Dig diary 29th June: Uzbekistan comes to Rousay

Updated: Jun 30, 2018

It's been a day of contrasts in Rousay – we always say that Orkney has four seasons in a day, and we started with a cold wind & overcast skies, which had everyone reaching for all their extra layers of clothing and heavy jackets. Then by tea break time the sun had come out & we were all in T shirts again.

Your humble dig diarist has had a surreal kind of day – as official site publicist the task of organising sign boards so people visiting Midhowe tomb just north of the site can find us as they walk along the shore has fallen to me, and they were duly transported over to Rousay in my trusty Landy today, ready for our first 'Swandro Sunday'.

Arrived on site in good time, ready to start out setting them out, to be told that there was a lady from Uzbekistan who wanted to speak to me about archaeology and tourism (since with my other hat on I'm a tour guide). A very nice lady called Shakhnoza Begmatova – suffering a bit from the cold - duly arrived along with Kirsty, a Rousay local and great supporter of Swandro, and the 'wanted to speak to me' turned out to be a 30-minute interview. Apparently they're very interested in Uzbekistan in developing employment opportunities for women, and think that archaeology might be the key. Anyway, here's the two of us – I hope you can see how I made an effort to be extra glamorous for my 15 minutes of fame:


After that is was a bit of a rush to get the direction boards out before the arrival of the 11.10 boat, as that's when most visitors head out to Rousay. After a lot of sweating up and down hills clutching the boards, during which I repeatedly asked myself the question 'why did I make them so heavy?' they were all in position:


The final task of the day was the big banner for Midhowe car park - which was interesting to say the least with a brisk breeze, not to mention that some cyclists had chained their bikes to the fence just where it was supposed to go - I mean, honestly, why lock a bike in Rousay? Had to wait for them to come back up from Midhowe & then wrestle the banner into place, but it does look OK:

Although of course this being Orkney, putting up a PVC banner is not a simple matter - not many places do you have to add guy ropes to your banner:


I just finished wrestling the banner into submission in time to race back to site to pick up Marcus, a German volunteer who's about to desert us for the Ness of Brodgar, then race back to the boat. Sadly this means that I don't have any pictures of the team moving stone today, but they were making good progress from the little I did see, and all looked suitably tired & sweaty, although I don't think there were doughnuts today - or if there were they didn't save me any!


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Swandro - Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust 

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation No: SC047002 

Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay

Registered office: Bayview Birsay Orkney KW17 2LR   email: info@swandro.co.uk