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Friday, July 11
(Previous entries available here)

AntoniaHello! Antonia here, one of the team from Orkney College who is working on the site.

I will be supervising Trench C during these excavations, whilst Bob Nunn, from Bournemouth University, will be supervising Trench A, at the north of the site.

For the time being, however, we are all working away in Trench C (the southernmost trench), in order to make the most of the earth-moving conveyor belt before it is moved over to Bob’s trench next week.

We have spent most of the week so far deturfing the steep slopes in Trench C, which has been quite difficult with all the heather and roots!

Everyone has worked really hard, especially the Manchester students Matt, Ruth, Sam and Seamus.

We will be carefully reinstating all the turf and the heather after the dig is finished, so are taking care not to damage any of the vegetation.

The line of the trench from the 1970s excavations, which were directed by Colin Renfrew, was clearly visible when we cleaned away the turf and the topsoil (see top picture here) and we soon saw how shallow the soil was in some places.

Now we have started cleaning away the backfill from Renfrew’s trench and the loose topsoil, we can see the beautiful, cut bedrock underneath and we are really starting to get a feel for the massive ditch that surrounds the amazing Ring of Brodgar.

It is hard to imagine the huge social effort and hard work that would have gone into excavating this monumental ditch in the Neolithic, using only tools that were made from stone, wood or antler.

I still can’t quite believe that this is real and that we are actually digging at the Ring of Brodgar - it’s like a dream come true!

We are going to be having a rest this weekend, to ease our aching muscles, but we will be back with renewed vigour next week to get started on deturfing Bob’s trench and to get one step further to unravelling the secrets of this enigmatic site.

Check back regularly for updates on what we have found!

Click here for more photographs of the site today.

Antonia Thomas

The Ring of Brodgar
The Ness of Brodgar
Orkney's World Heritage Site
Archaeology around the Ness of Brodgar
The Standing Stones of Stenness
Rethinking the great stone circles of Northwest Britain - a paper by Dr Colin Richards