Shifting stone and VIP visitors

The day got off to an inauspicious start when we realised that we were going to be cut off (well even more cut off than we usually are) by the hard working road maintenance crew from Orkney Islands Council, who were all on the boat over and planning to top dress the road above site. Not a secret that they were in Rousay - it's a bit of a giveaway when bright orange lorries and tar tankers start to stack up at the Rousay pierhead. Anyway a quick chat to the boys established that as long as there were no site vans parked up where they needed to put lorries there wouldn't be a problem, so a few quick rearrangements later we were all sorted and stone shifting continued apace:


We're still avoiding the area where the geophysics and ground penetrating radar is happening so we've still not got our tent up, but the weather's been much better today, dry and hot, and we've also had a few visitors. First off I thought I'd managed to miss a tour group out the diary as suddenly from the Westness end of our track there appeared a crowd of people, with the group's leader running down the hill towards us, periodically waving and shouting at the group to stop. It turned out that they'd been trying to get to the Midhowe tomb car park but had reached the closed road and been abandoned by their coach driver (not an Orkney company, one from south) - they didn't even want to visit the site, just directions.

Anyway we did get some real visitors, and we couldn't have done better in the form of eminent archaeologist Professor Graeme Barker, former Disney Professor of Archaeology at the University of Cambridge, seen here with site director Dr Julie Bond, who he knew from the days when she was a masters student:


If that wasn't enough we then had the Orkney County Archaeologist Julie Gibson, who was escorting two archaeologists from the University of Uppsala, Dr Paul Wallin and Dr Helen Martinsson-Wallin


Anyway the stone clearing is starting to have some effect - we can now at least see the terram membrane and some of the sandbags we put down last year to protect the site, which always cheers you up a bit, even if there is tons more to go (literally);


And best of all the OIC road crew had finished the road in time for us all to get home at the end of the day, and tomorrow they're round the other side of Rousay so nothing to stop us getting to site to move yet more stone - can't wait!

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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