spacer gif


Click over the thumbnails below to view full size images of people at work.

Margaret Hunter
Margaret Hunter - Volunteer from Unst, Shetland (2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)

We've been looking forward to the dig since last year when we took part in the survey. It's been fascinating so far, although it's a pity about the weather! I've found a few pieces of lovely black pottery today and I'm looking forward to more of the same. Another highlight today was watching an adult dog otter louping along the beach below the site.

Davie Leask
Davie Leask - Volunteer from Unst, Shetland (2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)

It's a very interesting site but has made a few 'sand widows' on Unst. Watching the wildlife at tea break - the gannets diving and the terns feeding their chicks - is a pleasure. The site is progressing nicely but I think we're just scratching the surface, this area's so rich in archaeology.

Liam O'Neill
Liam O'Neil - Volunteer from Unst (2006 & 2007)

What a super experience it is taking part in an archaeological excavation! Peeling back history's layers is not only very exciting but also very important, for if we allow ourselves to forget the past how can we remember the future?

Andrew Magnie Thomson
Andrew Magnie Thomson - Volunteer from Unst, Shetland (2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)

After weeks of training last year it's nice to be able to come back and do a bit of digging and see all the finds recorded.

Jan Sandison
Jan Sandison - Volunteer from Unst, Shetland (2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)

I realise how lucky we are to have this chance to learn some basic techniques from such skilled and long-suffering professionals. This is a chance that not many people get! It's great to be able to help work on this site after watching it erode over the years. I'm looking forward to seeing the structure and how the people lived.

Zoe Anderson
Zoe Anderson - Volunteer from Shetland (2007)

Andy Duffus
Andy Duffus - Volunteer from Bressay, Shetland (2005)
Nadine Duffus
Nadine Duffus - Volunteer from Bressay, Shetland (2005)
Liz Gott
Liz Gott - Volunteer from Yell, Shetland (2005)
Joy French
Joy French - Volunteer from Mainland, Shetland (2004, 2005 & 2006)

I've wanted to go on a dig for about 30 years. Last year was a bit tedious, but I'm really enjoying the site now we've started digging.

Susan Campbell
Susan Campbell - Volunteer from Islay (2004 & 2005)

After volunteering here in 2004, it has been very useful to come back this year and see the continuation of work on the site. I am learning about drawing plans, finds recording and conservation, which will be very helpful to the Islay Shorewatch Group when I get home.

Mike Tilley
Mike Tilley - Volunteer from Orkney (2004, 2005 & 2006)

Arrived in a howling gale, warm and sunny this morning, grey and raining this afternoon. If you don't like Shetland weather, just wait 30 minutes and it will change.

Andy Duffus
Bernard Redman - Volunteer from Bressay, Shetland (2005)
Olivia Lelong
Olivia Lelong - Excavation Director (GUARD) (2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)

For the past four years I've been lucky enough to spend a chunk of each summer on this beach - working with lovely people, finding fantastic and complex archaeology, being buffeted by winds and gently spritzed with sea spray. It feels right to be leaving the site visible and restored, to give something back to a place which has given me so much.

Ingrid Shearer
Ingrid Shearer - Training Director (GUARD) (2004, 2005 & 2006)

Unst is wild - wild place, wild folk and wild weather. It's a real pleasure to spend a bit of time up here. I'm really jealous that I missed seeing the otter this morning, but there's plenty of other wildlife to get excited about. On that note, I'd like to recommend the front bar of the Baltasound Hotel, it has a particularly fine jukebox and plenty of character. Oh yeah, and the archaeology's pretty good too.

Andrew Baines
Andrew Baines - (GUARD) (2007)

Amanda Brend
Amanda Brend - Finds Supervisor (GUARD) (2005, 2006 & 2007)

Fantastic to be back again for another year's digging. It's really good to see everybody again and to revisit Unst for more exploration!

Sheelagh Conran
Sheelagh Conran - Volunteer from Ireland (2007)


Charlotte Francoz
Charlotte Francoz - Excavator (GUARD) (2005 & 2006)

The Unst project gives me a great opportunity to discover this northernmost island. I am looking forward to the following weeks

Martin Goldberg
Martin Goldberg - Excavator (GUARD) (2005 & 2006)

Archaeology on the beach, you can't beat that. A beautiful view everyday, come rain or shine, with the occasional seal swimming by watching the crazy humans slowly removing a sand dune.

Roweena Keane
Rowena Keane - Volunteer from Ireland (2007)

Phil Kennedy
Phil Kennedy - Sieving Supervisor (GUARD) (2006)

The places I have visited in Unst so far have been wild, dramatic and beautiful and there's plenty more to come. The site at Sandwick is fantastic too.

Carole Killeen
Carole Killeen - Volunteer from Ireland (2007)

Labhaoise McKenna
Labhaoise McKenna - (SCAPE/Shorewatch Project) (2007)

I have had a great time here over the month and have really enjoyed the opportunity to work with all these amazing people. Unst is so friendly and welcoming and I hope to be back here on another SCAPE project in the near future. Thanks a thousand for this fantastic introduction to Shetland.

