Protecting prehistoric remains with Historic Environment Scotland

Case Study Complete
Date added: 11/07/2016
Protecting prehistoric remains in Westray, Orkney, from coastal erosion by stabilising sand-dunes

Severe coastal wind erosion has caused the collapse of the dune system which protected the Links of Noltland prehistoric settlement site on Westray, Orkney for thousands of years.

In response, Historic Scotland initiated a programme of detailed assessment, survey, and targeted rescue excavations in 2006. This was followed by dune stabilisation works, including dune recharge, fitting biodegradable erosion resistant matting, planting and sand entrapment to protect the surviving archaeological remains for future generations.

Recent inspection confirms that these measures are working and that the area is being recolonised by vegetation. Many of Scotland’s most vulnerable archaeological sites and monuments are located on the coast and this project provides a model for the stabilisation of similar sites.