Orkney archaeologists had to act quickly after heavy seas on the Deerness coast removed a section of land exposing a human skull, which is thought to be several hundreds of years old.
Historic Scotland provided the funding for a rapid response excavation and experts from the Orkney Research Centre for Archaeology (ORCA) carried out the task of uncovering and removing the skull and other bones from the site in Deerness.
Orkney’s county archaeologist Julie Gibson said: “Recent storm damage to the shoreline uncovered the skull which, with the other bones, was buried in sand.
“Urgent work was needed before further damage occurred – there was a strong possibility that this important find could have been swept away.
“Because they were buried in sand, the bones are in good condition. They were treated with great respect as the painstaking task to remove them to safe keeping was carried out.
“A partial skeleton emerged. An initial assessment would suggest that these are the remains of an elderly man. We’ll find out the age of the bones once radio carbon dating has taken place.
“We are grateful to Historic Scotland for commissioning this dig.”
The find was made a short distance from a stretch of shoreline where other bones dating from the 10th to the 14th centuries have been found in the past.
The team from ORCA, part of Orkney College UHI, will assess whether there is a link with the latest discovery.