Dig Diary – Eighteen’s entrance discovered as specialists gather on site
Friday, July 14, 2023
Week two ended on an exciting note, with a site visit from most of the specialists involved in the Ness of Brodgar project.
We have experts covering every specialism under the sun – dating, stone tools, pottery, isotopes, DNA and many, many more.
All have arrived in Orkney for a weekend of discussions on our plans for the next phase of post-excavation and publication.
Most had been on site before but a few newcomers were left dumbfounded by the archaeology, admittedly looking glorious bathed in this afternoon’s sunshine.
Further group discussions take place tomorrow, looking specifically at publication and what we all want to see completed by the end of 2024.
Not wanting to waste any time after today’s meeting, our archaeomagnetic specialist, Cathy Batt, jumped into Structure Five to sample a later, floating hearth at the building’s south end.
She also double-checked we had all the other hearth samples, in particular the later examples in Structure Eight, which can now be removed.
In Eight’s northern end, XRF (X-Ray Fluorescence) samples were taken from the material below the flagging within the entrance.
XRF is a non-destructive analytical technique used to determine the elemental composition of materials.
A major discovery today was the location of Structure Eighteen’s entrance.
Regular readers will know Eighteen is one of two buildings underlying Structure Eight, in this case at the northern end of the later construction.
The entrance was in Eighteen’s eastern recess. It is still being revealed but it is possible that – like Structure Eight – it was originally much wider and has been narrowed.
One of the slabs in the recess also had very fine incised decoration – something for our Neolithic art expert, Dr Antonia Thomas, when she’s back on site next week.
In the south end of Structure Eight, Kristina finished planning the floor deposits and Nick and Alice spent a while discussing a strategy for the removal of the rest of the levelling layer between Eight and Seventeen.
A quick update from Structure Ten. Readers will recall that on Wednesday we thought we had a series of small post-holes under the building’s second-phase north-eastern buttress.
Further investigation has shown this not to be the case. You can’t win them all!
As is normal for the Ness, the paving doesn’t seem to continue around Twenty-Six, as we expected, but may be heading off in the direction of Structure Ten!
The discovery of the holed orthostat outside Twenty-Six yesterday, prompted site director Nick to reintroduce the two main fragments of the huge, holed standing stone in the forecourt of Structure Ten.
This will be done again next week for more photography and the creation of a 3d model.
Supervisors Jim Rylatt and Rick Barton will be back and among the new batch of diggers will be students from Willamette University, Oregon, USA.
It’s all go!
Have a good weekend and we’ll see you on Monday.