• pillow-featured
  • The newly discovered decorated stone from Structure Eight.
  • A close-up of today's macehead.
  • The structure (with no name yet) in the north end of Trench X.
  • View down Trench T. (Karen Wallis)
  • Antonia prepares her records for the dismantling of the later Structure Eleven - hopefully to reveal more of the paved 'plaza'.
  • pano217
pillow-featured

Diary Extra – 3D reconstruction of a complete pillow stone

Today saw the discovery of another pillow stone at the Ness, although the latest find, from Trench X, was broken. One of the other, complete, pillow stones found on site is featured in Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark’s 3D reconstruction below and…

The newly discovered decorated stone from Structure Eight.

Dig Diary – Thursday, July 28, 2016

Day Nineteen Structure Eight’s rosette stone Like yesterday, as the day was drawing to a close another fabulous find was made –  this time by Dr Antonia Thomas, our art expert. While carefully dismantling the later buttressing to Structure Eleven,…

A close-up of today's macehead.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Day Eighteen A macehead and an anvil stone As the blog was being put together, at the end of the day, Trench X produced another impressive find – a macehead or rather, as usual, half a macehead. Peter was trowelling the…

The structure (with no name yet) in the north end of Trench X.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Day Seventeen The structure with no name . . . Today was a day of head-scratching and complexities in more than one of the Ness structures. In the ominously-named Trench X, Anne, Colin and their team have revealed more of…

View down Trench T. (Karen Wallis)

Dig Diary – Monday, July 25, 2016

Day Sixteen Hearths, magnetism and old friends… One of the great pleasures of summer at the Ness is welcoming back those who have worked here in previous years. A number of new diggers arrived this morning –  although many were…

Guardianshot

Diary Extra – Sunday, July 24, 2016

From Orkney to the Fens, our ancient past is coming alive As mentioned on Friday, the Ness excavation site was visited by Kevin McKenna, a senior feature writer for The Observer. Kevin’s subsequent article is now available online here.

Antonia prepares her records for the dismantling of the later Structure Eleven - hopefully to reveal more of the paved 'plaza'.

Dig Diary – Friday, July 22, 2016

Day Fifteen Ending week three with a day of discovery Today was a day of discoveries at the Ness and some of them have been really exciting. The most sensational was the identification of some highly unusual and recognisable pottery sherds from…

pano217

Diary Extra – Thursday, July 21, 2016

Some views from above Time of another three of Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark’s panoramas, taken today, from high above various locations in Trench P. The first was taken from directly above Structure Ten, looking out over Structure Twelve, Trench X and towards the…

The Structure Twelve team hard at work, sampling the deeply stratified floor deposits.

Dig Diary – Thursday, July 21, 2016

Day Fourteen More bone and a second notched stone Miracle of miracles! A very nice lady visited the Ness today, seized the diary by the arm and insisted that there must be more, much more, reporting of the weather. She is…

sbmodel

Diary Extra – Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Around the world in 80 models  . . . Regular diary readers will have seen Dr Hugo Anderson-Whymark’s marvellous 3D reproductions of the Ness of Brodgar excavation site, as well as his panoramas and aerial photographs. This week, Hugo is one of…

The human arm bone under the buttress of Structure Ten.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Day Thirteen Human remains under Structure Ten Our determination to talk about the weather yesterday has come back to bite us with a vengeance. We had barely recovered from yesterday’s sun-stroke and dehydration when this morning arrived, heralded by louring…

Screen Shot 2016-07-20 at 00.11.22

Diary Extra – Tuesday, July 19, 2016

We’re basking in sunshine . . . We don’t get them often, but today was a scorcher of a day – although, I will admit that it was a little too warm for me (20 degrees C this afternoon –…

The hills of Hoy, reflected in a mirror-like Loch of Stenness.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Day Twelve What a difference a day makes . . . We have no idea how hot it got at the Ness today. Suffice to say that it was horribly hot, whether in Fahrenheit or Centigrade. Regular readers will have…

A rather sad-looking Trench T as it quickly becomes a swimming pool.

