Deturfing - a peculiar archaeological activity like laying a lawn in reverse, except archaeological turves are never anywhere near as nice as those that come on the back of a lorry from the garden centre, having been grown in lovely controlled conditions on nice light soil, forming perfect squares. OK on some sites it is possible to get the turf off the site in a reasonably neat manner, cutting nice lines with a sharp spade and then lifting gently, but not at Swandro. No using a spade hardly at all, just a mattock to hack the turf off in chunks due to the huge amount of stone underneath. Then of course it started to rain quite heavily, even though the forecast was for a few light showers. Deep, deep joy.
We're extending the trenches on the landward side to answer a couple of key questions regarding some of the Iron Age buildings overlying our tomb - as usual in archaeology key areas of some of the buildings lie just underneath the section edge. (Key areas are also quite often located under the spoil heap but thankfully we put our spoil a long way away so we're fine). Still, I suppose moving muddy turf full of nettle roots in the rain makes a change from hoicking rocks covered in minging seaweed off the site in the rain. What happened to summer by the way? Did we blink and miss it? Forecast even worse for tomorrow so we're switching days off and having Thursday & Friday off but working Saturday. We usually end up working six day weeks for most the dig anyway but I think everyone's ready for a break after all the hard labour of the last 10 days, so two days off will give everyone a chance to get into Kirkwall to visit the museum and do some laundry and shopping, and an extra day of sleeping. Sure all the rock will be there waiting for us to clean it all up on Saturday, here's hoping for a dry sunny day!