Don Brothwell, without whom none of this would have been possible, died in September 2016. A celebration of his life was held on Thursday 15th December 2016, 4.00 to 7:00pm in the Huntingdon Room, King's Manor, York. There is also an In Memoriam webpage that has been collecting stories and photos from Don's friends and colleagues, and he has an entry in Wikipedia.
Stop press 5th April 2019. ORCA, the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology, have received £202,000 funding from Historic Environment Scotland for further work on the site. What we could have done with that - or any - money! Greetings ...  ... to any Yorkneyites (Yorcadians?) visiting these pages dedicated to documenting the York University dig at Newark Bay, Deerness, Orkney, carried out between 1968 and 1974. It all began in 1967 when Sam Berry was apparently chasing butterflies at Newark and spotted some bones in the cliff face that he thought his friend Don Brothwell might be interested in … 1968 saw a group of students from the University of York begin digging up the chicken run at Mr Delday's farm at Newark Bay in Deerness in Orkney; so perhaps it’s about time to see what was achieved over the six years of the dig, and what, if any, lasting results were achieved. and an apology … We were a group of undergraduates, mainly studying English literature, with no previous knowledge of archaeology, who came to Newark primarily to find some medieval skeletons to go to the British Museum under the stewardship of Don Brothwell, who was at that time head of the sub-department of Anthropology. In our search the walls, flagstone floors, graves and their occupants were all photographed and drawn. We noticed the shells that appeared to have been placed around the skeletons, and we guessed there was a cultural significance; what we couldn’t know then was that marine scientists can now use old and dated shells to investigate the history of the oceans and the progress of climate change and ocean acidification. Some of the graves were outlined with slabs which were photographed and then discarded; one of these may have been the Pictish grave slab recently discovered apparently in some trench backfill. What evidence from the tunnel and “earth house” as to their possible use did we overlook and lose?  There was probably a lot that we weren’t trained to see. So our site is now considered to have important early religious significance, and Historic Environment Scotland along with UHI are considering how best to treat the constantly eroding cliff face. I have to say that current archaeologists have so many more resources in the form of scientific research techniques (and proper education - and funding apparently) available to them than we did in the archaeological dark ages of the 60s. Thanks to Sigurd Towrie at The Orcadian this is what that newspaper said about us in 1969, 1970 and 1971. Click on images to enlarge articles. For the official view visit the Canmore page on the site from the RCAHMS website. I particularly like the large scale map of Deerness. For a less official view, someone in Orkney who goes by the name of Wideford, has been kind enough to link to these pages so I shall return the compliment. He has interesting comments and pictures of our site. Newark souterrain Newark fogou Diggers’ view ... In the summer of 2005 while we were staying at Cantick Head on Hoy, some friends from our York days were touring the northern islands of North Ronaldsay, Papay and Westray. York had a dig on Westray, so they visited, and suddenly realised that references were being made to our Newark Bay dig, and its apparent lack of documentation. Having been there with us, they knew plans had been carefully drawn, notes and photographs carefully taken and finds labelled and  boxed up for further study. So this is a collection of some, mostly unofficial, oddments: somewhere, in some archive or museum basement, the official records must, hopefully, be lurking. Sid Bradley, our York lecturer, wrote a report on the first year of the dig in 1968. He must have spent a lot of time in the Orkney Room of the old Kirkwall Library. And for those who think there's no surviving plans, see these: the first is a tracing of the ground plans I helped draw, and the second was drawn by Alan Fleck. Newark Chapel Tunnel and chamber(s) And some people kept diaries: Part of Reg's diary from 1969 Sue's diary from 1970 - The Dig, social as much as archaeological Sue’s diary from 1971 - The Dig, Holland Park School, and Living Orcadians   Orkney Archaeological Trust - A Norse age boatman from Newark Bay by Theya Molleson Places of worship in Scotland - Newark Chapel, Orkney The Cross Goes North: Processes of Conversion in Northern Europe, AD 300-1300, ed. Martin Carver. Boydell Press, 2005. Has a chapter by James Barrett Christian and pagan practice during the conversion of Viking Age Orkney and Shetland. A good part of this can be read on GoogleBooks and Newark is one of the main sites mentioned (use the search inside feature); also has a useful bibliography which includes references to Don’s 1977 article on the “mycoform stone structure”, and an unpublished manuscript by him dated 2002 on the excavations at Newark Bay. If you have any documentation, photos or other memorabilia you wish to share please email me, Sue Hopkins, at the following address, replacing the word (at) with @ please: sue (at)
Photo galleries Dig photos from odd years. Black and white photos from 1970/71 Site photos 2002/2017 Photos of the dig 1968- 1974 - this main collection of photos was on Google+, as that is now defunct I am currently researching how best to share them again.