Cruise Arrivals


Archaeologists arrive on Sanday to inspect shipwreck

Raymond Brown helped recover some of the wreckage which had separated. (RODERICK THORNE)

As professional archaeologists set foot on Sanday to examine the shipwreck discovered there last week, the work of amateur island archaeologists has been commended.

News of a large piece of timber, identified as the midships of a carvel wooden vessel, that was discovered at Cata Sand spread far and wide promoting much online speculation about its age and origin.

Today, Ben Saunders, of Wessex Archeology, will insect the wreckage and site, and hopes to discover the date and origin of the wood using dendrochronology (the science of dating wood from analysis of tree rings).

But he has also praised all the work already conducted by islanders to record and preserve the find.

Mr Saunders explained that “rapid recording” was essential in cases like this. It is believed the remains were buried under the sand or sediment before a storm two weeks ago brought then on to the beach. 
Now fully exposed to the air and tide, they have began to break apart.

“The work of the people on Sanday has been fantastic,” Mr Saunders said.

“They have been taking lots of photos from different angles to allow a 3D model to be constructed.

“In fact they have already created an amazing resource before any marine archaeologist has even been out there.”

Mr Saunders will be joined by Orkney Islands Council archaeologist Paul Sharman, recording and sampling from the wreck material in partnership with Sanday residents as well as providing community training in maritime archaeological skills.

Anyone interested in taking part should email Ben Saunders at: b.saunders@wessexarch.co.uk