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Tuesday, July 20, 2010
(Day 2)


Day 2, and the initial momentum continues. Nick and his supervisors (Antonia, Dan, Martin, Dave, Gavin, Andy and Owen) are refining the dig strategy and discussing, in detail, some of the objectives and finer points of this year's excavation.

These include:

  • The continued removal of infill and collapse from within Structure Eight (hopefully to reveal floor layers in at least part of this building).
  • The refinement of the inner chamber of Structure Ten and the revealing of floor deposits.
  • The investigation of the oval structure within one of the later phases of Structure One;
  • The further excavation of the ashy floor deposits within the later Structure Seven;
  • Revealing of the construction levels of the "Lesser Wall of Brodgar" (anticipation is high as to what height the wall will have survived to).
Picture ORCA
Work begins on the interior of Structure One.
Picture ORCA
Cleaning in the central chamber of Structure Ten being filmed by the BBC


The BBC arrived today to start filming the dig as a "special" for their new television series History of Ancient Britain.

They will be filming for a few days this week and then joining us again on several occasions during the course of the excavation to see how it develops.

Our final site huts also arrived today, so our encampment is now complete – a new finds hut for Ann, our finds supervisor, and Marion, her assistant, and a beautifully constructed-wooden hut (very kindly donated by Beedies Sheds of South Ronaldsay) for the promotion and to raise funds for the Orkney Archaeology Society.

A view from the trenches . . .

Chris Stewart-Moffitt. Age 64.
Retired. From the Isle of Bute, Scotland.

First year student studying Archaeology and Ancient History with Leicester University [distance learning] and here for excavation experience. The site is in an amazing location, on a narrow spit of land between two lochs, you are surrounded by water and sky — this is what Neolithic is all about; they certainly chose an amazing place to live.

After yesterday, moving the bags of soil, rock and plastic sheet put over the site to protect it; I thought I would not manage another day, however here I am again and really enjoying it.

Today we have finished cleaning up last year’s excavation after the winter and have started stripping back a new area to the south-west of Trench P.

The grass and some topsoil have already been mechanically stripped and our job now is to strip the rest more carefully by hand. We are currently exposing what looks like a wall feature (possibly the other end of StructureEight or perhaps yet a totally new building) but I’m no expert so will just keep on digging and let the experts decide.

Where we are working it is mostly light brown top soil with a lighter brown at the level of the supposed walling. The top level of soil is quite compact and it is easier to strip it off with a spade, when you come to the stones you can feel them against the spade and at that point you know to stop and start using a trowel.

No finds in my area unfortunately [apart from soil and stones] but then it’s only day two and there are plenty more to go.

Picture ORCA
New walls being revealed in the south-west extension of Trench P.


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
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Orkney Archaeology Society