The Big Reveal: We Have Archaeology!!

Day one of week two and despite the day turning wet and windy we've moved most the stone and got the covers off - not an easy or pleasant job, wrestling wet, muddy terram around:


Funny how it was a flat calm eerily still day yesterday for our day off, then the wind came in today when we could've used calm - how do the weather gods know what we plan to do? Here's the tomb wall coming up visible for the first time since last year, and rather worryingly we think it's sagged a bit more towards the sea - look at the slant on the wall to the left of the shot:


The plan once it's cleaned up is to get the laser scanner into operation and 3D scan everything, so we can compare it to scans taken last year - then we'll know for sure how much damage has occurred over the winter. We know that the whole site is slipping into the sea at Swandro but we're dealing with a double whammy: physical destruction of the site from waves crashing into the top but also the suction of the sea coming in underneath the archaeology and undermining everything, causing it to slide down the slope. Hardly surprising when we're excavating on the beach I suppose but just a little disheartening all the same and we do know from past test pits on the beach at low tide - a bit further out than in the photo below - that the site used to extend a lot further out to sea:


A combination of sea level rise - about 1.5m since the Neolithic - and physical destruction have taken a vast chunk of the site already. Still it was good to see that all the plastic & terram were still in place over the Iron age buildings above the tomb - there's been a serious dent in the backfilling stone that we'd left there last year, and a lot had been scoured out, but the we'd filled it in so well that we'd protected the top bit against the sea:



So not a bad end to a bit of a soggy miserable day and the team remain unnervingly cheerful and enthusiastic - beginning to wonder if anything can dent their high spirits, or maybe they're all going to suddenly snap one day and run amok? Time will tell!

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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