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Department of Archaeology


By James Barrett


Quoygrew is a late Viking Age and medieval rural settlement on the island of Westray in Orkney, Scotland. It was partially excavated between 1999 and 2006, after an initial archaeological assessment in 1997.

As part of the Viking Age Transitions Project, this work aimed to explore how the social and economic watershed of the 'long eleventh century' unfolded on the edge of Europe. Quoygrew provided an opportunity to evaluate the relationship between widespread trends (such as increases in population, economic production, trade and centralised power) and the maintenance of local practices. It did so from the novel perspective of a rural settlement far removed from Europe's medieval centres of power and urbanism. As the project unfolded, its chronological gaze expanded to include the entire cycle of medieval Europe's economic expansion, crash and recovery, from AD 900 to 1600. The project is now fully published.



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