Dig diary Saturday 14th July - Viking stew and specialists galore

Updated: Oct 27, 2018

Not digging today but we had our special event at the Rousay school - our Viking camp & cookout plus our 'Meet the Swandro Specialists' in the hall. The weather could've been better but a good turnout despite the damp and a great time had by all, and we would like to thank the Heritage Lottery Fund and National Lottery players for our 'Sharing Heritage' grant which enabled the presence of our Living History reenactors both on site and at special events like this.

The Viking lamb stew was got going early on in the day by Valgar the Viking, although it was a close run thing - I'd been ordered to procure good legs of lamb and a quantity of Dark Island beer. No problem - the Orkney Brewery very kindly sponsored the beer and also donated a raffle prize, and the legs of lamb were lovely chunks of meat. hence the slight hiccup - apparently Valgar normally uses Welsh legs of lamb which are nowhere near as big as Orkney legs, so a certain amount of cutting & adjustments were necessary to get them to fit the various pans, with a certain amount of relay cooking going on.

Valgar the Viking chef & his lamb & Dark Island stew

Elsewhere all the specialists were happily specialising:


Jackie McKinley - human bones

Neolithic techniques & materials display

Joe with some of the animal bones from Swandro

Gerry McDonnell archaeometallurgy


Lindsey Kemp - photogrammetry

Rose with her collection of crucibles and moulds from Swandro

We did have to move the eating the Viking stew event indoors due to the rain, which was interesting - how do you get large red hot pans of stew indoors? Easy - use a barrow - possibly one of the more surreal sights of the day, someone in full Viking rig pushing a barrow of stew into the hall!


It was delicious in case you're wondering! One lady said that the lamb was better than Waitrose - well of course it was, it was Orkney lamb!

First sitting of stew & bannocks ready to go

A good fun day was had by all, and the sun even came out for the last part of the afternoon to enable a group photo without getting too soggy:

Back on site as normal tomorrow, please do come along if you're in Orkney and visit us!


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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