Dig Diary – Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Day Thirty-Seven

Plans, pics and 3D models…

Figure 1: One of the two beautiful pieces of pottery recovered from Structure Thirty today.
Figure 1: One of the two beautiful pieces of pottery recovered from Structure Thirty today.

It’s a sobering thought, but after today there is just one more excavation day left.

What do we do with it? Well, we keep excavating although, as today, a good deal of effort goes into the essential work of tying up final plans, photos and 3D models.

 In the finds hut there is a sort of organised chaos as the finds which have been logged and dried are carefully boxed for storing and eventual post-excavation analysis, while all the time new and very wet finds come through the door.

The source of much new material today is the area above Structure Thirty, where the youngsters of the Excavation Club excavated in the layers immediately below the turf.

The second decorated pot sherd found in Structure Thirty today.
The second decorated pot sherd found in Structure Thirty today.

Today our diggers, while cleaning the area, took the opportunity to go a little deeper and immediately encountered masses of Grooved Ware pottery.

Figure 1 shows a large sherd from a big vessel, which has false relief decoration incised into its exterior surface, together with circular impressions.

The mention of 3D models (above) brings to mind the tremendous work done by Jim Bright, our photogrammetry expert, and Mark Newton, who produces wonderful physical 3D models from his printer.

The example shown here is the very first completed physical 3-D model of our main Trench P, reproduced in detail through Jim’s images and Mark’s expertise with the 3D printer.

There is clearly huge potential in their work and we look forward to more of it next year, especially as Mark now has a bigger and even more impressive 3-D printer.

We had large numbers of visitors today as holidaymakers in Orkney took almost the last chance to see the site.

Jim and Mark's superb 3D model of Trench P.
Jim and Mark’s superb 3D model of Trench P.

We will, of course, be open and have tours tomorrow.

Apart from public visitors, we had several special ones as well. Professor Mark Edmonds, returned from holiday and was astonished at how far the site had progresses in his absence.

We were delighted to see and welcome back a long-term supporter of the Ness from Germany. Charlotte Eberl has visited many times and was given a special tour by site director Nick.

We were also visited by a team of Irish film makers who are working for the Smithsonian Channel in the US.

They filmed with their large, high-tech drone and seemed remarkably happy given that they have been on the road filming for the last five months and more.

Their cheeriness may be linked to their return home next week.

Work to start covering the buildings for winter began in earnest this afternoon with Structure Ten.
Work to start covering the buildings for winter began in earnest this afternoon with Structure Ten.

We particularly want to wish the very best to our own “rock lady”, Martha Johnson, who will have the viva for her PhD thesis on Friday.

Martha has worked at the Ness for several years now, particularly in her capacity as a geologist.

Her thesis is, we consider, a remarkable piece of work and her examiners on Friday will be the eminent (both of them) Professors Colin Richards of the University of the Highlands and Islands and Gabriel Cooney from Dublin. Good luck Martha!

Our last diary of the season will be tomorrow.

Until then…


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