Dig diary Monday 16th July: a beautiful antler handle

Tom working on the rubble above the chambered tomb found our star find today, this gorgeous little antler handle of haft for a knife or other small tool:


It's a nice hexagonal shape and is pierced through, presumably to take a rivet that held the blade or other tool in place. It was quite high up in the rubble over the tomb so is likely to be Viking/Norse, and was found in the same area as some cat bones. We've had cat bones on site in other seasons and they've all been from the Viking levels, so this may hint at a Viking date for this little handle.

We're still in spring tides so another very high tide today, water lapping around the pile of stone we've moved to the edge of the beach - I think we ought to have a little site rowboat to tie up at our own pier,since we've built one we might as well use it!



On second thoughts maybe not - Eynhallow Sound is notoriously dangerous even on a calm day. Late this afternoon a local creel boat badly misjudged the depth of water inshore and ran aground just off the point next to the site (incidentally the site of the Westness Viking burial ground). The boat was listing badly as we left site with the tide running out fast. The crew were in no danger - they could have waded ashore by that point - but it''ll be a tricky job to get her righted so she doesn't flood & sink when the tide comes back in.


All in all another action packed day at Swandro - tune in tomorrow for another exciting installment!


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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