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Dig diary Friday 20th July - the problem of the Pictish Smithy

This is going to be a short dig diary entry because this is our one day off this week and your humble diarist is completely knackered and also it's Friday, which means it's beer & curry night & I'm making the curry & have also got stuck into the beer, so am writing this while I can still focus properly. Have manged finally after 4 and a half hours uploading of an 9 minute video (thanks to our pathetic internet connection - 330KB - yes kilobytes - a second upload speed anyone?) to get an excellent video of Gerry McDonnell our archaeometallurgist explaining his most recent thinking on the Pictish Smithy uploaded to youtube

Gerry McDonnell in the smithy

Gerry is absolutely brilliant - he really knows his subject and can make it interesting to everyone - even if you don't think you like metalworking you should watch his video. It turns out that our smithy is unique - a dedicated copper alloying smith working with zinc to make brass in the Northern Isles. Is this a Viking smith making brass in a Pictish building or is it a Pictish smith working with zinc at a period when zinc isn't supposed to be available here? This can only be resolved by radiocarbon dating - if you would like to make a donation towards funding our radiocarbon dates we'd be very grateful

Right - duty done, I'm off to finish off making the curry - tandoori chicken with salad & home made naan bread & possibly another bottle or two of beer - not too much though, the old Sanday digging days of starting every morning on-site with a pint of Alka Seltzer (kept in large quantities in the finds hut) are long behind me!

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