Palace Village

We will examine the distinct individual islands’ identities, and collective traits and traditions, through the traces of past communities, and we will expand this to thinking about islands and island communities more widely. The conference forms part of the celebrations of the Scottish Year of History, Heritage and Archaeology, and presents an opportunity to think about the future of the Islands’ archaeology and heritage, in the face of environmental, political and economic uncertainties. This conference also forms part of the development of a regional research framework for the three island groups, with priorities for research feeding into a new research strategy.

The Our Islands, Our Past sessions are associated with themes that evoke the spirit of the conference. The main sessions consist of:

  • The Three Islands Group Research Framework
  • Identity and Culture
  • Sustainability and Conservation
  • Migration and Abandonment
  • Connectivity and Travel
  • Island Connectivity & Place

Within each session there will be a series of themed papers, lasting a maximum of 15 minutes and followed by a discussion session. There will also be a period for discussion at the end of each full session.

Download 'Our Islands, Our Past' Registration Form

Download 'Our Islands, Our Past' Programme

Registration opens at 15.00 Friday 15th September, Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall.

Posters should be to A1 size and submitted by 6th September 2017. Please let us know if you require any assistance printing or are concerned about sending your poster. We can liaise with a local printer on your behalf. Please bring your poster to the conference venue (Orkney Theatre, Kirkwall Grammar School) from 2pm on Friday 15th September.

Regional Research Framework content

Regional Research Framework

Regional Research Framework


Friday 15th September 2017

Session One

16.30 Discussion on The Three Island Group Research Framework for Scotland.

'Our Islands Our Past' Three-Island Group Regional Research Framework.

Regional research frameworks for archaeology, designed to complement the existing national framework (ScARF), have been identified as a strategic priority in Scotland[1]. In response, the Local Authority Archaeologists for Shetland, Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, and Orkney, supported by UHI Archaeology Institute, are pulling together a project to develop a Research Framework for the three island-based Local Authority areas. Our proposal is to develop three Local Research Agendas for the individual archipelagos (Shetland, Western Isles and Orkney) that will sit within a wider Regional Framework for the islands. The project will be delivered by UHI Archaeology Institute on behalf of the partners and guided by a steering group comprised of partner and key stakeholder representatives.  Also working with us will be staff of The Society of Antiquaries of Scotland who are supporting the development of regional frameworks across the county and will host the island Agendas and Framework on the ScARF website.

This initial meeting will help structure the Agendas and establish themes for the overarching Regional Framework.  We want to work in partnership with a wide range of individuals who are active within archaeology, heritage and historic environment sectors across the region.  We will therefore be seeking advice, ideas and contributions from community heritage groups, museums, commercial contractors and academics. The aim is to identify what is important and significant for our region’s archaeology and to help provide research questions and targets to help us balance and focus our efforts on what is most significant to these islands.

Julie Gibson

County Archaeologist for Orkney Islands Council.

[1].  Scotland’s Archaeology Strategy Delivery Plan Version 2 January 2017 section 2.1

Identity and culture content

Identity and culture

Identity and culture

Saturday 16th September

Session Two

Each paper will last a maximum of 15 minutes. Each will be followed by a discussion session. There will also be a period for discussion at the end of each full session.

08.00 Registration Opens

08.30 Tea and Coffee served from 8.30am

09.00 Opening remarks

09.05 Speaker 1: Andrea Blendl & Ragnhild Ljosland. Runic Forgeries: Linking past and present identities?

09.25 Speaker 2: Lara Band. ‘The Åland Islands Question’: a new perspective

09.45 Speaker 3: Duncan Garrow & Fraser Sturt. Islands within Islands: creating crannogs and social identities during the Neolithic in the Outer Hebrides

10.05 Speaker 4: Neil Ackerman. Sheltered by Foundations: post medieval flagstone roofing and Orcadian identity

10.30 Break. Teas and Coffee.

Sustainability and conservation content

Sustainability and conservation

Sustainability and conservation

Saturday 16th September

Session Three

Each paper will last a maximum of 15 minutes. Each will be followed by a discussion session. There will also be a period for discussion at the end of each full session.

