September 3, 2022 → 10:30 am12:30 pm
From Orkney Saga Centre, Orphir

A tour of the Earl’s Bu site in Orphir, from the Round Church to the site of a horizontal mill, accompanied by archaeologist Dr Colleen Batey and rounded off by an Orkney lunchbox, with the kind of items that might have been enjoyed by the Earls themselves!

The tour follows on from last night’s lecture by Dr Batey and Prof. Ingrid Mainland. We will gather at the Round Church to start at 10.30 with an overall orientation for the site, with the ruins of the church and adjacent buildings as well as the horizontal mill and beyond to Lavacroon, a Norse metalworking site nearby to the west. We will hear the descriptions within the Orkneyinga Saga that relate to activities at the Bu and the Round Church close by.  We will also hear about earlier excavations up until the 1940s and then Dr Batey’s story of her own excavation of the Norse mill and the developing picture of the economic activities commanded by the Norse Earls. Extensive feasting evidence has been identified by Prof. Ingrid Mainland in the dense and rich middens which were dumped into the ruinous mill underhouse.

There will be an opportunity for questions and discussion followed at around 12 noon by a light Orkney packed lunch, hoping for dry weather! There’s an opportunity over lunch to speak further and share questions and stories and information about the Norse in Orkney and any memories of the site.

The lunchbox of Orkney fare to follow contains a beremeal roll with honey roast ham, beremeal oatcakes and cheese and chutney, a spiced plum traybake and a bottle of water. Important note: if you have any dietary requirements or allergies, check with us as soon as you can as to whether we will be able to make provision for this. Email us at, heading your email “Earl’s Bu food”. Also bring something to sit on!

Parking is available at the site and a short walk allows access to the Earl’s Bu and Round Church nearby. Toilet facilities may be available in the Saga Centre. There is very little walking involved, mostly of flat surfaces and most mobility levels should be able to participate in this event.

Numbers limited, booking essential. Cost: £15 (including Orkney lunchbox)


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