Started out with yet more stone shifting around the edge of the roundhouse wall, but obviously, since this is Swandro, there was also rotting seaweed to shift as well as stone:
The weather seems to have settled into cold & dreich, so Chloe was wearing her very smart Icelandic wool sweater, which is waterproof as long as you don't wash it - you would've thought this wouldn't be very practical for an archaeologist, but Chloe assures me that Tom McGovern ( one of our trustees and an eminent American archaeologist) has had a similar sweater for 50 years and dug in it all that time, and it's perfectly fine just sprayed with a bit of water and then aired off. Wouldn't work for me, as every item of clothing I possess looks about a year old after a day's wear, let alone 50!
Since we're starting to get into the archaeology, we took a bit of time out to explain to the new hands what exactly we're going to find, what it looks like, and how important it is to ask if you're not sure. Alice is much better at this than me, as I come from the generation of archaeologists where the standard method of determining if something was pot or stone was to snap it in half - if you can snap it then it's pot, if you can't then it's stone! These days this approach is very much frowned upon, and likely to get you smacked by the finds supervisor, although come to think of it, smacking students around the head is also frowned upon these days. Different times!
It's been a very long week, so both Star and Gavin lost their concentration a bit, although to be fair Gavin's an old hand and doesn't need to be told how to recognise pot, and Star's a dog so isn't allowed to dig so also doesn't need to recognise pot:
Still, when we got back to work we had a bit of a surprise when moving a couple of broken orthostats (Latin for big sticky up stones), because preserved behind one of them, sandwiched between it and the next, was a complete articulated piglet skeleton (which I'm pleased to say I actually recognised as a piglet - those animal bones lectures with Julie back in 1983 were not completely wasted after all!).
A bit strange, as the orthostats in question had collapsed, sandwiching the piglet between them - you do have to wonder about the circumstances that led to this, I mean you don't think of a piglet getting itself into confined spaces, maybe if it was a kitten, but a piglet?
Anyway Julie took her record pics of it then Alice carefully excavated it, and just to make sure of 100% recovery, Tom sieved all the spoil. Star was most disappointed - she thought 'piglet' involved food, a greyhound's biggest obsession:
To be honest it was good to have something a bit interesting, as all day long (and in fact all week long) we've been battered by winds and rain - there is absolutely no shelter on site in bad weather, and it's all very well for folk south to be sweltering in 28 degrees, here we're in full waterproofs just to keep warm.
Tomorrow it's a day trip to the Mainland for the students, so they can see Skara Brae, Brodgar & Stenness, whilst the rest of the team cracks on with the site. Amazingly they all still looked cheerful as we loaded up to leave today, despite everything the Orkney weather can throw at us: