Dig Diary – Sunday, July 21, 2019

Day Fifteen

Chris exposing the possible wall of Structure Eighteen now visible in/coming through Structure Eight, while one of today’s continual guided tours takes place in the background. (Jo Bourne)

Definitely a ‘Special Sunday’

Neolithic ceramics specialist Dr Mike Copper preparing the fire for his demonstration of pottery firing on site this morning. (Sigurd Towrie)

Well, dear readers, that has been a truly marvellous day.

Almost 800 visitors attended the first of our “Special Sunday” open days and the sun itself even made an appearance!

Thank you to all who turned out for the tours and activities on site and in the Stenness School. All in all we can officially declare it a roaring success.

Huge thanks to all who contributed their time and amazing efforts to make the day such a success, both on site and at the Stenness School – and to all those who came through the gate.

While hundreds of visitors milled around the site, work in the trenches continued.

Today was the last day on site for Emily, from Michigan, USA.  But it was marked by a number of finds in Trench J, including pottery, flint and this animal bone. It’s in poor condition but we suspect it’s a jawbone – perhaps that of a sheep. (Sigurd Towrie)

But although digging continued, we’ve been too strapped for time to put together a full diary entry, so here’s a brief rundown of today’s major events.

Normal service will resume tomorrow.

In Trench J, the mid-section of Structure Five was carefully cleaned ready for recording and photography, while the later deposits above the western end continued to be removed.

Finds in this section included pottery, flint and animal bone – in particular what appears to be the jawbone of a sheep. Unfortunately, the teeth were missing and the bone’s poor condition makes initial identification difficult. We’ll know for sure after it is seen by our zooarchaeology specialist Dr Ingrid Mainland.

Structure Twenty-Six’s southern orthostat (the stone in the foreground) which we now know was an incredible 4.55 metres long! (Sigurd Towrie)

Meanwhile, perhaps the most exciting news comes from Trench T, where work on the southern orthostat within Structure Twenty-Seven is now confirmed to be 4.55 metres long (just under 15 feet).

The south-eastern orthostat (which is also very large) has also been partially exposed and work will continue on that tomorrow. Watch this space.

In Structure Eight, Alice cleaned the north-east recess to prepare for new volunteers tomorrow, who will continue sampling the primary floors in 50cm grid squares.

Sampling such as this has revealed the presence of micro-débitage in other areas, as analysed by Hugo. Chris finished sampling the grid squares over the possible wall, revealing the extent of the stonework between the northern-most hearth and recess, while Jo continued to plan the northern sector.

Now it’s time for some food. A gallery of images from today’s activities will follow later this evening.

Until tomorrow…