Archaeologist to discuss Orkney Islands at North Olympic Sail and Power Squadron meeting

Orkney, an archipelago of some 70 islands off the north coast of Scotland, will be the subject of the May 8 dinner meeting of North Olympic Sail and Power Squadron at the Sunland Golf &Country Club, 109 Hilltop Drive, Sequim.

Social hour begins at 5 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. with a business meeting, dinner and speaker Tom O’Laughlin at 7:15 p.m.

O’Laughlin has spent his summers as an archaeologist at the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Ness of Brodgar on Mainland Orkney and will share his experiences of this 5,000-year-old Neolithic center and nearby standing stone circles and tombs.

One is never far from the sea in Orkney, where the mild climate is similar to the Pacific Northwest, says O’Laughlin. Rolling green hills with sheep and cattle give way to rocky shores and sandy beaches with small communities scattered here and there. Many communities have sailing clubs and dinghy racing is seriously taken and competitive. Yacht racing also is gaining in popularity in the islands. And there are two kayak clubs that invite visitors to join in the fun. Diving in sunken ships, fishing for lake or sea trout and crabbing round out some of the water adventures one can have.

O’Laughlin has advanced degrees in biology and anthropology and has worked as an archaeologist in the American Southwest, northern Mexico and now Scotland. His specialty is the analysis of bones and burned plant remains. He is involved in a long-term project of excavations in historic pueblos and missions of central New Mexico and the excavation of Ness of Brodgar in Orkney.

He has been curator or director of a number of natural history, history and art museums in Texas and New Mexico. Most recently, he was charged with the finances and operations of the International Balloon Museum, Casa San Ysidro Historic House and the Albuquerque Museum of Art and History.

This event is free and open to the public. A dinner can be purchased for $22 per person. For more information on this event or other classes offered by the North Olympic Sail and Power Squadron, visit