11.00 Speaker 5: Adam Markham: Climate Change, Island World Heritage, and lessons from Community Responses

11.20 Speaker 6: Joe Bowersox: Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Politics and Policies:Implications for islands of Archaelogical and Ecological significance

11.40 Speaker 7: Leslie King with contributions from AEJ Ogilvie, Niels Einarsson: Pathways to Resilient and Sustainable Northern Societies: Looking to the Past and the Future

12.00 Speaker 8: Li Sou: Visualising the Crucible of Shetland's Broch Building: the role of digital documentation in supporting the active conservation and presentation of Shetland's heritage

12.30 Lunch. To be served in the atrium at Kirkwall Grammar School.

13.30 Speaker 9: Louise Barker, Toby Driver with contributions from Sarah Davies, Hywel Griffiths, Anthony Corns, Robert Shaw, Gary Devlin, Sean Cullen, Cathal Jordan: Island Heritage in a Changing Climate: The CHERISH (Climate, Heritage and Environments of Reefs, Islands and Headlands) EU-Funded Project

13.50 Speaker 10: Scott Timpany: In Search of the Vikings: a multi-proxy palaeoenvironmental investigation from the Loch of Tuquoy, Westray, Orkney

14.10 Speaker 11: Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir with contributions from AEJ Ogilvie, Arnie Daniel Juliusson, Vidar Hreinsson, Megan Hicks: Sustainability and Fragility of Highlands and Islands: The Mývatn District of Iceland

14.30 Speaker 12: Vidar Hreinsson with contributions from Ragnhildur Sigurdardottir, AEJ Ogilvie, Arni Daniel Juliusson, Megan Hicks: Perceptions of Nature and Natural Resources by Lake Mývatn in Iceland

14.50 Speaker 13: Tom Dawson, Joanna Hambly: What Future for Scotland's Fragile Coastal Sites?

15.15 Break - Tea & Coffee

Migration and abandonment content

Migration and abandonment

Migration and abandonment

Saturday 15th September

Session Four

Each paper will last a maximum of 15 minutes. Each will be followed by a discussion session. There will also be a period for discussion at the end of each full session.

15.45 Speaker 14: Tom Rendall. Migration and Movement-perspectives from the North Isles

16.05 Speaker 15: Keir Strickland. Next Exit: Archaeologies of Post-Mediaeval & Contemporary Abandonment in the Highlands and Islands

16.25 Speaker 16: Stuart Jeffrey with contributions from Siân Jones, Derek Alexander, Daniel Rhodes. The Temple of the Wester Main: nature, culture and romance on the Isle of Staffa

16.45 Discussion & Finish

17.00 Close

Connectivity and travel content

Connectivity and travel

Connectivity and travel

Sunday 17th September

Session Five

Each paper will last a maximum of 15 minutes. Each will be followed by a discussion session. There will also be a period for discussion at the end of each full session.

10.00 Registration open - Tea and Coffee

10.30 Speaker 17: A E J Ogilvie with contributions from Niels Einarsson, Ross A Virginia: The Spotted Sun: John Rae, Vilhjálmur Stefansson and the Friendly Arctic

10.50 Speaker 18: Nela Scholma-Mason. The Autarky of Influence - Orkney's Folklore and its Wider Connections

11.10 Speaker 19: Jane Downes & Colin Richards. Is there Chalcolithic Life in the Northern Isles of Britain?

11.20 Speaker 20: Will Megarry with contributions from Gabriel Cooney, Torben Ballin, Mik Markham, Alison Sheridan, Alison Sheridan, Bernard Gilhooley and Brendan O'Neill: Making an Island World: Neolithic Shetland, the role of Felsite

11.40 Speaker 21: Mike Copper. Pidgin Pots: the use of the Unstan Bowl as Material Lingua Franca in Early Neolithic Orkney and the Outer Hebrides

12.00 Speaker 22: Jacqui Mulville: Out of the Blue: Inhabiting Islands in Space & Time

12.30 Lunch to be served in the atrium at Kirkwall Grammar School

Island culture and place content

Island culture and place

Island culture and place

Sunday 17th September

Session Six

Each paper will last a maximum of 15 minutes. Each will be followed by a discussion session. There will also be a period for discussion at the end of each full session.

13.30 Speaker 23: Siân Jones with with contributions from Stuart Jeffrey; Derek Alexander; Daniel Rhodes: The Writing on the Wall: Mark making and the materiality of travel and tourism

13.50 Speaker 24: Julie M Bond and Steve Dockrill. Swandro, Rousay, Orkney: Between Sea and Land

14.10 Speaker 25: Esther Renwick. Islands of the Imagination: World Heritage in an Island Context

14.30 Speaker 26: Julie Gibson and Sean Page. Not All Cheese: Archaeology, Marketing and Identity in Orkney

14.50 Speaker 27: Val Turner: Delling up Wir Past. Identity, Community and Ownership - Finding frames of reference through archaeology in an island group

15.15 Break - Tea & Coffee

15.45 Speaker 28: Sally Foster and Siân Jones: Material Diasporas: an island perspective on the place and value of replicas

16.05 Speaker 30 Gemma Cruickshanks, Steven Birch, Jo McKenzie: Ritual, Place and Memory in the Iron Age on Skye: Excavations at High Pasture Cave

16.25 Discussions and Closing Remarks

17.00 Close