Tracing the path of Structure Thirty-Two
Dig Diary – Day Three
Wednesday, June 30, 2021
It’s just like old times. The sun is shining, visitors are thronging the site and the archaeology of the Ness is living up to the highest standards of excitement.
Today got off to a roaring start with a re-appraisal of the new Trench J geophysics by trench supervisor Paul Durdin.
This showed clearly that the slightly curving wall of Structure 32, which sits in the trench on top of the older Structure Five, continues to curve outwards beyond the trench edge.
The geophysics hints that it carries on, then turns back on itself revealing the probable outline of an oval building with the vestiges of what is likely a structural pier. It looks very similar to other smaller piered buildings like Structures Seventeen, Eighteen and Twenty-Eight.
Paul also noted that a section of walling revealed in 2008, in Trench M, could also be part of this building.
It has been decided to make a small extension to part of Trench J in order to uncover more of Structure Thirty-Two and clarify its nature, while also revealing more of the north-west side wall of Structure Five.
Trench J is also seeing more work, giving it a good clean, removing more of the infill and thereby understanding better the phasing of this remarkable building.
Structure Ten is also looking marvellous and supervisor Sinead has set a trowelling line across the floor to give it a further very gentle clean.
This will undoubtedly reveal more of the extraordinary complexity of the Structure Ten floors where it is all to easy to mistake potential features with the many areas where the floors have been patched and repaired.
These later Neolithic repairs were necessary because, like the other buildings on site, Structure Ten was built on top of earlier buildings and, as a result, was prone to slumping and collapse.
Nick believes there may be as many as three older buildings underneath Structure Ten, including Structure Twenty, although whether we will ever have the time (and money) to see these is doubtful.
We were delighted to see lots of visitors turning up on site throughout the day. We had worried that the omission of tours, for Covid reasons, might have deterred some folk, but this is clearly not the case.
We talked to some of the visitors who walked over our one-way system with many new information boards, some with QR coding for use with mobile phones.
Gail and David, from Dundee, were enthusiastic and happy that the site was open at all.
They were amazed at the numbers of cattle represented by bones around Structure Ten and thought the QR codes across the site was an excellent idea.
These codes allows visitors to link directly to the relevant parts of our website for more information.
Christine, from Fortrose, had bought the site guidebook and appreciated the work done to open the site and provide visitor information.
She, too, loved the new information boards, while Julia and Tony, from the Yorkshire Dales, were just grateful that the site was open at all, given the times we are all enduring.
We are so happy with these comments and look forward to welcoming many more visitors in the days and weeks to come.