Although excavations at the Earl’s Bu in Orphir, Orkney, ended in the early 1990s, subsequent work to eventually bring the work to publication has revealed many unexpected highlights. The excavation of a Norse period horizontal mill, the first such example in Scotland for this period, has provided a focus for intensive study of the land economy. Cattle and sheep management indicate a continuity of agricultural practice from the Iron Age, pre-Viking period to the modern day. Cereal cultivation, probably organized at the behest of the Norse Earls, as well as fishing nearby, provides an excellent backdrop to this feasting centre described in Orkneyinga Saga. Isotopic study of cat bones suggests a close link with the cats in Viking Coppergate (York) and extensive wider links can be identified in the evidence from the bullion economy at the site as well as imported steatite.
Online, 26 August 2021, 1900-2030 BST (0400-0530 AEST)
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