Dig Diary – Monday, July 18, 2016

Day Eleven Thwarted by the rain . . . but there’s big news coming This is not a day we wish to remember. It drizzled, then it rained, then it drizzled some more. Taken together, today’s rain maybe didn’t amount…

Jo McKenzie and her near-perfect sample through the floors of Structure Eight - carefully balanced on the cake-slice used to extract it.

Dig Diary – Friday, July 15, 2016

Day Ten Fingers crossed for a chambered tomb Today, we have startling news from Trench  T – the one which runs from the huge midden beyond the house and down to Stenness loch. Ben and his team have been finishing…

Hugo extends the sondage under the robbed-out wall of Structure Fourteen.

Dig Diary – Thursday, July 14, 2016

Day Nine Foundation deposit beneath Structure Ten? Today started tranquilly enough in Trench X as UHI and Willamette students were taught the rudiments of planning. Many experienced diggers enjoy planning. Others, and especially those with bad backs, find it something…

A new overview of Trench P, with Trench X on the left, courtesy of Scott Pike's new drone.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, July 13, 2016

Day Eight A day of discoveries Today it’s time to turn to Trench T (for all you pedants out there, yes, the diary does love a spot of alliteration). This is the trench on the far side of Lochview, which…

The new sample grid is established in Structure Twelve.

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Day Seven The finds emerge. . . Regular and eagle-eyed readers will have noticed that there has not been much mention made thus far of wonderful finds. To be terribly pretentious about it this may be because, as serious archaeologists,…

Heave-ho - one potential method for moving a megalith.

Dig Diary – Monday, July 11, 2016

Day Six Some timely arrivals . . . Reinforcements arrived on site today, and not before time. The Ness has developed, over the years, into a site which is both large and complex, and we will have more to say…

Alette and Mark prepare to zap Structure Eleven with the laser scanner.

Dig Diary – Friday, July 8, 2016

Day Five Was Structure Ten slate roofed? Looks like it . . . Back in the stores of the Archaeology Institute of the University of the Highlands and Island lies the pottery already excavated from the Ness of Brodgar. It…

Mike briefs his team on the infamous robbing cut of Structure Ten, as they prepare to reveal more of the original build.

Dig Diary – Thursday, July 7, 2016

Day Four Ladies and gentlemen, may we present . . . Trench X Today, the serious archaeology continued with geoarchaeologist Jo McKenzie’s sampling of the floors in Structure Twelve. But while Jo was happy with progress, and with her samples, site director…

Neil Oliver lends a hand cleaning the floor deposits in Structure Eight.

Dig Diary – Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Day Three Cleaning rocks in the hot sun . . . The diary has a real problem today. By the end of many hours in the hot Orkney sun, it is hard enough to cudgel the brain into remembering your…

panofeature

Diary Extra — Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Reader’s of today’s diary entry will have seen the photograph of Hugo Anderson-Whymark with his “latest gizmo” – a Panono “ball camera” that is a rather wonderful, and impressive, piece of kit. Inside the “ball” are 36 fixed-focus cameras, covering 360 degrees. When…

Do you think he know's what he's doing? It was such an unusual sight to see director Nick with a trowel that supervisors Jim and Anne gathered round to watch and advise!

Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Day Two The trench with no name . . . Today started ominously for, as work began first thing in the morning, a glance south-eastwards showed a huge bank of black cloud building, with a column of blackness descending in…

Rolling back the tyres.

Diary Extra – Monday, July 4, 2016

Uncovering the site . . . in 31 seconds

Before

Dig Diary – Monday, July 4, 2016

Day One And we’re off . . . We’re back! After what seems like forever, the Ness of Brodgar is springing into life once more. Ten months ago, this most iconic of archaeological sites was swathed in sheets of protective black…