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Tuesday, July 31
(Previous entries available here)


My name is Nuala Marshall [and that’s Noo-la for anyone who is unsure ] and I’m an archaeologist studying for my Post Grad Diploma up here at Orkney College along with the other diary writers who have come before me! 

One of the main things that attracted me to doing the course up here, was the fact that I would have the opportunity to excavate on Orkney – a place that practically wherever you turn there is archaeology. So like everyone else has reported…I am glad to be here at the Ness of Brodgar and part of the amazing excavation that is happening at the moment. 

I returned to site this morning after a few days away at home in Glasgow, so I was looking forward to coming back and seeing what I had missed whilst I was away

I was glad that not too much had changed since there had been quite a bit of planning going on the days I was away, but now that that has been done, its back to concentrating on areas and taking down the soils even more to reveal more fantastic archaeology.

The excitement for today came from trench J, where Paul uncovered an incised stone slab.

It is thought that it may be part of the same slab that was found last year in the same area. It is a great find! The smaller slot trenches are coming along as well, still many questions surrounding them but the deeper they go the clearer they will become…hopefully!

What doesn’t seem to be clear so far is what we were looking for in those trenches which was what the geophysics suggested might be a continuation of the large wall in trench J, but you never know…it might be still in there!

I just took a quick walk up to trench M and N and in trench N a wall face has now been revealed with some rubble up against it…so that wall might exist there after all! 

As for the ‘big trench’ where I’m working, the Neolithic buildings are slowly continuing to be uncovered.

As more soil is taken off, more wall edges are being revealed, although a bit more has to come off before we will be able to distinguish what are structural features and what is stray rubble. The finds seems to be consistent, mainly pottery and an abundance of burnt bone. In fact at one point, as I was trowelling back in the area were the structure that GUARD excavated is, every couple of trowels was revealing more burnt bone – there is a lot of it…what this means, I am unsure as yet!! 

We continue to have many visitors to the site and now us students are giving the tours in the morning…so feel free to come to the afternoon tours !!

Everyone mentions the weather so I feel I can’t neglect that…it’s raining as I write this…for a change…but I’m sure we’ll all survive it! All in all I’m quite enjoying being here, it’s a great experience for us all no matter what experiences we have had with archaeology in the past or will do in the future. 

Stay tuned for more news from Brodgar and if you have some spare time come along for a site tour!

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