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Wednesday, July 22, 2009
(Previous entries available here)

My name is Christa, and I’ve been trusted with today’s update from the excavation on the Ness of Brodgar. I’m an undergrad at Cardiff University - just finished my second year - and I’ve come up to Orkney to do my excavation module for my third year. 

Picture ORCA
Initial cleaning of the extension to reveal one of the corners, and possible further extent, of Structure 10

When I first heard that I was going to work on the Ness of Brodgar dig, I was bouncing up and down with excitement like a small child. Since arriving here, all I can say is that the site has totally lived up to my expectations, and then some.

The archaeological landscape in Orkney is so dense, and all wrapped up in a package with beautiful landscape and lovely people, so I’ve really landed on my feet.  It’s such a brilliant opportunity to learn and potentially make a brilliant find. And with the beautiful surroundings, it’s really hard to resent getting up so early for work.

Last night, I had my first experience of an Orkney sunset with "weather" coming in, and it was absolutely stunning. The forecast today was for rain in the morning, but we arrived on site to blue skies and sunshine.

Having broken through the day three pain barrier, we started where we left off yesterday, cleaning up the surface in Trench P and working back across the wall of Structure 10.  A few bits of bone, and what look like some teeth, have turned up, as well as a wee bit of worked flint, which was found this morning by one of the masters' students.

While we were working, a man with a JCB, came to extend the area covered by Trench P to expose, hopefully, more of Structure 8, with its parallel piers of stonework, and more of Structure 10.  With the top soil very skillfully stripped back by the digger, we moved in with mattocks, shovels, buckets and trowels and began to clean up.

The extension over Structure 8 is already showing potential wall lines and stonework, and a few pieces of decorated Grooved Ware pottery - even a fragment of stone axehead!  Its all very exciting stuff, and it just sort of reiterates the opportunity for study that this site presents. It might sound like a cliché, but at the end of every day I’m excited for what the next day will bring.

Picture ORCA
Extension to hopefully reveal the full extent of Structure 8.

As always I must put in a plug for the site tours.

At 11am and 3pm, either one of the site staff or the Historic Scotland World Heritage Site rangers will conduct a free tour around the excavation and an explanation of what we think is going on, and what exciting things are turning up.  We’re always happy to have visitors and will always have the energy to wave back, so if you come past the site give us a wave, we’ll be waiting.

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