Kayakers, Cloudbursts and Cleaning

Day got off to a bad start with a downpour just as we were arriving on site to start cleaning everything up for the laser scanning, although it soon cleared up all of the midden surfaces were sodden and greasy. The tide was also in, which meant that the lower levels of the site started filling up - yes, we are below sea level in places., that's the sea in that pool:

It kept alternating heavy showers with sunny spells but we persevered, removing yet more seaweed and shingle blasted into the site by the sea, with our usual creel boat bobbing about in the background:

Still we persevered and by 1.30 the site was clean enough for the laser scanning to begin - it's part of our project design to monitor the rate of coastal erosion on the site, and laser scanning at the start of the season enables us to compare the previous year's scans and see what has happened in the interval. It's valuable work but time consuming, and the sit has to be cleared of people whilst its ongoing, so the team were dispatched for a somewhat belated lunch break followed by trip up the coast to visit Midhowe tomb and broch whilst the scanning continued.

Yours truly stayed behind to run the site tours, which we do as and when people turn up, usually they arrive by walking in from Midhowe, but one visitor arrived today by kayak:

He's a return visitor too - came last year about the same time, having paddled across from Evie to see us. I wonder if we're the only excavation where you can visit by kayak? It had already been quite a busy day - a group of ramblers and lots of individuals, and continued busy with more visitors, including Professor David Jacques of the Blick Mead Mesolithic excavation and some of his team, who all seemed to enjoy the tour:


Despite David having left his jacket in the car with another rain squall coming in, they all yomped off to have a look at Moaness point (site of the Viking cemetery) just round the bay.

The laser scanning is now finished, and tomorrow morning we start deturfing to extend the trench over the Iron Age roundhouse - that's something to look forward too (not!) - don't mind deturfing on nice turf, but ours has huge amounts of stone just under the surface so it's incredibly hard to do. Be prepared for blisters on blisters!

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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