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Tuesday, August 3, 2010
(Day 12)

The rain has cleared and it's yet another wonderful day on the Ness. The new members of the team seem to be fitting in well and getting used to both the site and its numerous finds. 

Today, the team was once again joined by a younger team attending the archaeology workshops, overseen by the Historic Scotland Rangers and Helen Woodford Deans. Unlike last week, when there seemed to be a multitude of finds, this team seemed less fortunate – but that is the nature of archaeology – who knows when the next trowelful will uncover something dramatic.

Picture ORCA
Excavation workshop members trowlling, under the supervision of the Historic Scotland
Rangers Elaine, Sandra and Keith.


The new decorated stone, with its chevron design, really seems to have caught the public’s and the media’s attention. Seems like Nick Card, the site director, has spent much of today with his ear stuck to his mobile phone, answering a host of calls from interested parties.

Today, we were also visited by Professor Scott Pike, of Willamette University in Oregon, who Nick met on his whistle-stop lecture tour of the USA earlier this year. Scott is over here on a fact-finding mission and hopes to establish collaborative projects with the archaeology department at Orkney College.


Picture ORCA
The plan of Structure Twelve becomes clearer (looking north) - note the east wall seems to be represented, at this level, only by robbing debris (as with parts of Structure Ten)


Both Structures Eight and Twelve were cleaned for photography today and both looked spectacular from the photographic tower.

Planning will now commence in Structure Twelve, while in Structure Eight more of the rubble infill is now ready to be removed from mainly the central area of the structure. Will roofing slates similar to those found in the side recesses be exposed? Watch this space!


Picture ORCA
Structure Eight - note the numerous wall lines at the near end of the building that signify a number of changes, and alterations, to this building, like Structure One.


Planning within the central chamber of Structure Ten is proceeding well.

Once this is complete, more infill and rubble collapse within the chamber can then be removed. Everyone on site is waiting, with bated breath to see what this may reveal – more of the hearth; refinement of the dresser/altar and perhaps the long-anticipated position of the entrance that has so far eluded detection.

The robbed out nature of much of the walling defining the central chamber does not make the entrance’s location obvious. Logic dictates that the entrance should be opposite the dresser/altar, at the east end of the building, facing towards Maeshowe, but dealing with the Neolithic one can never be sure!


Picture ORCA
Dave and Antonia ponder a new stone artefact.

From the trenches . . .

Hi there everyone, my name is Emily and I’m a third year archaeology student at Cardiff University.

I’m here on the Ness of Brodgar, for the last four weeks of the excavation, as part of my assessed coursework. Last summer, I excavated at the Cairns, in South Ronaldsay, with Martin Carruthers. It was there that I fell in love with the Orkney Islands and, of course, the spectacular archaeology that they reveal. As a result I am back again this year.

This is only my second day at site and so far the archaeology has really impressed me. I spent my day taking back the midden fill layers around Structure Twelve, in Trench P, to reveal more stonework and plenty of burnt bone, pottery and many ambiguous rocks!

My best find today was a lovely pot rim, while the person next to me uncovered a decorated pot sherd. I am really enjoying the excavations so far and can already tell that I will be sad to leave when the time comes! The people here are very friendly with the supervisors always willing to help. There are people from all walks of life here, which is just great, and the large groups of visitors, arriving for tours twice a day, ensures there is never a dull, or lonely, moment on site.

Maeshowe Alignments
A Neolithic focal point?
Stone Age art
The Great Wall of Brodgar
The Ness of Brodgar
Orkney's World Heritage Site
The Ring of Brodgar
Archaeology around the Ness of Brodgar
The Standing Stones of Stenness
The Barnhouse Settlement
Orkney College Logo OIC Logo Leader Logo ERDF Lgo
Orkney Archaeology Society