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Dig Diary 26th June: Boots on the Ground!

It's finally here - the first day of the 2018 Swandro excavation - yippee!!!!!!!!!! It's been a long haul and at times it looked like we'd never make it. but we have and work started today to uncover the site and see what's survived over the winter. Here are our bright eyed and bushy tailed students uncovering the Pictish Smithy, which is to be the subject of a special study by our archaeometallurgist Dr Gerry McDonnell

Starting work uncovering the Pictish smithy at Swandro, Rousay, Orkney
Starting work uncovering the Pictish smithy at Swandro

It's backbreaking work at the best of times and it was uncomfortably hot and muggy today, but the team - an international mixture of students from the University of Bradford, William Patterson University of New Jersey and Hunter College, New York - remained cheerful throughout and had soon made good progress:

Good progress despite the muggy conditions
Good progress despite the muggy conditions

Meanwhile, back at Team Swandro's Orkney HQ - i.e. our big green GP shed - your's truly had the day off to complete other sundry tasks including finishing off building our 'A' boards to display the signs leading folk to site from the Midhowe car park. Looked at buying some but they were (a) hideously expensive and (b) unlike to last more than 30 seconds outside in Orkney, so bought the timber & built some myself. Here they are having just received the first coat of woodstain being inspected by Ben the quality control collie:

Ben the quality control collie inspecting the finish on the new A boards for Swandro
Ben the quality control collie inspecting the finish on the new A boards

Eagle eyed readers may spot that the quality control collie in this shot is not the same as the quality control collie who inspected the flint from the Herald - see - that's because Patch only does quality control on stone and related artefacts, whilst Ben's the quality controller for timber work and associated finishes - two completely different specialities, you can't expect them to do everything!

Anyway they passed muster, a couple more coats of stain and they'll be ready to go out to Swandro on Friday so that folk heading to to visit the dig will be able to find us - we hope you can come too, but if not you can follow us right here on our daily dig diary. You can also share our posts on social media using the links below so your friends can follow us too - thank you!


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