A TEAM of international archaeologists hope to answer questions remaining about an Orkney island known as "the Egypt of the north".

The experts have started the largest geophysics survey to date on Rousay, a hilly island off Orkney Mainland.

The project involves Deutsches Archaologisches Institut Romisch-Germanische Kommission (DAI) in Berlin and archaeologists from the University of the Highlands and Islands (UHI).

The island's archaeology spans every stage of Orkney, featuring Iron Age crannogs, Viking boat burials and the remains of a stately home.

More than 100 archaeological sites have been identified, but thus far only a fraction researched.

The first phase of the project will continue for two weeks with results being analysed by the UHI Archaeology Institute, the University of Bradford and Historic Environment Scotland.

Professor Jane Downes, UHI Archaeology Institute director, said: "We are very pleased and excited to be involved in this major international project on Rousay and we are looking forward to seeing the results from the cutting-edge geophysics technology that the team from DAI have brought with them.

"This will make a substantial contribution to the Boyne to Brodgar programme, an Irish/Scottish Neolithic research project.

"This fieldwork forms one of a whole series of projects happening on the island over the next two weeks including the Gateway to the Atlantic Workshop that will bring together archaeological scientists working particularly on coastal erosion, climate change and heritage in the North Atlantic and Arctic."

The Scottish university is signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the DAI for the longer term in what academics have described as an "exciting time for archaeology in Orkney".

Dr Alison Sheridan, of National Museums Scotland, and Professor Gabriel Cooney, University College Dublin, are working on the Boyne to Brodgar Initiative.

In a statement, they said: "We are absolutely delighted and honoured that the DAI team have come to Orkney to undertake their survey on Rousay.

"With this work, and the survey that they already carried out in the Boyne Valley in Ireland, the team are contributing enormously to the Boyne to Brodgar research initiative to understand Neolithic people, their monuments and their interactions in Britain and Ireland."