Nick Card

Director of the Ness of Brodgar and LEADER Development Project

Nick has worked widely throughout Britain since graduating from Glasgow University with an MA Honours Archaeology. Over the last decade he has directed and managed a wide range of both research and commercial projects for the Orkney Archaeological Trust and latterly for the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology of the University of Highlands and Islands (ORCA). He also contributes to various teaching modules within the Archaeology Department of the University of the Highlands and Islands and has assisted with the establishment of an Archaeology Institute within the University of the Highlands and Islands.

Since the inscription of Orkney’s World Heritage Site (WHS) the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, he has been involved in research and fieldwork relating to the sites: as director of the excavations at Bookan Chambered Tomb; as co-ordinator of the WHS geophysics programme; and as a major contributor to the Research Agenda. His interests lie in all aspects of the prehistory of Britain and the Highlands and Islands with particular reference to the Neolithic. He has also co-directed the major excavations at the extensive Bronze Age cemetery of the Knowes of Trotty and the Iron Age complex at Mine Howe.

Since 2004 Nick has directed the Ness of Brodgar excavations in the very heart of the WHS. This project has evolved from several seasons of small-scale test trenches and evaluations to large scale excavation that has become internationally recognised and reported widely in both the popular and academic press including the cover article in National Geographic August 2014.  In 2009 the Ness was recognised by the American Institute of Archaeology; in 2011 it won the Current Archaeology Research Project of the Year; and in 2012 was awarded the international Andante Travel Archaeology Award, having been runner up in 2008.

Nick has lectured widely in the UK and abroad at all levels on the Ness excavations, the WHS and Orcadian archaeology in general. Since 2010 he has also undertaken four mini-lecture tours of the USA speaking by invitation to a number of institutions including the Smithsonian, Harvard Clubs of DC and NY, the Sorbonne, the British Museum, the Australian Museum, the AIA in Salem, Oregon, the George Bush Memorial Library in Texas, and the Explorers Club in DC.  Recently he was awarded the Samuel Kress lectureship for 2016-17 by the Archaeological Institute of America.

Research Interests

The prehistory of the Highlands and Islands with particular reference to the Neolithic.

Current Projects

External Responsibilities and Memberships

  • Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists
  • Fellow of the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland
  • Honorary Research Fellow University of Highlands and Islands
  • Chair of Ness Brodgar Trust
  • Vice President of American Friends of Ness of Brodgar
  • Member of Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Research Committee

Select Recent Publications

2005 Resource Assessment (History of Research; Prehistoric Periods and various Appendices). In Downes, J, Foster, S M & Wickham-Jones, C R with Callister, J The Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site Research Agenda, Edinburgh.

2006 Excavations at Bookan Chambered Cairn, Sandwick, Orkney, Proc Soc Antiq Scot, 135 (2005), 163-190.

2008 The Ness of Brodgar History Scotland

2008 The Ness of Brodgar Current Archaeology

2010 Neolithic Temples of the Northern Isles Current Archaeology, 241, 12-19.

2010b Colour, Cups and Tiles – recent discoveries at the Ness of Brodgar, PAST, 66, 1-3.

2012 The Ness of Brodgar British Archaeology, 128, 14-21

Forthcoming The Flaked Stone Assemblage from Borrowstone, Aberdeenshire, Soc Antiq Scot monograph

Wickham-Jones, C R & Card, N 2000 Flintknapping. In Ritchie, A (ed) 2000 Neolithic Orkney in its European context, Edinburgh.

Card, N & Downes, J 2003 'Mine Howe - the significance of space and place in the Iron Age'. In Downes, J & Ritchie, A (eds) 2003, Sea Change, Orkney and Northern Europe in the Later Iron Age AD 300-800, 11-19.

Card, N & Downes, J 2004 ‘An Iron Age burial on Orkney’ Current Archaeology 94 November 2004, 194-5

Card, N, Downes, J, Gibson, J & Sharman, P 2005 ‘The Mine Howe Environs Project’, Current Archaeology, 199, 322-327.

Card, N, Gater, J, Ovenden, S & Shiel, D 2005 ‘The Heart of Neolithic Orkney’, Current Archaeology, 199, 342-347.

Card, N & Downes, J 2006 Murder at Mine Howe?  Scottish Archaeological News.

Card, N & Downes, J 2006 Murder at Mine Howe?  History Scotland Magazine.

Gater, J, Sheil, D, Card, N & Ovenden, S, 2006 Geophysical Survey at the Orkney World Heritage Site. In Jones, R E & Sharpe, L (eds) Going over Old Ground, Brit Arch Rep Brit Ser 416, 231-233.

