We're counting down to the start of the 2018 dig - only 7 days to go until we're back on site for a six-week season. This season we're concentrating on our Neolithic chambered tomb, which can be seen on the right in the photo below. We're going to be excavating the chamber, which we hope is as yet undisturbed by the sea, and has the potential to cast new light on Neolithic burial practices in Orkney.
There's a huge amount of organisation goes into putting a team into the field for any excavation, but there's an added layer of complication when your excavation is in an island. For us in Rousay it means that the non-Orcadian team members have to travel to Orkney first, before crossing to Rousay with everyone else and all the equipment. Some of our team will have travelled from the USA to join the dig, so will arrive in Rousay jet and boat lagged.
There's equipment to be organised in both Bradford and Orkney - regular readers will be pleased to know that our new trailer, generously funded by public donations and a grant from the Rousay Egilsay and Wyre Development Trust, arrived safely and is now tucked away in a large shed loaded and ready to go, alongside our existing trailer:
In case you're wondering why the trailers are wearing nice plastic sheets inside a big shed, the answer is starlings: a rare bird in many parts of Britain but numerous in Orkney, with a penchant for nesting in sheds and making an awful mess.
It's amazing how much you can pack into a trailer if you really try - it's a good job the Rousay boat fares are calculated on trailer length and not on weight! Both trailers are now sporting their nice new internal doors, so we can have the drop down ramps for access but have polycarbonate panels and doors letting in the light. They're also both sporting shelves, plus of course that all-important portaloo compartment for the ..ahem..convenience of the diggers! We've even been able to source environmentally friendly toilet fluid so the portaloo can be safely emptied into a domestic septic tank - or is that too much information?
We're going to be posting new content and updates right here every day from the start of the excavation on the 26th of June until the 3rd of August. We hope that you'll follow the progress of the excavation and if you use social media we will also be posting updates on our Facebook and Twitter pages.
If you are in Orkney during the dig please come and visit us - we work Sunday to Thursday and we are always happy to have visitors - we look forward to seeing you on site!