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Ditches and flags

Contrary to the weather forecast today turned out dry and sunny with a nice breeze to keep us cool. We've got about as far as we can go in Trench D on the beach, where the water table is defeating any further excavation, but the section shows the ditch revetments and rubble infill quite nicely, although there has been a fair bit of disturbance due to the continuing erosion:

Over in Trench F it was time to put a section through the area of flagging outside the Viking byre, hopefully there will be some nice dateable Viking midden surviving below:

Meanwhile Rose was showing some of the team how to carefully clean bone using makeup sponges and cotton wool buds, the idea being to clean without damaging the surfaces and obliterating any tool marks or preventing them being used for extracting DNA. It's a far cry from the old days, when we used to scrub bone as hard as we could using tough nylon scrubbing brushes, we don't usually clean bone on site, but Julie wants to select some to send off for radiocarbon dating as soon as possible:

Alan was outstanding in his field as usual, planning a very low mound with traces of stonework just above the site:

This is an interesting little feature as we know that a sword was found at Swandro in the 19th century, ploughed up in an unknown location, but presumably from a burial, and since Viking burials often involve mounds and stone settings we're always on the lookout for any possibilities. Any investigation will have to wait for another time though.

We have our days off now, but we're back on site on Sunday for our open day, so see you then if you can get over to Rousay.


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