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Monday, August 17, 2009
(Previous entries available here)

When an e-mail was forwarded from Nick Card to members of NOSAS (North of Scotland Archaeological Society) in February, offering a few places for volunteers at the Ness of Brodgar excavation, I couldn’t believe my luck – a fortnight in Orkney, in August, and a chance to dig on a fantastic Neolithic site.

My name is Christine Yuill and this is the start of my second week.

Picture ORCA
The central chamber in Structure 10, with ranging poles indicating its cruciform shape and where walls have been robbed.
Picture ORCA
Jonny and Christine recording sections in 'standing stone corner'.

Fortunately today the weather has improved – on Friday afternoon the pencil lines on my section drawing were being washed off the page and the trench was turning into a mud bath.  At least the weekend break allowed us, and our clothes, to dry out. 

Picture ORCA
New fragment of potential macehead.

Picture: ORCATricia in the south recess of Structure 1.

For any visitors to Orkney – never believe any national forecast because the islands have their own little climate!  Today, the number of diggers has reduced as some students have completed a four week stint and either headed home or moved on to another dig.

Looking back at previous entries, and therefore earlier photographs, I can see why we have a new wall on one edge of the site. Huge amounts of stone have been removed and the rewards of all this hard work have been stunning. Walls, paved areas and structures have appeared. 

Having helped out in the finds hut, it has been fantastic to see all the artefacts that have been uncovered, although there did seem to be an excessive amount of cattle bone thanks to Chris and Paul who were working in Structure 10.

They also found several Skaill knives and today a mini version has been found in another trench. A fragment of a mace head has also discovered. Today more bone is turning up in large quantities in Micke’s trench.

As the end of the dig approaches, some areas are being closed down so drawing boards have appeared for section drawings and planning.

Today, photos were taken from a camera mast – a camera fixed to 45 ft. pole and connected to a computer so that pictures can be taken by remote control.  Andy is also photographing all the incised stones.

As usual we have a large number of visitors of many nationalities coming to visit the site. 

The regular tours take place at 11am and 3pm, Monday to Friday, but this Sunday, 23rd August, the excavation site will be open from 12noon to 4pm when regular tours will take place – do come if you haven’t visited already.

Picture ORCA
Orkney MA students Ali, Linda and Antonio happy in their work, in Structure 1.
Picture ORCA
View across the site from the camera mast today.
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