Card, N, Downes, J, Gibson, J & Ovenden, S 2007 ‘Bringing a landscape to life? – researching and managing the ‘The Heart of Neolithic Orkney’ World Heritage Site, World Archaeology 39(3), 417-435.

Card, N, Cluett, J, Downes, J, Gater, J & Ovenden, S, 2007 ‘ Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site: Building a landscape’, In Larsson, M and Parker Pearson, M (eds) From Stonehenge to the Baltic: Living with Cultural Diversity in the Third Millennium BC, Brit Arch Report Inter Series 1692, 221-231.

Card, N, Gater, J, Gaffney, C, & Wood, E 2007 Archaeological Landscapes Emerging Through Geophysical Survey; the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. In Fleming, A and Hingley, R (eds) Prehistoric and Roman Landscapes. Windgather Press.

Jones, R, Challands, A, French, C, Card, N, Downes, J and Richards, C 2010 Exploring the location and function of a Late Neolithic house at Crossiecrown, Orkney by geophysical, geochemical and soil micromorphological methods, Archaeological Prospection 17, 29-47

Card, N and Thomas, A 2012 Painting a picture of Neolithic Orkney: decorated stonework from the Ness of Brodgar, in Cochrane, A and Jones, A (eds) Neolithic visual culture: abstraction and figuration, Neolithic Studies Group Monograph, Oxbow.

Loveday, R, Anderson-Whymark, H, Card, N and Thomas, A 2012 Chiselling Marks at Maeshowe, PAST, 72, 5-7.

Mainland, I., Card, N., Saunders, M.K., Webster, C., Isaksen, L., Downes, J., Littlewood, M., 2013 ‘SmartFauna’: a microscale GIS-based multi-dimensional approach to faunal deposition at the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney, Journal of Archaeological Science (2013), doi: 10.1016/ j.jas.2013.10.019.

Towers, R and Card, N 2015 Technological Adaptation in Grooved Ware Pottery from the Ness of Brodgar, Orkney: or how to make your cordons stick, SAJ 36–7 (2015): 51–63

Card, N, Towers, R and Edmonds, M 2015 The Ness of Brodgar, Kirkwall.

Shillito, LM, McKenzie, J, Card, N, Pike, S, and Chan, B 2015 Subsistence, technology and resource use in Neolithic Orkney: new interdisciplinary research at the Ness of Brodgar, Antiquity

Mainland, I, Towers J, Ewens, V, Davis, G ,  Montgomery, J , Batey, C  and Card, N 2015 Toiling with teeth: an integrated dental analysis of sheep and cattle dentition in Iron Age and Viking-Late Norse Orkney

Richards, C, Card, N, Downes, J & Jones, RE 2016 The settlement of Crossiecrown: the Grey and the Red Houses. In Jones, R and Richards, C (eds) The Development of Neolithic House Societies in Orkney. Oxbow

Card, N. and Downes, J.(eds) Forthcoming Mine Howe

Card, N. Downes, J. and Edmonds, M (eds) Forthcoming Landscapes Revealed: Remote sensing around the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Oxford: Windgather/Oxbow Press

Jones, R, Towers, R and Card, N forthcoming Analysis of decorated Grooved Ware sherds from Ness of Brodgar, Orkney

Batt CM, Outram Z, Harris SE and Card N Forthcoming Telling the time in the Neolithic: Developing archaeomagnetic dating in Britain. Archaeometry/JAS

Card, N, Mainland, I, Timpany, S, Towers, R, Batt, C, Bronk Ramsey, C, Dunbar, E, Reimer, P, Marshall, P and Whittle, A Forthcoming Formal chronological modelling for the Late Neolithic site of Ness of Brodgar, Orkney, EJA

Recent Conference Papers and Lectures

Card, N & Downes, J. 2000 Mine Howe. Paper given at Broch Conference ‘Tall Tales’ in Shetland

Card, N & Downes, J. 2002 Mine Howe: the significance of Place. Paper delivered at the Sea Change Conference in Orkney.

Card, N & Downes, J 2003 Mine Howe and the disappearing broch.  Paper delivered at Archaeological Research in Progress Conference in Edinburgh

Swiss, A, Woodhouse, G, McDonnell, G, Card N, & Downes, J. 2003 Interpreting Late Iron Age Orcadian Iron Slag assemblages.  Paper delivered at Archaeometallurgy conference in Milan

Jones, R, Challands, A & Card, N 2005 Geochemical and geophysical exploration of a Late Neolithic house at Crossiecrown, Orkney.  Paper delivered at the Archaeological Sciences conference, Bradford University.

