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Finely ground stone disc - star find of the dig!

The only story in town today is the star find - which is likely to be star find of the 2024 dig, not just of the day - a beautiful polished stone disc:

This was found by Alex (one of the Bradford students who is on his first excavation) and the moment of discovery was captured by Alice who happened to be in the right place at the right time:

These discs are found in Iron Age Scotland during the Roman period, one was found in Westray in an 18th century burial, and there's a free downloadable paper by James Graham-Campbell and Fraser Hunter 'Unusual Roman Iron Age burials on the Links of Pierowall, Westray Orkney' in PSAS 2021, which has much more detail and distribution maps of the Scottish examples. Predictably for archaeology nobody knows what they're for, although they are suggested to be for use as a palette for grinding something up, possibly cosmetics or medicinal or narcotic substances (ibid).

Alex was so pleased by his find he was actually shaking with excitement, you can see he's enjoying the moment but was quite keen to get it safely into the finds hut for Talia to worry about. He couldn't have carried it off site more carefully if it had been a hand grenade with a loose pin.

Many examples of these discs come from graves, making ours a bit unusual and even more special. It also doesn't look like it's Orkney stone, it looks a bit more like it's from maybe Shetland, but that will wait on final analysis. There's another very nice example from Old Scatness broch in Shetland, a previous site excavated by our directors, which is very finely ground and made from gametiferous schist.

More mundane operations did resume after the excitement of the stone disc, including yet more carrying of large stones off site with the lifting strops:

And for those of you old enough to remember 'That's Life', this is today's 'and finally Esther' photo of Jake and his mac, about which I'm not going to say any more ...


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