Well, that was a busy 3 weeks but I’ve enjoyed myself so much. We wrapped up the site on Friday and had an end of dig celebration and sadly it’s now all over for another year. I have 150 photos to organise before I start uploading them.
This week I will be visiting the Ness of Brodgar but only as a visitor. I’m really looking forward to it.
Today started with a bit of dark cloud in the sky I expected to turn to rain however by lunch time there was glorious sun shine and warm breeze.
New team members, such as myself, we given a site tour. Martin genuinely loves this site and he is so enthusiastic about what The Cairns offers. It was amazing to get to look inside some of the structures as well as learn about them.
After the site tour I was put to work mattocking a newly opened trench, and did this for most of the day. We recovered lots of animals bone from the area as well as a stone tool! However due to the physical strain of mattocking I can feel the muscles in my arms starting to tense up, hopefully a long and very hot shower followed by some muscle rub will keep any pains to a minimum.
After we had leveled the area we were working on we went back to our section and started troweling back. Here I found a couple of pieces of bones and a potential polished stone.
Overall another fantastic day excavating, can’y wait to get back tomorrow.
(Note: I’ll be dating my posts on The Cairns the same as their dig diary, Day Six is actually my Day One on site.)
I was extremely excited to be starting the Cairns after last summers issues with my Rousay excavation (many contributing factors, not just one big problem). We used the Orkney College minibuses to get to site which was much easier than last years bus, ferry and 2 mile walk, it’s nearly luxury! Once we arrived on site I did the usual task of preparing myself by getting out my tools, knee pads/gloves and putting on my waterproof jacket as there was already a slightly damp feeling in the air. Martin, the site director arrived on site in the second minibus and was slightly concerned by the current weather as well as the forecast however we pressed on into a site update to see what had happened in the past week but as we progressed the weather steadily got worse and he decided to call it a day before any excavation went underway.
During the site update there was a small tour of the site. I hadn’t visited the cairns before today so I was just blown away by the broch structure. It is absolutely massive and the masonry is just amazing. I was genuinely surprised and fascinated by this site, no wonder people keep coming back to dig here. There’s also numerous other structures across site that are also interesting as well as a newly opened area that may already be producing a wall face. I will be taking my DSLR to site tomorrow to take pictures during my site tour given by Martin. I would seriously recommenced visiting this site if you have chance to in the next 3 weeks, this site is amazing.
Instead we headed to see some of the Iron Age archaeology that Orkney has to offer. Firstly we visited Grain Earthhouse but since Ortak’s closure the key is now collected from the Bishop’s and Earl’s Palace in the centre of town. Because we were such a large group we had to split into 2 groups, the more claustrophobic of us going in a smaller group. Martin gave us a short lecture about the life and potential uses of the souterrains. We then trotted off to the Broch of Gurness, a first time for me. It’s an absolutely stunning site with amazing archaeology on show. It’s definitely worth a visit if you’re in Orkney.
Basically, come to Orkney, we have amazing archaeology!!!