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Friday, August 8, 2008
(Previous entries available here)

STOP PRESS
Yet another decorated stone discovered
Picture ORCA

The newly-discovered inscibed stone from the extension to Trench P.
More details next week.

Hello, welcome to day 15 of the dig.

My name is Stewart Sanderson and I am a volunteer, who left school in Glasgow two months ago. I am going on to study the Ancient Near East at SOAS in London in September; so the Ness excavation was a great opportunity for me to gain experience in archaeology before starting my degree.

Although the Neolithic as a whole is not a period that I have read much about, or had many opportunities to study, being on such an amazing site has really made me interested in learning more about prehistory.

Picture ORCA
The extension to Trench P nears the completion of the initial clean.

I have been fascinated by the past from an early age, and vividly remember childhood trips to Orkney’s iconic monuments with my family. Both my parents took part in excavations when they were younger, and encouraged me to pursue my interest in archaeology and history by studying Latin outside school and taking part in digs in Glasgow over the past two summers.

The Ness of Brodgar has easily been the most interesting and significant dig that I have volunteered at, in such a beautiful location in the world famous Neolithic heart of Orkney. It has also been very exciting to hear professional archaeologists describing this as one of the best sites they have ever excavated. 

I began working in trench P, trowelling back onto the structures of the ancient village.

Picture ORCA
Yet more beautiful stonework is revealed in Structure 1.

Last week I helped to open a new trench, Q, which was located over the massive wall, but unfortunately had to be closed up again as the complexity of the overlying archaeology was felt could not be tackled without further expanding this trench.

Picture ORCA
Visitors at Trench N while Martin and Amanda take notes.

For the past few days, I've helped dig the new extension of trench P, which has so far yielded several lovely flints and both incised and applied decoration Grooved Ware style pottery, as well as stone walls and masses of rubble. It has been amazing to see the ancient houses and objects emerging from the soil, and imagining how the people who built this place lived. 

Taking part in the Ness of Brodgar excavation has been a truly memorable and enjoyable experience, with a really great group of people on the team and wonderful archaeology. I hope to come back next year and take part again, hopefully with a bit more knowledge of the Neolithic period and archaeology in general. 

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