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Sun, sea and sandbags

Sweltering hot day again with a brisk breeze blowing across the site and stirring up all the dust as we continued uncovering, meaning that the whole team was sporting goggles as we human chained trugs down the shore. Bonny view though, even if we were too busy to admire it:

We spent a fair bit of the day moving more of our sandbags, which were protecting the trench edges, fragile walls and orthostats (Latin for big sticky up stones). I say sandbags, but actually most of the bags are not filled with sand, they were filled with sieved spoil from the 2019 season, and since we've been away longer than we intended they got a bit battered in the interim. Many are also full of water, making it rather more like shifting slurry than sand:

Today we welcomed back Lindsey for another season, he's taken leave from his regular job as a field archaeologist and come to be our pole camera and UAV operator, but since we don't have anything to record yet he spent the day shifting sandbags and rock with the rest of us. He timed it well though since we are just starting to be able to uncover some of the archaeology, as you can see from the very finely constructed Iron Age wall beside him:

At least Lindsey got here as planned, we were also expecting Tom, one of our Americans who's been with the project for years, but who's also having problems with the current international flight chaos. First his flight got cancelled and he was stuck at JFK, then they managed to get him to Dublin, but of course he'd missed his connection to Edinburgh, they finally got him to Edinburgh and another missed connection to Kirkwall, but somewhere along the way they'd also lost all his luggage. His airline was still trying to work out how to get him to Kirkwall when last I heard, so we don't know when to expect him, or if he'll ever see his bags again.

Still, we're making progress and managed to get some of the covers off after shifting tonnes of stone:

It was good to finally see some archaeology emerging, especially for our students who have remained cheerful throughout but must have wondered what they'd let themselves in for. I don't think they quite believed us when we said it would be worth it in the end, but everyone perked up when the archaeology appeared:

We finished off the day by giving the newly emerged buildings a quick clean so they can have their photos taken tomorrow, so we have a start of site shot. This part of the site hasn't suffered too badly over the intervening period, but it remans to be seen what's happened lower down towards the shore. Still, it made us all feel like we're getting somewhere, and only one more day before we get our well deserved days off.


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