It was forty years ago today ...

... no, not Sergeant Pepper taught the band to play, that was 20 years ago (although they did do a big commemoration on the 40th anniversary which threw me a bit), this is a much more important anniversary: the 40th anniversary of site director Dr Julie Bond's graduation from the University of Bradford as one of the the very first batch of the new Archaeological Sciences degree:


Appropriately she's wearing (by complete coincidence - d'ya think we stage photos? We're not that organised!) a T-shirt with the Old Scatness bear on it - a Pictish symbol stone found at another of her sites, Old Scatness broch in Shetland.

It was a nice day for an anniversary, bit too hot for me again (factor 50 and a sun hat notwithstanding I think my neck's sunburnt) although Alex, one of our American students who's just got here straight from a dig in Israel) is still cold & hasn't taken off any of his (as far as I can tell) six layers of clothing yet - he's going to suffer if we get some proper Orkney summer weather.

The site is drying out quickly, apart from the juicy midden inside the Iron Age roundhouse which is producing lots and lots of animal bone and shell, including big chunks of whalebone:



I usually wander by the finds trailer to ask find's supremo Hollie if there's any decent finds for the dig diary, although in Hollie's view all her finds are precious and much-loved, today she suggested that I could show you some of her gorgeous trays of other finds rather than just concentrating on the pretty stuff. I tried to tell her that people don't want to see pictures of grotty old animal bone and shell but she was adamant, so here they are:


With the weather being good we can at least get the finds dried out in the sun, although I'm beginning to think you can have too much of a good thing - limpets for instance, I mean I'm sure there must be a limpet shell specialist somewhere who loves the things, but do we really need that many?


Hollie did finally relent and produce a base off an Iron Age pot - not particularly inspiring, but then that's IA pottery for you, they don't really go in for decoration, presumably they're expressing their artistic urges in some other way:

I'm now off to find a hard hat to wear on site tomorrow as I'm sure to get smacked both by Hollie for dissing her finds but also by Julie - who after her graduation all those years ago went on to specialise in environmental archaeology, including of course animal bones, which she adores as much as Hollie does!

189 views
  • Follow us on Facebook
  • Follow us on Twitter
  • Visit our YouTube channel
  • Follow us on Instagram

Swandro - Orkney Coastal Archaeology Trust 

Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation No: SC047002 

Patron: His Royal Highness The Prince Charles, the Duke of Rothesay

Registered office: Bayview Birsay Orkney KW17 2LR   email: info@swandro.co.uk