Dig Diary – Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Day Two

Rolling tyres to their summer storage place. (Paul Durdin)

Water, water everywhere…

A few of the standing pools of water in Structure Ten this afternoon. (Sigurd Towrie)

After the excitement and manual labour of day one, day two was just manual labour. There were tyres and sandbags to move and the swathes of protective covers had to be carefully removed from the trenches.

Although the weather was considerably kinder than yesterday, the brisk breeze and showers today made handling the covers tricky.

Work was also hampered by the numerous ankle-deep mini-lagoons of lying water dotted across Trench P. It has been a wet few months in Orkney and all this rainwater had pooled into numerous nooks and crannies.

This had to be carefully removed from the surface of the covers, in buckets, before they could be tackled – a job that slowed down the overall uncovering process because we can’t have gallons of water washing through the archaeological deposits.

Site director Nick installing one of our eleven new interpretation panels outside Structure Ten. (Sigurd Towrie)

That said, great progress was made, thanks to the sterling efforts of all involved. Around 80 per cent of the archaeology in Trench P is now exposed and the remained will be tackled tomorrow morning.

Trenches T, X and J are completely uncovered and work to clean them ahead to excavation will also begin tomorrow.

Elsewhere on site the artists’ and finds huts arrived on site today, ready for the excavation work to begin tomorrow. Work on the public viewing gallery is all but complete, ready for the many visitors we’re expecting this season.

Nick gives visitors from the UHI Art and Archaeology course a tour of the site. (Sigurd Towrie)

Although we only officially open to the public tomorrow, there was a steady stream of visitors today, who took advantage of our splendid new interpretation boards, which site director Nick and Jim Bright erected across the site today.

There are eleven new A1 boards explaining all aspects of the site and containing the most up-to-date information on the archaeology available.

Among the visitors was the season’s first official tour, when Nick welcomed students and lecturers from the University of the Highlands and Islands Art and Archaeology course.

The site gate opens officially tomorrow morning, with free tours at 11am, 1pm and 3pm. Pop past and say hello.

Now, for your diary writer, it’s time to wash off the grime, seek out dry clothes and rest the aching muscles he forgot he had a long time ago!

See you tomorrow.