Shiel, D, Card, N, Gaffney, C, Gater, J & Wood, E 2005 Geophysical Survey in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney, WHA.  Paper delivered at Landscape Archaeology Conference, Leicester University

Card, N & Downes, J 2005 Mine Howe: Social and Material Transformations in the Iron Age.  Paper given in Edinburgh and Aberdeen to the Society of Antiquarians of Scotland and the Prehistoric Society.
Card, N & Downes, J 2007 The mystery of Mine Howe: an underground structure in Orkney. Paper delivered at the High Pasture Cave and Environs Seminar –- Underworld: The use and function of underground places during the Atlantic Scottish Iron Age.

2008 Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site - recent research. Paper delivered at the British Museum. Current Archaeology Live Conference.

McDonnell, G, Card, N, Downes, J, Chabot, N, Clelland, S-J, Maclean, P, Ovenden, S, and Sharman, P 2008 Craft Specialisation in Iron Age Orkney – the Mine Howe Smithy, Mine Howe, Tankerness, Orkney, UK. Paper delivered at the NABO conference at Bradford University

Kattenberg, A, Ovenden, S, Downes, J, and Card, N 2010 Gaining time depth – using geophysics to investigate changing land use in the Orkney Inner Buffer Zone. 1st Landscape Archaeology Conference: LAC2010

2010 The Ness of Brodgar. Paper delivered at Neolithic Orkney Symposium, Kirkwall.

2010 Crossiecrown, a late Neolithic Settlement. Paper delivered at Neolithic Orkney Symposium, Kirkwall.

Card, N and Thomas, A 2010 New insights into Neolithic ‘Art’ from Orkney – Neolithic Studies Group Conference, British Museum, London.

2011 Changing perceptions – recent research and excavation in the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site. Paper delivered at Oxford Conference, The Neolithic of Britain and Ireland

2012 The True Heart of Neolithic Orkney. Archaeological Research in Progress Conference in Edinburgh.

2012 The Ness of Brodgar – a case study.  Paper delivered at Sustainability and Heritage Conference in Orkney

2013 The Changing Face of the Heart of Neolithic Orkney. Beyond Ritual: Monuments, Housing in the Late Neolithic of northwest Europe Conference, Aberdeen University

2015 Ness of Brodgar – what the past can do for our future. RETI Conference in Orkney

2016 Archaeomagnetic Studies in the Scottish Neolithic: evaluating the potential of the Ness of Brodgar, Mainland Orkney, UK Harris SE, Batt CM Biggin A and Card N. Magnetic Interactions, conference at Imperial College London

2016 Developing Archaeomagnetic Dating in the Scottish Neolithic: A case study of geomagnetic variation at the Ness of Brodgar Harris SE, Batt CM, Outram Z and Card N

2016 Ness of Brodgar – what the past can do for our future – World Archaeology Congress, Kyoto, Japan

Lectures by Invitation (mainly relating to the Ness of Brodgar and Orkney’s WHS)

2010 AIA Salem, Oregon

2010 Harvard Club of Washington DC

2010 Royal Archaeological Institute, London

2010 Orkney Archaeology Society

2011 Willamette University, Oregon

2011 Portland University, Oregon

2011 Bradford University

2011 Orkney Archaeology Society

2012 Glasgow Archaeology Society

2012 Peeblesshire Archaeology Society

2012 Explorers Club of Washington DC

2012 Potomac School, Washington DC

2012 British Embassy, Washington DC

2012 Harvard Club of New York

2012 Smithsonian Institute, Washington DC

2012 Orkney Archaeology Society

2013 Senate House, UCL, London – Current Archaeology Live.

2013 Society of Antiquarians of Scotland, Edinburgh

2013 Norwegian Archaeology Society

2013 Society of Antiquarians of Scotland, Aberdeen

2013 Orkney Archaeology Society AGM

2013 Dumfries and Galloway Natural History and Antiquarian Society

2014 Orkney Archaeology Society

2014 University of Sydney, Australia

2014 Australian Museum, Sydney

2014 Sorbonne, Paris

2014 Royal Philosophical Society, Glasgow

2015 Inverness Field Club

2015 Orkney Archaeology Society

2016 Orkney Archaeology Society

2016-17 Archaeological Institute of America’s Samuel Kress Lectureship lecturing at circa 12 venues across the US

Plus numerous local societies’ lectures and contributions to ‘poster sessions’ at various conferences


Tel: 01856 569342

Email Nick