All of our Orkney holidays and private tours are personally led by either Dr Caz Mamwell BSc MA PhD FSA Scot or by Dr Dave Lawrence BSc MSc PhD FSA Scot.
Both of our tour leaders have many years excavation experience all over the UK and abroad, including some of the major excavation projects in Orkney, such as Pool Bay and Tofts Ness, both in Sanday; Quoygrew in Westray; Mine Howe in Tankerness; the Knowe of Swandro in Rousay, 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. You can read the abstract and download his thesis by clicking here.
Caz's 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'. You can read the abstract and download her thesis by clicking here.
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 multi-period settlement site at the Knowe of Swandro. Caz also gets the fun of playing in the mud at Swandro during the excavation season (as you can see from the photo above), with Dave taking over the touring duties, then he gets the reward of processing all the environmental samples (much less fun but vital work) whilst Caz resumes the touring.
'We had a fabulous experience on this trip. Caz is a marvel; an expert guide, not just in her depth of knowledge about the archaeology and history, but also in her breadth of knowledge about Orkney generally (including about the birdlife which she claimed wasn't her area of expertise...). She is also a great host, looking after us really well and an engaging story teller, bringing things to life for us'
'Dave is a brilliant guide – an experienced archaeologist and an excellent communicator, who clearly loves not only his subject but the islands of Orkney themselves. It’s hard to believe we visited so many sites, from the Neolithic up to the twentieth century, because we were never rushed and we always had enough time to explore every site in detail, expertly guided by Dave'.