Scott Macleod
Scott Macleod - Excavator (GUARD) (2005)

Sand! In my ears, up my nose, entire dunes tumbling from my hair. Could be summer tropical or tropical storm. But looking beyond the sand there is archaeology, and interesting archaeology at that. Well…it's a pile of stones at the moment, but as the layers are removed there is a certainty that more things are there for the finding.

Aoife Patterson
Aoife Patterson - Volunteer from Ireland (2007)

I had a great time on the Shetland Islands, really amazing place for both archaeology and nature. Like a place lost in time, in the best possible way. I'll remember Unst with fond memories.

Roddy Regan
Roddy Regan - Excavator (GUARD) (2005)

Probably one of the most beautiful sites I've worked on, set on a magnificent sandy beach. Also a good opportunity to rescue a site destined to watery oblivion, as so many are, unfortunately. It's also great to have so many local people actively involved with the professional team, a useful legacy to leave the Unst people.

Pat Reid - Volunteer from Ireland (2007)

I was initially asked to work here to be the eye candy but I really enjoyed the archaeology. Seriously though, the work SCAPE is doing to preserve or record the sites of coastal Scotland is very important and thoroughly amazing. I hope it continues and I'd volunteer again in a heartbeat. Hope to see Unst soon again, as its fantastic nature and scenery will be with me forever - not to mention the people!

Abigail Walsh
Abigail Walsh - Volunteer from Ireland (2007)

It has been a great two weeks and I would come back again in the morning if I could on any other SCAPE projects.

Christine Rennie - Sieving Supervisor (GUARD) (2006)

I had never been to Shetland before working on Unst, and I didn't really know what to expect. What I found was a great site, lovely welcoming people and spectacular scenery. Hopefully I'll be back next year...

Brendon Wilkins
Brendon Wilkins - Volunteer from Ireland (2007)

Ever since holding my first WHS I instinctually knew that destiny would need me to work on a breathtaking beach front rescuing archaeology as the surf hits the shore. With the bikini packed, and the industrial strength insect repellent liberally applied, I headed to the north of the north where I met friends old and new, and worked on the most dramatic site I've ever seen. Today we focused the total station on a clump of rocks 50 metres from the site and watched a sea otter devour a fish, then I went back to excavating an Iron Age hearth with a stonking piece of pottery wedged beneath it. Fabulous. The site, the staff and especially the volunteers were all great. Wish you were here.

Tom Dawson
Tom Dawson - (SCAPE/Shorewatch Project) (2004, 2005, 2006 & 2007)

It is great to be out here at last, digging, after all these months of planning. The gales are just adding to the excitement! However, if we are going to have force 10 or 11 winds, I rather regret them not blowing onshore, so that I could get some spectacular pictures of the sea hitting the outside of the site!

Helen Bradley
Helen Bradley (Adopt-A-Monument Officer, CSA) (2007)

I'm really exicted to be able to join the project this year and It's going to be great to work closely with the Unst Archaeology Group as they care for the reconstructed site in the future.

Jon Pulley
Jon Pulley - Volunteer from Lerwick, Shetland (2005)

As a future archaeology student, I am finding this site an excellent opportunity to gain experience before I go to University. I am learning many things, including trowelling and sorting finds. It is also giving me a chance to meet people with whom I will be working over the next few years.

Marie Lefere
Marie Lefere - Volunteer from Belgium (2005)

When you arrive on the beach, you think that it is a tropical one. When you see the site, you know that the people who used to live there were very lucky. So when I'm working on the site, I enjoy the really nice view. You just have to make sure you aren't blown away!

Florence Boisserie
Florence Boisserie - Volunteer from Edinburgh (2005)

After excavations in the south of France and Italy, digging in Shetland's windy, cold weather is quite… different. However, I must leave before the end of the dig and I regret that I won't be able to stay until the end with this good atmosphere at work and this amazing site on the beach, although I won't have really bad photographs taken of me (thank you, Tom).

Pieterjan Deckers
Pieterjan Deckers - Volunteer from Belgium (2005)

Cold, wet and windy. Unst certainly feels more like home than Turkey, where I worked earlier this summer. Apart from that, Sandwick is a great site and the location on the beach is wonderful, unlike any other site that I have ever been on. I'm very anxious to see what we will find in the next few weeks.

Neil Wilkins
Neil Wilkin - Volunteer from Glasgow

Sandwick is a lovely spot. I'm thankful of the chance to have been here. It's been a month of learning lots from both staff and volunteers (and not always just about archaeology!)

Lucy Cooke
Lucy Cooke - Volunteer from Shropshire

After my first year of studying archaeology at Edinburgh University i was unsure of where to embark on my first few weeks of fieldwork. My decision to volunteer at the Sandwick site could not have been better. The site is pictorally stunning and the archaeology is vast and exciting.

John Isbister
John Isbister - Volunteer from Walls, Shetland (2006)


Emily Mahon
Emily Mahon - Volunteer from Swansea (originally New Jersey) (2005)

I have really enjoyed working on this site, it was a brilliant experience. After reading about it in the paper, it was great to actually dig here!

top of pagetop of page