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Wednesday, July 30, 2008
(Previous entries available here)

Welcome to day 8 at the Ness of Brodgar Archaeological Excavation. 

Picture: ORCA
Claire digging round anew hearth within the late ashy fills in Trench J.

My name is Carla Cassidy and I graduated from the University of Leicester with an honors degree in Archaeology in July 2007.

I moved to Orkney with my two kids (say hi to Bridey next time you’re in Argo’s in Stromness!) in January 2008, and am the FOAT bursary student for 2008 - studying at Orkney College UHI for MA Archaeological Practice. 

Picture: ORCA
Gavin removing fills from the ditch associated with the "Great Wall of Brodgar".

I have been on a fair few excavations, but this is one of the best for me – I love all things Neolithic so this site is a real treat. It’s wonderful to be digging on a site of this significance, we’re right between the Ring of Brodgar and the Stones of Stenness and driving to work of a morning seems a little surreal.

Architecturally, we have something quite outstanding, namely the "Great Wall of Brodgar". Gavin tells me today that they (in Trench N) are guesstimating the ditch to be at least 8-10m wide.

Some of the finds have been really encouraging too, we have the by now-famous polished stone axe (yes Johnny, you did mention that you found it) and some lovely decorated stones, not to mention all the sherds of Grooved Ware that are turning up by the minute. 

I have been working in Structure 1, which is looking more and more like Structure 2 over at the Barnhouse Settlement.

The place is huge and we’re now realising how high up there with a lot of archaeology beneath us. We’re making some great progress.

Initially, we found that the structure had a rubble covering that might be due to a collapse; there is evidence that this building was being used after the collapse too, possibly in the early Bronze Age, also a later, curvilinear wall had been added to almost de-size the interior, we can follow this around too and it’s really quite extensive.

Picture: ORCA
Ray investigating the outer revetment of Structure 1.

Now that we’ve taken off some of the rubble from inside Structure 1, we can see that we might have a second entrance, so this building looks set to equal the significance of the Barnhouse Structure 2 - but more on this as the excavation moves forward.

Taking down the rubble we have come to the top of what appears to be an alcove but it’ll be some time before we can have a closer look.

We’ve pretty much been leveling off in there and working back towards the entrance which has been deliberately blocked off, and now, we’re taking the whole interior down another level.

Picture: ORCA
Johnny, Paulo and Dan removing material from inside Structure 1.

An awful lot of burnt bone has come out of the mix within Structure 1, but not a great deal of pottery as yet…we live in hope. I don’t think we can say too much more about Structure 1 until we get the place leveled off a bit and do some planning…so watch this space.

Meanwhile, the Ness of Brodgar is beginning to give up some of its secrets and is changing everyday. We have tours around the site at 11.00am and 3pm daily and they’re given by the archaeologists who are digging here, we’d love to see you here and tell you more so come along.

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