Dig Diary Thursday 13th July 2017

Following our star find yesterday of our Roman coin, we thought you might like to see a picture of Structure 3 today, this is the building where we're getting a lot of metalworking debris which is getting our archaeometallurgist very excited:


The Pictish Smithy, looking towards the entrance with the cupboard on the left

Have been doing a bit of research into Roman coins, a subject about which I know nothing, and there’s more than you think from Orkney. George Petrie found a fair few at the Broch of Lingro (just outside Kirkwall next to Scapa distillery) which were donated to the Museum of the Society of Antiquaries (now National Museums Scotland), this from the 1873 list of donations: ‘In various parts of the outbuildings several Roman coins were recovered including denarii of Vespasian (AD 69-79), Hadrian (AD 117-138), Antonius Pius (AD 138-161) two of Antonius Pius (J Anderson 1883) and two coins of Crispina (AD 180-83)’

More recently a couple of Roman denarii were found by metal detecting, one of Trajan, the other of Hadrian, close to the site of Lingro broch, so probably part of the same hoard

Have being doing a bit of judicious Googling trying to work out who our Emperor is – couldn’t spot one exactly like him though. Mind you I did accidentally come across some pretty risque Roman coins that were used as tokens in brothels – I’m not saying any more, you can find them on your own!


Photos of our coin have been sent off to folk who know what they’re talking about so hopefully we’ll have an update for you soon. We’ve had pretty finds from this building in previous seasons – the best being a cast copper alloy pin, possibly a rosette-headed pin from the first half of the first millennium AD – sorry I don’t have a photo to hand, will try & put some up at a later date.


Tomorrow – find out what’s got out metallurgist so excited...

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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