After nearly 2 weeks of backbreaking work removing the backfill we are finally at the stage where we can start to actually dig something, so huge excitement all round. The day didn't start particular well with torrential rain keeping us off site, but it did eventually ease off and we made it back for 12.30, to continue the last bit of stone removal before getting the covers off the main area.
Then it was a question of carefully tidying up all the debris from the last three years, from the remnants of very degraded sandbags, to seaweed and a fine crop of nettles. Haira was enjoying clearing out one of the small side cells in the roundhouse subdivision, the first time she's used her trowel in two weeks:
We're quite concerned as to how much damage the sea has done to the areas lower down the beach, considering the amount of damage we can see to some of the higher up areas. We are hoping to get the lower areas uncovered later on to take a look, but I'm not optimistic that there's going to be much left. You can see how close the sea is in this shot and that's at low tide on a flat calm day. When the tide's in you can practically reach out & touch the Eider ducks bobbing up and down at the edge of the trench.
It was good to see everyone happily tidying up and the site looking more like itself again, and we ended the day in bright sunshine, which cheered everyone up.
Julie has also been round the site with her famous piece of chalk, marking up all the stones she wants removed to reveal the next layers so tomorrow we'll start out moving rock again but this time it will be archaeological stones not our backfill. I expect we'll all just ache as much but at least there'll be more of a sense of satisfaction about it!