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Friday, August 21, 2009
(Previous entries available here)

Day 25 on the Ness of Brodgar excavation site, and for the first time this week it has been beautifully, gloriously, wonderfully dry! 

My name is Christa, and I’m sure you must be sick of me by now given this is my third entry. 

Having been on site for the last five weeks, I am still amazed, and astounded, by just what a remarkable site we have here, and very aware of just what a privilege it is to work here.  I can’t quite believe its day 25, and I only have five more days on site.  In some ways it seems like my time here has gone incredibly fast (almost too fast), but in others it seems like I’ve been here forever. 

Picture ORCA
Detail of prone broken standing stone incorporated into the walls of Structure 10.

Today’s beautiful weather has meant that we’ve really been able to crack on with the work that was delayed by rain earlier in the week. All of the surfaces are being cleaned back to a photographic finish, a light skim taken off the surface to reveal all the different colours and textures of the contexts exposed.

Throughout the day, various members of the site team have been atop ladders while the rest of us of us, still firmly back on earth, run around positioning ranging rods and standing in odd positions to create just the right amount of shade for the photographs. 

Elsewhere, the big trench is strung with tapes and lines to mark out planning grids, as we undertake the massive task of planning the entire site before we put it to bed for the winter, at the end of next week. In Trench R, over the fence, digging has finished and all the paperwork is going "according to plan".

Picture ORCA
Grace lifting the decorated slab she discovered.

Considering today’s work has mostly been cleaning and photographing, we’ve had some really nice finds.

Owen has uncovered a beautiful polished stone implement, probably a knife or an axe, in his area of ashy dumps outside the potential blocked off entrance to Structure 1. As I write this, Cecily has just appeared from Structure 7 with a beautiful incised paving slab.  Yet another fantastic find from a site that seems to want to surprise us every day, and another one to add to Cecily’s list after she found a lovely flint tool this morning.  

Picture ORCA
Martin Carruthers discusses details of Structure 1 with Cecily and Tricia.

As we only have one more week on site, things are getting a mite frantic as we race to get everything done and finished.

Today’s weather has been a blessing, as we’ve been able to get an awful lot done, with more to be done on Sunday.  Hopefully, all you lovely blog readers will be coming to visit us on Sunday, any time between noon and 4pm, for our open day. As we’re open on Sunday, the site will be closed for the day on Monday, but will be open for business (and tours) as usual on Tuesday.

Picture ORCA
Owen with his polished stone axe.

Wednesday will be the last day for tours of the site, so if you’ve not seen it yet then now is the time!  We look forward to seeing you here.

If, however, any would wish to contribute labour to the site we are looking for help with putting the site to ‘bed’ for the winter – we have to fill hundreds of sandbags with spoil from the site to help protect and support the structures – so if anyone out there would like to help with this necessary, but slightly less glamorous, aspect of archaeology but at the same time contributing greatly to its survival please come along on either Tuesday or Wednesday next week – hope to see you then!

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