Smerquoy excavation update – August 16, 2016


Ali’s Hoose, with the scoop hearth visible as a darker patch. The opposing upright stone slots are visible in the floor to the right of the hearth.


The fourth stone dish found on site.

Rubble and redeposited glacial till has largely been removed now from the south end of Ali’s Hoose – the end which was terraced into the hillside – to reveal, in some places, two courses of the inside wall face, the rest having been robbed out prior to infilling.

It appears that the thick till was placed directly upon occupation floor deposits making it relatively simple to excavate.

The slots for opposing upright stones, which would have divided the interior of the house in half, are visible in the floor, as well as a scoop hearth set within the south half.

So far there is no evidence of a stone-set hearth, like that encountered in the Smerquoy Hoose of 2013. It had an earlier scoop hearth, which had been packed over with clay when the stone-set hearth was added. Does this imply that Ali’s Hoose went out of use at an earlier phase than the Smerquoy Hoose?


The egg-shaped stone in the south end of Ali’s Hoose.

Hopefully we will find out.

A large, water-worn, egg-shaped stone was found partly pressed into the floor, up against the wall within the south end of Ali’s Hoose today. We look forward to examining it once it has been lifted.

Other finds today included several more shards of round-based early Neolithic pottery, including a second shard with Unstan Ware style decoration.

The stone dish is the fourth to be found at Smerquoy.

The picture of the “Knap o’ Howar borers” (below) show the general form of these tools which we now have several examples of.

The larger one has been ground down to a circular section in one half, the end of it showing a narrower circular end with a shoulder.

Around the end are scratches which show that it has been used in a twisting motion down into a shallow hole.


Knap o’ Howar borers.

On the smaller borer the shoulder can be seen farther up indicating its use within a deeper hole.

What they were used to bore, however, remains a mystery for now.

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