Dig diary Monday 23rd July: our anvil still has the Pictish smith's hand prints!!

Amazing discovery of the day: the huge beach cobble used as an anvil in our Pictish copper smith's workshop was cleaned up so it could be photographed & when it was shiny & clean you could quite clearly see the mucky finger marks, hand prints and knee marks left by the smith around 1,500 years ago!



The longer scale in the photo is 50cm long, so you get an idea of the size of the thing & the top is badly pitted, as you would expect from a stone that's been used as an anvil. The marks are basically greasy carbon rubbed onto the stone. The knee marks are presumably from kneeling very close to the anvil when working and rubbing against it repeatedly. The finger marks show up very well in this close up, with one of the knee marks below them:



This is such an exciting discovery that we've put this out as a press release, so hopefully we'll get a bit of publicity for the dig,which might help in the fundraising to pay for the continuing excavation and our radiocarbon dates. Here's the anvil in position in the smithy, it's just to the left of the large flat hearth slab with the black & white scale on it in the middle of the shot:


All in all a lot of excitement for one day & quite makes up for the struggle we had getting it off site yesterday:



Now just to wait for the international media beating a path to our door to cover our star find of the dig...better make sure we all shine up our digging boots!


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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