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 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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Swandro - Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust 

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