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Dig diary Thursday 19th July Stones & Bones day

Blisteringly hot on site, but we had lots of interesting finds coming up to keep everyone interested. Started early on when a large unusual stone, one of the agglomerate types which look a bit like concrete, and had been catching everyone's attention in one of the walls for a while, turned out on lifting to have a hole bored in it:

Pivot stone or quern roughout at Swandro

Stones with holes like this are pretty common in the Iron Age in Orkney and served as pivot stones for wooden doors - the whole door pivots on a rounded post, instead of a door swinging on hinges like we use. This stone was duly hauled out of the trench and recorded as a small find - although the term 'small find' seems singularly inappropriate for something that has to go to the finds trailer in a wheelbarrow!

Small finds don't have to be small!

I've always wondered why we use the term 'small finds' but anyway all that it means is something a bit special that deserves to have its location recorded in 3-D and be lovingly put in a plastic bag with a special label - or in a special wheelbarrow in this case!

Anyway after that we moved on to nice bone finds, with this very large bone point made from a cattle ulna or elbow bone. It seems overlarge but the joint on the ulna fits really nicely into your hand and makes the tool easy to grip:

Bone tool made from a cattle ulna at swandro

This came from the Iron age building overlying the chambered tomb, and the point was very nicely smoothed, here it is from the other side:

Close up of bone point made from cattle ulna

Towards the end of the day the same area produced a very nice piece of worked antler, here being carefully excavated:

Antler at Swandro

And finally resting safely in its finds tray- another 'small find' that wouldn't fit the bag:

Antler at swandro lifted

This antler came from the Iron age building but there's also plenty of red deer bones in the chambered tombs in Rousay, the Knowe of Yarso in particular had large number of red deer. We'd better keep a close eye on this piece, as we don't want it to end up in the antler collection amassed by our resident Swandro Vikings! Their collection is quite a bit larger than ours though, and they've got some very nice deer hides:

Antlers, horn & red deer hide

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