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Dig Diary Friday 28th July 2017

Well, this is our last day on site finishing off all the backfilling and generally tidying up, taking our tea tent down and suchlike. We hope you’ve enjoyed reading this diary throughout the dig, and thank you to all who’ve supported us by making donations.

I’ve been looking through all the post shares and likes that we’ve had to see which were our most popular diary entries over the course of the dig – wonder if you can guess which ones were hits? Was it the Roman Coin? Or maybe the Pictish Smithy and the incredibly interesting hammerscale & globs of molten metal? Or the beautiful tomb passageway? Or any of the other very serious and worthy entries with lots of lovely archaeology?

Well, if you thought that you’d be dead wrong - the diary entries that were the biggest hits had one thing in common: any mention of the Vikings accompanied by pictures of semi-naked hunks with big axes with/without blood. I don’t know what exactly this says about our readership, but I believe in giving the public what they want:

Rollo the Viking - very popular on the Swandro dig diary

OK now everyone’s happy, we’ll proceed to the archaeology! We had a bit of a scare with the bad weather a couple of days ago – it was blowing up from just the wrong direction when the tide was in and washed over the bottom of the site by the chambered tomb – you can see the outer wall of the tomb here with a bit of a pool full of seaweed, not too much damage was done but it was a bit too close for comfort:

Tomb after a high tide

You can see how close the sea is when the tides in, it is quite nice to have the seals bobbing by to have a look at us but we could do without the seaweed.

A fair bit of seaweed came up in the last blow, you can see it in the next pic with the team moving stones up the beach to backfill one of the buildings. At least it had stopped raining by then.

Lots of seaweed at Swandro

It’s a bit soul-destroying to be honest to have to cover the site up again – we’ve only been here for 4 weeks and it took most of the first week to move part of the storm beach to uncover the site enough to dig anything, then we just about two and a bit weeks digging then have to spend most of the last week covering it all back in again. The team do a lovely job of backfilling but it’s the thought of having to haul it all out again next year that’s the killer:

Backfilling at Swandro Orkney

A longer season would be so much more productive – if you’ve got an 8 week season then a week and a half uncovering & recovering still gives you a decent length of digging time – maybe next year we’ll manage it, who knows?


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