local history and information. He inspired our entire group every day! Our group met for dinner at the Ayre hotel (another excellent place!) every night and discussed the things we saw and learned each day. Dave covered the history of Orkney and each of the sites to encompass the last 5,000+ years of history. Dave has a unique approach, as he first tells you what is known about the sites, then asks for your ideas, views, and theories. I spent another week in Scotland after this tour and found myself looking at other sites with a whole new perspective. Dave made this the experience of a lifetime for me!
Orkney Archaeology Tours offer brilliant one-week tours, and also briefer visits. I took the one-week tour, and it was superb. Caz Mamwell is an excellent guide, knowledgeable and smart, with a great sense of humor. She mixes up each day, with Neolithic sites, Viking sites, and more recent places as well, including the Churchill Barriers and the charming town of Stromness. The accommodation at the Ayre Hotel was also excellent. Highly recommended for anyone with even the slightest interest.
The excellence of this tour makes it worth the wait. It consists of a small weekly group of 8 travelers hosted by an excellent guide. Its itinerary covers historical sites that span from the Neolithic to World War II and is presented before a backdrop of gorgeous, breathtaking scenery. We choose this tour after spending several years looking at various Orkney tour possibilities---our experience far exceeded our expectations. Caz was our expert guide who knew absolutely everything there was to know about the history of Orkney. Her enthusiasm, apparent love for Orkney, and quick humor made the trip not only historically fascinating, but down right enjoyable as well. Every detail including lodging, meals, entrance fees, and transportation was well planned and functioned with precision. Our experience with Orkney Archaeology Tours hosted by Caz has set a new high for evaluating future adventures. We had an absolutely wonderful time and will definitely recommend this tour to anyone who asks!
The day we spent with Dave was the highlight of our all too brief visit to Orkney in September. He shares his deep knowledge of the history and legends of the Islands in an engaging and absorbing manner. Highly recommended''.
One of the most interesting weeks I have ever had. The guide/leader, Caz, was more than just a professional archaeologist (which she is), but full of Orkney stories of customs and history. Very entertaining! One of our group members was an amateur archaeologist and had visited all the sites previously. She said that she was very glad she joined the tour as Caz added so much to what she had learned on her previous visit.