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Fun in the sun at Swandro

It's that time of the year again, we're back on site at Swandro for another fun-filled season, unusually for us we're baking in tropical heat rather than getting soggily soaked, as Orkney is experiencing some very un-Orkney like weather. It's been incredibly dry this year, we had a bit of rain on Monday this week and I think that was the first rain for about seven weeks. We've also had a very dry cold spring, none of which is good news for the farmers who are worried about their barley and grass scorching, especially in Rousay which is short of water at the best of times. Still it's made a nice change for us to be getting the boards out, strimming paths and generally getting set up in decent weather.

It's been so dry that even the bog at the landward side of the site has dried up, which we've never seen before, it's usually knee deep in water. This has provided us with an unexpected opportunity to have a look at a section of the lower field over the boundary wall at the bottom of site, in the hope of finding a continuation of the Norse longhouse excavated by Sigrid Kaland in the 1960s. It wasn't possible at the time of the earlier excavation to closely date the buildings uncovered, but we're hoping that we can use the exceptionally dry ground conditions to examine the possible middens and maybe further structural remains associated with Kaland's longhouse.

The overhead pic here shows the outline of the longhouse with the boundary wall and the area over the wall where we're putting the new trench, with the sandbags of the main site in the bottom left corner. It does show you just how extensive the whole site is:

It's certainly made a change to be deturfing rather than hoicking stone off the beach (although that joy is still to come):

And of course this means that we're building a turf wall rather than a stone wall:

Needless to say it is just as tiring and you get just as many blisters deturfing as shifting stone, plus the fact that we're a bit inland means we're in cleg territory so we're all getting bitten. Apparently we also have a bumper hatching of midges to look forward to due to all the weird weather - I've ordered a midge net and warned everyone to do the same!


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