The Knowe of Swandro, Rousay

The Knowe of Swandro, Rousay is an amazing multi-period site which includes a Neolithic chambered tomb overlain by Iron Age, Pictish, Viking and Norse settlement. Coastal erosion is having a devastating effect on the archaeology at the Knowe of Swandro and cannot be stopped. In response to this threat a Registered Scottish Charity, the Swandro – Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust has been established with the initial primary aim of raising funds to excavate and record the Knowe of Swandro before it is destroyed. We are pleased to support the work of the newly formed Swandro Trust, and if you are visiting Orkney during the excavation season, which normally takes place from late June to early August, we will include the dig as an extra in your holiday itinerary. 


Orkney’s coastal heritage is being destroyed by the sea all over the County, not just in Rousay. Due to global warming, the effects of climate change and melting polar ice is promoting higher sea levels and changing weather systems, which is exacerbating an existing problem. The coastline of Westness on the Island of Rousay has a particular series of vulnerable sites.  


The race is on to excavate the Knowe of Swandro in advance of its total destruction by the Atlantic Ocean. The aims of the excavation are to record and preserve in the archaeological record this amazing and important site before it is lost to the sea.