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Thursday, August 2
(Previous entries available here)

Hello and good morning! 

I am Siobhan Cooke, and like everyone else writing this diary before me, I am a Masters student studying with Orkney College. There is one difference though – I am a native Orcadian! 

My reasons for studying archaeology up here are the same as everyone else’s – the archaeology is fantastic and is everywhere you look! 

Having grown up surrounded by the wonderful prehistoric sites Orkney has to offer, I have always been fascinated by archaeology – so the chance to excavate a site here is a privilege and very exciting – especially on a site as good as the Ness of Brodgar! 

We can’t not mention the weather…I have forgotten that sunshine existed!  Today (again) it is windy, a bit cold – its not even 9am and I have already seen a few rain showers… hopefully it will get better (preferably before the end of the excavation!).

You would have thought having grown up here that I would be used to the weather – its amazing how half an hour of sunshine can fool you into thinking its summer…

But despite the weather, we are all in good spirits and enjoying the dig! 

I have just returned to site after being ill with a lovely chest infection… but like a true Orcadian, I have returned to site with my antibiotics to get on with it (and also because I couldn’t bear to miss another day of the dig!). 

I was a bit worried that everything would have changed on site during my absence, and that I will have missed some beautiful finds, like the incised stone slab that Nuala mentioned in the last entry

Things on site are changing everyday, but there are still a lot of questions to be answered and archaeology to be uncovered.   

As there was no diary entry yesterday, I will fill you in on what went on. 

I was actually in the Finds Hut helping clean/catalogue and put away the lovely finds that have been coming in from the trenches. 

It was very windy, and I got to enjoy the view of my fellow students being blown about while I was nice and warm… 

There were some beautiful bits of pottery found, including a nice base fragment and also a very nice flint scraper.  I also heard a rumour that a fantastic bit of pipe was found… 

There is a lot of activity in all four trenches today.

It seems the main focus in the big trench is the wall and structure revealed by the GUARD excavation, where more soil is being removed to reveal more of the wall.  As with all archaeological excavations, there is also some planning going on and, before I was banished to the shed, photographs of the big trench were being taken, before work resumed. 

Don’t forget there are tours of the site every day while we are excavating – if you haven’t already been down to have a look then I strongly recommend you do.  If you have already been then come again, things change all the time! 

I can hear the rain hitting the roof now…doesn’t sound too good out there…the shed is looking better and better!  Unfortunately I have to sign off now and get back to digging…I am thinking Mud Bath.

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 Archaeological Trust
Orkney College
Historic Scotland