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Dig diary Monday 30th July: backfilling begins

A sad day at Swandro as we start to prepare the site for winter - although we still have four days left digging has stopped due to the sheer physical labour of backfilling at Swandro. Not for us the cover it with plastic weighted down with tyres approach adopted at the other Orkney dig - that wouldn't survive two minutes once the Atlantic gales begin. No, we cover with terram weighted down with sandbags & about 40 tonnes of stone. At least it was a bonny day to begin with although torrential rain is forecast for the end of the week - typical!

Backfilling begins at Swandro

We're not downhearted though - OK I'm lying, we are, no-one wants to leave when the site is really starting to make sense & we're all worried about the damage the sea is going to do over the winter. Take for example the lovely little corbelled side cell to the tomb that we're just in the upper layers of:

Corbelled side cell to tomb at Swandro

This is perilously close to the erosion line and although we're going to fill it with sandbags and brace it up with huge slabs of stone we don't know if it's going to survive over the winter to next season. We hope it is, just as we hope that we're going to be able to raise the money for an 8-week season next year - time will tell!

To finish on a lighter note, someone had left us a present overnight - a rugby ball, part of the Orkney Rugby Clubs #rugbyballrammie, where they've left rugby balls all over Orkney to publicise the game. We were very touched to find it tucked in among our wheelbarrows this morning, and someone had gone to the trouble to put our Pictish smith's handprint on it too! We did a team photo trying to look suitably tough & deserving of such an honour:

#rugbyballrammie at Swandro

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