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Monday, July 30
(Previous entries available here)

Picture Orkney Archaeological Trust
The meticulous work lifting the fragment of pottery found on site.

Hello from the very sunny and warm Ness of Brodgar excavations 2007! 

Ok, so saying it is very sunny would be lying, and it is anything but warm! I would bet on seeing a snowflake or two rather than a raindrop on a day like today. 

Not the best weather to be greeted with on a Monday morning, but we all discovered early on that you have to be prepared for the unknown, and there is nothing more unknown than the weather in Orkney from day to day! 

My name is Shannon McDonnell and I am also a Masters student studying at Orkney College.

I am from Nova Scotia, Canada, as was my good friend Janine who updated you all on Friday about the goings on here on site.  Like Janine, it was hard to pass up an opportunity to dig in one of the best places for it. Not only does Orkney have some of the best examples of prehistoric archaeology in the world, but it also does not hurt to work with some of the friendliest instructors I have ever had. It makes for the long days on site that much more interesting.

Picture Orkney Archaeological Trust
Trench P - the "Big Trench" - in all its glory with the whole structure just about visible through a morass of later collapse, reuse, alterations and additions.
Click here
for a larger view.

Week three has come very quickly for us, as we all knew it would. 

It won’t be too long now until we are packing up our trowels after another successful field season, but the next three weeks will be the most exciting yet.  We will be able to take the soils down even lower and try to work our way to solving some of the mysteries we have been faced with here at the Ness on a daily basis.

As others have mentioned, we have been fortunate to find a number of interesting artefacts, but for me the most interesting aspect of the site so far is that which had begun to reveal itself on day three.

The beautiful structures in trench P (also known as ‘The Big Trench’, which just seems to be expanding as the weeks go by), more specifically, the structured wall that was revealed by GUARD in 2003 is a good example of what lies ahead of us in these next few weeks. 


Picture Orkney Archaeological Trust
Site planning in progress.

They were quick to see the similarities between the structure here at the Ness of Brodgar and that of House Two at Barnhouse.

This site could possibly be one of the most significant Neolithic sites on all of Orkney due to the prime location in regards to the other major sites that surround us; The Ring of Brodgar is within sight, Maeshowe can also be seen from the Ness, as well as the Stones of Stenness and the Neolithic village at Barnhouse which are both a stones throw away from our excavation. 

Using the data previously recorded from a geophysics survey and the information we have from this field season and previous years findings, I can tell you that the next three weeks here at the Ness of Brodgar will be anything less than predictable! 

Picture Orkney Archaeological Trust
A group of tourists during one of the two daily tours of the site.

Words and photographs can only do so much. 

Believe me, it was the stories, pictures and history that attracted me to Orkney, but it was the unbelievable feeling of seeing the archaeology of the island in person that really made me believe I have made the right decision to study in Orkney. 

If you can, we highly recommend making a visit to the site in order to take it all in!  

We promise to greet you with a smile and a wave, as well as an attempt to answer all of the questions we can. 

Stay tuned for daily updates from the site and keep a watchful eye on the last few days of the dig because they always seem to yield the most interesting finds which can be frustrating for the team but, in turn, it adds to the mysteries that have been unearthed thus far and leads into a strong beginning to the 2008 field season, which will no doubt include more excavations here at the Ness of Brodgar. 

Thanks for all of the visitors for the support!  It is on days like today, where we are closer to snow than sun, that we need it the most!

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