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Thursday, July 22, 2010
(Day 4)


Greetings again from the Ness of Brodgar – the wind has dropped and it feels more like summer again today so work goes on apace.

As more walls are revealed in the new extension, Structure Twelve appears to have elements in common with Structures One and Eight – yet another hybrid building.

Its outer wall construction seems to reflect Structure One, but its tapered piers are similar to Structure Eighrt, though on a larger scale. Unfortunately, like Structure Ten some of its walls may have been robbed out in prehistory but will hopefully survive at a lower level.

STOP PRESS! While removing some substantial rubble from within the southern recess of Structure One, some new "art" was discovered by Martin.

This is unlike anything else we have seen in this structure as it is pecked, rather than incised. Up until now, all the pecked motifs seem to have been associated with Structure Ten. Although not clear, there are several lines and inverted "U" shapes.

Picture ORCA
The "new" decorated stone from Structure One.


Meanwhile, in Structure Eight, work to remove the deposits and collapse within the recesses is progressing well. This has revealed a rather curious hole in one of the upright slabs that separates the recess from the main interior space of the building.

We need to remove more rubble to see if this is a complete circular hole or just a very substantial notch in the bottom of the slab.

Picture ORCA
Excavation within the central chamber of Structure Ten.


Billy has continued his work within the recess in the annex to Structure Ten. The bone deposit initially revealed by the removal of the capping slab has now revealed a more intriguing feature.

Under the bone is a circular feature that may represent the remains of a decayed organic container. What will it contain? Only time and some very skillful excavation will tell.

Although this is only the end of the fourth day on site, already we are seeing substantial changes as work seems to speed up as the team get back into full swing – so do visit us Before the site changes completely!

Picture ORCA
Excavation director Nick Card being filmed for the new
BBC television series History of Ancient Britain


From the trench frontline. . .

George Withers, student, University of Hull.

Work started today with the continuation of the cleaning back of the most recently extended trench towards the south-west of the excavation, where it was decided that, after the area was photographed, the layer would be taken down another 3-5cm to see if the suspected wall can be picked up running to the south.

From the area being excavated, it is hoped that we can find the western limit of Structure Eight and therefore establish some idea of the general shape of the structure and also as to whether this structure remained the same throughout the Neolithic period and onwards.

Excavating the area itself is quite hard and very time consuming since the soil is very compact and much of it has to be removed from in and around the stones.

As a student going into the third year, working on a site like the Ness of Brodgar is an amazing chance as it really is completely in a league of its own - not only for its notoriety but also because of the wealth of finds and preservation that are present on a Neolithic site.

Compared to the other excavations that I have been on, the work that is being done here seems somewhat unreal because of the importance that this site holds in the whole of Western Europe. Although the work is difficult, it is a very enjoyable experience and is a rare chance to work on such an important site in archaeology. Today is my birthday and I chose to work on this site because it is an incredible opportunity and an experience that is well worth the effort.

In the new extension to Trench P, Owen’s "International" team - volunteers and students from Hull University, Holland, Canada, Scotland and America - are revealing yet more walls.

These seem to represent several phases of perhaps the same structure (Structure Twelve).  There seems to be a mixture of both angular and rounded walls that reflect elements of the other structures on site.

As more deposits are removed, the shape of the building seems to change by the hour – what will it turn out to be? Perhaps not the other end of Structure Eight as first envisaged but a totally new building. But who can tell as present – the new few days will be crucial.

Simon, the producer and director for the new BBC television series, History of Ancient Britain,moves unobtrusively about the site doing interviews with many of the team – can’t wait to see the end result.


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