Dig Diary – Major rethink over Structure Eight’s entrance
Friday, July 22, 2022
We have reached the end of week three.
It seems that time appears to go faster at the Ness than any other place, but that’s probably because we are enjoying ourselves so much.
We certainly enjoyed today, with nice sunny weather and the usual hordes of interested visitors.
Early on site were a team from Japanese television who are making an episode in a long-running series on UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
Site director Nick showed them around the trenches and structures and several of the finds, including stone tools, coloured pottery and our intriguing collection of Neolithic fingerprints on Grooved Ware pottery.
The TV team have not had the easiest of times on their Orkney trip as their luggage, including most of their camera equipment, disappeared on the flight from London.
Luckily, their cameraman always keeps one camera in hand luggage and a tripod was borrowed from an Orcadian cameraman.
They had a pleasant surprise at Trench T.
As the producer translated Nick’s information into Japanese for the director, a voice piped up from the trench in Japanese.
It was one of the Willamette students, who is doing a course in Japanese studies and who turns out to be, not just perfect at Japanese grammar but also in accent. Rare indeed.
In Structure Ten, Travis has finished planning and recording on the area to the north side of the structure’s interior. This complete, it meant the removal of one of the orthostats could go ahead.
As usual on such occasions, we had high hopes of something nice on the hidden side of the stone, perhaps some incised decoration.
It is even more usual to be disappointed.
And in this case, the orthostat does not have incised decoration but its hidden side is highly interesting. The stone has been fashioned into shape and appears to have had a previous life, perhaps as a section of paving. It may also have peck dressing.
The orthostat will be examined more closely next week and we will tell you what is discovered.
Not far away Kaehlin has extended the section line across the dresser-like arrangements on the west side of Structure Ten, while in Structure One Jenna continued to work on the floor layers while Andy paused her sondage to do some planning.
Meanwhile, in Structure Eight there has been considerable interest in the northern end of the building.
The structure’s sole entrance in the north end wall is incredibly narrow – particularly for a structure with one doorway – and was thought to relate to Structure Eight’s second phase.
However, it is now possible to see signs of rebuilding in that area and Jo, her team and Nick now think it is possible that the entrance in the original phase was much, much bigger.
Just back from that entrance, Ray’s work on an orthostatic box has shown that it is not, as originally thought, part of an extension to a now-missing pier. The box, which produced the incised art mentioned yesterday, now looks more likely to be part of an earlier phase altogether.
In addition, some of the oddities of the wall structure of Structure Eighteen (which runs under the north end of Structure Eight) suggests that the earlier building had an entrance to the east of its central pier, which is now partially hidden under Eight’s northern hearth.
Ray has also found a handsome stone pounder, which has been handled carefully with gloves and then wrapped in tinfoil. It will become part of the Chemarch project and analysed to discover what is was used for.
And now for a weekend of rest and recreation.
See you next week.