Dig diary 3rd July - Time Team comes to Swandro

Updated: Jul 5, 2018

OK the Time Team haven't literally come, as they don't do that sort of thing anymore, but we have our guest celebrity digger of the day - Jackie McKinley, the bones person off of Time Team. These days Jackie is Principal Osteoarchaeologist at Wessex Archaeology but in days long past she's a veteran of many of the major excavations in the Northern Isles and an old friend of our site directors. She's also incredibly fit thanks to pilates, riding and fencing (with the sharp pointy things, not with a mallet, although that would come in equally handy) and her work rate has many of our younger diggers looking on in awe:


Jackie McKinley of Time Team fame

Jackie says she still gets recognised from Time Team even now the programmes no longer on air. Indeed, we happened to meet as she was boarding the boat to Rousay last night and were exchanging hugs and a passing archaeological tour group who'd just visited the dig were all nudging each other and pointing and muttering 'that's her off Time Team'. Shame they didn't visit today - they could've got her autograph! All joking aside here at Team Swandro we're all very grateful to Wessex Archaeology for allowing her to time off to come and dig with us, and for her for coming all this way to help.


We've got other specialists on our dig team, bur perhaps not who you might expect - meet our volunteer Peter Bodkin, who in his day job is a consultant neurosurgeon at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary:


Consultant neurosurgeon Peter Bodkin enjoying his week digging with us

We were a bit worried wheh he applied - digging at Swandro can be a rough job, what with all the tonnes of rock we have to move, and we didn't want to be responsible for adding to the woes of the NHS by damaging a consultant with such an important role. Peter however assured us that he was used to hard work and this is indeed the case - we're happy to have him.


The other big event of the day was the putting up of our site tent, designed to give our diggers a bit of shelter from the weather when it reverts to the more usual Orkney, rather than this ridiculous sunny stuff we're having at the moment. We did start to put it up yesterday, on the edge of the area where we usually sit at tea time in the shelter of the storm beach, but as our Eagle Scout Greg (an extremely useful member of the team - my motto is, always try & have a scout or a girl guide handy when you need a tent out up) was laying out all the kit it was suddenly realised that our tea break patch was in the scheduled monument area of the site. This means you're allowed to sit on it, but you are emphatically not allowed to hammer tent pegs into it. This necessitated an emergency call to Ian, our wonderful strimmer operator, to come down and strim a bit of ground outside the scheduled area Greg and his team could get the tent up - and here it is in all its glory:



Our new tea hut tent

Now just to see if it will stand up to real Orkney weather, when it returns!

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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