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Tuesday, July 21, 2009
(Previous entries available here)

Day two and the temperature has soared - in relation to yesterday - so plenty of fluids were required.

My name is Morgan Clifford, postgraduate student from Orkney College, doing a masters in archaeological practice and it is my second day here at the Ness of Brodgar site.  Already I am beginning to take in the atmosphere of the place, enjoying 360 degree panoramic views from the slightly elevated narrow stretch of land between the Lochs of Stenness and Harray.

As a continuation from yesterday’s work (Monday), the remainder of the protective soil has since been removed from the north-west of the site, as well as any small soil and stone deposits that needed to be removed before the protective membrane could be taken off, exposing the archaeology for all to see.

Picture ORCA
Initial cleaning up of Structure One

In deeper parts of the trenches, and where masonry needed protecting and supporting, sand bags were removed especially from locations at both the southern entrance and the drain to the west of Structure One, where depths exceeded one metre.

By 11am, all staff were given a quick introduction to the site - what has been found in previous excavations as well as the overall objectives – as well as what we might expect to find on site over the next few months (general finds, additional understandings about the various structures within the trench, etc), but also the general goals for the summer: To find a relationship between the various structures in order to get a glimpse into the various stages of site occupation, how long the site may have been abandoned before it was reoccupied and the relationship of Structure 10 to others on the site as well as various comparisons to Structure two at the nearby Barnhouse settlement (approximately quarter of a mile south of Ness of Brodgar).

Picture ORCA
Initial cleaning of Structure 10, with one of its corners in the foreground.

By midday, we were ready to begin the general cosmetic cleaning of the site – cleaning the stones to make them more aesthetically pleasing and general top soil scraping to remove any crumbly material.

At 1.30pm, Nick Card inducted the staff on small finds procedures – how to record where they were found and, if possible, where necessary, that the item remain in situ for photography and/or conservation. So far, a possible Skaill knife and some flint flakes have been found in the north-west of Trench P.

Over the next few days we will learn more about the nature of the finds, so watch this space.

Tomorrow we should start digging in earnest – the whole team is fired up and can’t wait to discover what the site may throw up this season - no doubt we won’t be disappointed!     

  • Just a note to say that the site is free to access by all members of the public and there are parking facilities. Site tours start tomorrow, Wednesday, at 11am and 3pm. Visitors are free to come on site and view our progress and welcome to ask any questions.
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