Pig needles, sieves and staffs of power

Beautiful sunny day, started out with our weekly site tour outlining Steve & Julie's current thinking & site strategy so everyone knows what's going on and where we're headed, then on-site for a mega photo clean and recording session. Keith managed as usual to avoid the photo clean and bag himself a nice juicy area with lots of lovely Iron Age midden to be sampled and excavated, and lo and behold came up with today's star find, this sweet little pig bone needle:


Yours truly managed finally to grab a few willing helpers to get the site tent up - I know it's a bit late, but we couldn't put it up during the advance team week as it would've been in the way of the ground penetrating radar survey, which also took out all of the first week proper, then last week it was just too wet and windy to try and put it up as it would've likely been blown away with us hanging onto the guy ropes. Anyway we spent a sweaty couple of hours getting the (expletive deleted) thing up, succeeding largely due to the fact that Kristina actually knew what she was doing having erected a variety of tents before:


You'll notice that the bottom of the tent is also weighted down with rocks - of which we have an endless supply - this is an Orkney tent after all!

Elsewhere our new sieves have been used for the first time and are proving their worth, a lot less effort than the old ones and built to last, thanks to the sterling efforts of our osteoarchaeologist Dave (who also processes and sorts all our environmental samples over the winter):


I did have a hand in their construction, mostly helpful advice along the lines of 'that's not strong enough, why don't you use thicker wood, are you sure that's not going to break' etc etc with the end result that they're built like brick outhouses and they are definitely not going to blow away - they weigh about a ton each.

Finally managed to get a photo of one of our site mascots, the eider ducks, who come right in alongside us with their ducklings (Titch & Quackers in case you were wondering) and preen on the rocks right next to us:



I'd like to think they're archaeology fans but I think it's just that we scare the bonxies away (great skuas - vicious killers, I saw one drown an eider duck once, just lifted off and landed on the duck repeatedly and kept pushing it under water until it drowned, then settled down next the corpse and ate it).

Anyway photo clean finally over and Steve got to take some of his brilliant site photos, and Hollie aka she-who-must-be-obeyed-in-the-finds-hut got to brandish her staff of power at all and sundry and threaten them with dire consequences for mislabelling a finds tray or failing to respect a cruddy bit of pottery - she has a deathray generator mounted on top of it that strikes you down in an instant for any finds-related misdemeanours:


I suppose technically talking about cruddy bits of pottery probably also rates a quick blast from the staff, so if there's no dig diary tomorrow you know the reason why...

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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