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Wednesday, July 25
(Previous entries available here)

Picture Orkney Archaeological TrustMy name is Sandra Christen. I was born in the west of Germany, in a place called ‘The Eifel’, highly recommended by both Celts and Romans for its famous mineral water which originates in the volcanic structure of the area.

Being confronted with Geology, medieval history, roman and Celtic remains, my interests in these fields, especially volcanism, evolved since premier school.

Once I left school, I intended to become an archaeologist, but turned to be a restorer for almost three years.

Picture Orkney Archaeological TrustBut the earth sciences attracted me far too much and I intuitionally became a geophysicist and nuclear physicist while restoring stones and wall paintings at the same time.

The return of the archaeology as my main interest is obviously not a real surprise and I am finally facing what I always longed for:

An excavation.

Of all the wonderful places to study archaeology, Orkney is probably one of the best in Europe, along with Shetland, as these are so remote that civilization has not been able to destroy what’s been left in the soil.

Among plenty of Neolithic sites to research and write as well as wonder about, there is another feature that brought me here, which is the Underwater Archaeology that is being taught and excavated by Bobby Forbes, a well known man all over Scotland.

I’d love to combine all the tasks that I liked all my life which is the underwater world, the restoration as a creative and sensitive art, archaeology and sciences, respectively geophysical survey on archaeological sites. One day there might be the one place for me to be, where I can combine all these loves of mine.

Picture Orkney Archaeological TrustThat brings me right on site, as there is apparently a really great find to report, which was found in trench P, lying southeast of the others, being 20 x 20 m in size and covering a Neolithic complex that appears to be a site that looks similar to Barnhouse, especially house 2, which is so far believed to have been a workshop.

This preservative environment here, at the Ness of Brodgar is much better and we therefore expect to find a lot more pottery and in better states, as well as bone and other finds which will hopefully allow us, considering one of the buildings really turns out to be resembling Barnhouse No. 2, to interpret this type of building complex and maybe (this is, so far, pure speculation) there is a kiln and pottery involved, as nobody yet knows exactly, where the grooved ware that is scattered all over Britain, originally was produced, question: why not here.

Picture Orkney Archaeological TrustThen, yesterday, a large piece of pot was found near the northeastern end of trench P, probably outside an outer wall of a smaller building, adjacent to the larger structure.

The sherd is about 20 x 15cm large and its curvature suggests an approximate pot radius of 30 or more centimetres, which is relatively large. Of all the sherds I have seen in my live, this is the most wonderful.

The lines consist of a twin application of which one is a simple line of circular diameter shape, while the other one is a zigzag line that appears to have been applied as a line and then been worked into the zigzag form, using tools that are probably quite similar to the ones that are now used to remove the soil of it.

Of the three lines that can be seen on it, two are running horizontally in about 10 cm distance while the other one is running from the right bottom of the top line to the left top of the lower line. This is a very lucky find and everybody is really happy about it, as it appears to be complete and the zigzag is very fine, in the range of millimetres size.

Myself, I’m very happy with the pottery I found so far of which two sherds showed incised lines, inside and outside of the rim and I am currently finishing the area around a probable entrance to the main structure that contained lots of pottery sherds and some animal teeth.

The weather could be better but it just stopped raining, again, which is already fine for me, I don’t like too much sunshine.

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
Orkney Archaeological Trust
Orkney College
Historic Scotland