Dig Diary – Rain, post-holes and more of the ‘Great Wall’
Tuesday, July 11, 2023
All good things come to an end.
For us it was the spell of good weather. As such, this is a slightly shorter than usual diary entry.
Day seven dawned wet and grey, the persistent rain and wind seeing the start of excavation postponed until 11am.
Conditions improved somewhat during the day, the drier periods punctuated with squalls of drenching drizzle blowing in from the north-east.
Despite the conditions, progress was made across the site.
As the UHI Archaeology Institute students, aided and instructed by ORCA’s Kevin Kerr, work their way down through the trench, we will see whether the height of the wallhead is entirely due to the rising slope of the ground surface, or whether the wall section does stands taller.
In Structure Five, between showers, Chris began sampling the floor of the southern section, while Claire continued excavating the “dresser” to the north of the south-eastern entrance.
Soil sampling was also the order of the day in Five’s northern extension, where Nate and Sarah continued this painstaking task.
These may have held a screen, or partition, that separated the building’s northern and southern sections.
This partition seems to have been the predecessor of the curving wall built across the building (and directly on top of the post-holes) in the building’s second phase.
The post-holes so far cut through the building’s primary occupation layers, suggesting they were a much later addition — probably inserted at the end of the first phase of activity.
In Structure Twelve, the cleaning continued and the building’s floors are once again looking lovely with the different colours coming through.
Among the visitors braving the elements today were Professor Niall Sharples of Cardiff University and our stone tools specialist Ann Clarke.
Ann is on site for a few days in advance of the Ness of Brodgar specialists meeting taking place on Friday and Saturday. She will be looking at the worked stone from the site, in particular some of the large pieces, which she will complete cataloguing this week.
With site director Nick Card on site, as well as Professor Mark Edmonds, it was something of a reunion. They, along with Ann Clarke and Niall Sharples were all products of the Artefact Research Unit in Edinburgh!
As I write today’s diary, the sky is beginning to look much less ominous, although I’m not holding out for a return to sunny conditions tomorrow.
But as long as the rain holds off, digging will continue.