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Midges to the right of us, midges to the left of us...

Team Swandro were in midge hell today, started off horribly muggy with no wind and every midge in the known universe was on site with us, never had it that bad before. Everyone who'd brought a midge net donned them and everyone else improvised as did Yasmin, Fiona and Emma in the roundhouse:

Midge repellent of every variety was being sprayed all round to no avail - I had a can of Smidge - which proudly boasts that it's invented by the people who do the Scottish midge forecast and repels everything - didn't do a thing although I had so much on that some of the little beggars landing on my arms drowned in it so at least I got some of them. Maybe Orkney midges are a specially resilient strain - apparently this was the first time that Julie had ever had to resort to her midge net at Swandro, but she got her money's worth out of it today:

Still we carried on regardless and the star find of the day was this little antler handle, spotted at the same time by two of our American CUNY fieldschool students Talia and Yasmin, so in the interests of fairness that's both their hands holding it:

Later on in the day another piece from the same area came up, still with a bone or antler rivet in place, will get a photo of it tomorrow for you as didn't have time today.

In the passageway we're starting to get slabs of stone forming a floor, and a nice chunky threshold stone across the inner end:

In the trench extension on the north east Klaudia's cell was looking its best for a photograph - it was so claggy that she had to resort to sponging off the big slab at the bottom to get it ready for the photo, and then it was so damp (as well as midgey) that the slab refused to dry out properly, but I managed to get a quick snap while we were waiting with the scales in place for it to dry off:

That's the trouble with site photography - it's either too wet, too sunny or too dry but rarely perfect. If it's too dry you can't see the colours, so you finish up having to wet things down all the time to get the nice red/black hearth contrasts like these:

Thanks are due at this point to Robert Mainland who very kindly brings us big water cubes down with his tractor every season - we've gone through two this year and we couldn't do without them, it's very much appreciated.

The picture below is for Tom's mum who always follows us on the dig diary - he's looking so happy as he has a midge net obviously (which I made him take off for the photo!) - but also because he's been rescued from endless sieving and been allowed to play in the dirt for a while:

Right, enough, I'm off to scratch my midge bites and hope for a proper Orkney windy day the morn!


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