Time to show the sieves a little love

We're doing 100% sieving at Swandro, which means that everything we excavate gets sieved to recover all the smaller artefacts that would otherwise be missed, and that means a lot of hard work. Last year we all sieved our own spoil, but this year with more people on site and new, improved sieves we have a dedicated sieve team doing nothing but sieving every day. This team is currently headed by Tom, one of our old hands who absolutely adores sieving, and, as an American archaeologist, has done loads of it all over the world. He feels that the rest of us don't appreciate the sieving as much as we ought, and in particular that the dig diary needs to show the sieves a little love, so here's today's sieve team photo (that's Tom at the far left):

We really do appreciate the efforts of everyone who works the sieves and it is a vital part of the excavation strategy, so well done to all and keep up the good work. There, that should get me off the hook with Tom for a bit anyhow. Seriously it's hard monotonous work and they're doing a great job, they're also using the sieved spoil to fill sandbags at the same time. This will be hugely helpful when we come to backfill the site - we used to have to mattock the spoil heap to make sandbags up, but with the new improved design the spoil runs down into trugs on the ground which can then be used to fill the sandbags with all this lovely fine sieved spoil, - perfect!

At least we had a nice day for a change and not too hot, thanks to a bit of mist and a nice breeze, which meant we got lots done, including moving lots of big stones like this one being lifted in a wheelbarrow out of the Iron Age roundhouse:



We also had an odd stone out of the same area, whether this is a pivot stone or a mould of some sort isn't clear, but it's very finely made with a flat bottom, which pivot stones don't usually have:

Jackie has also been working away at her corbelled cell just outside the roundhouse and has found the probable floor level plus a very nice built in cupboard - you can never have too much storage space after all:


The interior of the roundhouse is starting to really take shape with stone piers (with the mattock leaning against it) and othostatic divisions (orthostat is Latin for a big sticky up stone)


All in all a very good day today, if the weather is kind to us tomorrow should be better!

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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