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Spectacular steatite cup

Today we bring you what is likely to be the star find of the dig, an Iron Age steatite (soapstone) cup, found nestling under a collapsed orthostat:

After photographing and recording it in situ, Klaudia carefully excavated around it, hoping that it wasn't just a fragment...

...but was rewarded for her efforts when out it came all in one piece after roughly about 2,000 years in the ground - the grin says it all:

Here it is in close up, don't you just love the the handle, looks just like a giant tea cup, that hole must've been incredibly difficult to carve without the whole thing snapping off:

These cups (or possibly lamps, as with most things in archaeology there's some disagreement about what they were) are found at other Iron Age sites in Scotland, but having just spent some time looking at pictures of some of the others I don't think any of them are as nice as ours, but I admit I might be a bit biased.

I did feel a bit sorry for our volunteer Allison, who's come all the way from Hawaii, and up until about an hour before the end of the day was winning the star find competition with this sweet little whalebone comb, only to have it comprehensively outclassed by Klaudia's cup:

After all the excitement I don't know how we're going to improve on that, the next star find will have to be really special, unless of course we find matching saucers and side plates to go with the cup, don't think anyone else has done that yet!





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