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Dig Diary Monday 3rd July 2017

Our first day back on site started out a little breezy with occasional sudden downpours, then ended hot and sunny. In other words typical Orkney weather which is usually described as four seasons in a day: you can start the day in full waterproofs, woolly hat and gloves and end the day getting sunburnt.

Hard at work uncovering the site at Swandro, Orkney
Hard at work uncovering the site at Swandro

This is the first taste of archaeology for many of our American and Bradford students, and they couldn’t have a better place to do it than in Orkney! We’re justifiably proud of the quality of our archaeology– OK so the Heart of Neolithic Orkney World Heritage Site gets all the publicity and the sites are pretty cool - Skara Brae, Maeshowe chambered tomb and the henge monuments of Brodgar and Stenness – but that’s just the beginning really – we have several thousand more sites, many of them threatened by coastal erosion as we are here at Swandro.

Anyway we got off to a flying start, and we began to uncover the Late Iron Age building (Structure 3):

Bonny view of Eynhallow Sound looking out to Coast Head and the Atlantic, with archaeology in the foreground
Bonny view of Eynhallow Sound looking out to Coast Head and the Atlantic, with archaeology in the foreground

As you can see from the pic everyone’s working hard – I know it just looks like a big pile of rocks but trust me, there’s a site under there somewhere.

One of the problems we have at Swandro is we’re at the bottom of a big hill and everything we bring down to site has to be mobile and small enough to get down the hill (apart from the site director who’s just recovering from a hip replacement – we drive him down!)

We’re very envious of the Ness of Brodgar – being right next to the main road their finds hut is a lovely big solid portable building on jacks – delivered on the back of a lorry. Our finds hut is a towable box trailer which we hire and we’ve just found out that it’s going to be sold – we need to raise £1500 to buy it or we haven’t got a site hut anymore. I know everyone’s really strapped for cash these days but if you’re reading this and could see your way clear to just even give us a fiver towards saving our finds hut that would be really appreciated- we have donate buttons all over the website.

I’m off now to rest my weary back and have something cold to drink – stay tuned for the next exciting instalment...


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