It’s large, it’s Grooved Ware and now available to view as a 3D model

Applied cordons on one of the Structure Twelve pot sherds. (Ole Thoenies)

Applied cordons on one of the Structure Twelve pot sherds. (Ole Thoenies)

Dig Diary – Day Sixteen
Monday, July 19, 2021

We have a real treat for you today.

You will recall we told you last week about the very large Grooved Ware pot which Chris excavated outside the blocked-up north-west entrance to Structure Twelve.

That pot has been photographed so many times and oohed and aahed over by so many people that its ego should now be filling the portacabin which shelters it.

Today brought more pampering and a wonderful piece of advanced technology courtesy of Trench J supervisor Paul.

Just before the largest section of the vessel was lifted from the ground Paul took a series of photographs which he has turned into a stunning 3D model.

As you can see above, the model is interactive. You can move it around, up and down and view it from any angle. Information boxes give you lots of details and the textures of the interior surface of the pot are crystal clear.

Today is, of course, the beginning of a new excavation week and, while some diggers have departed, more have arrived.

Today we welcome Holly and Gianluca, both past and present post-graduate students at the UHI Archaeology Institute. And there was a special welcome for Dr Jo McKenzie, our very own micromorphologist.

Jo has been working at the Ness for years, and if you would like details of her fascinating work they can be found in our major interim volume, The Ness of Brodgar: As it Stands, p. 150 ff, available online and from the on-site shop for the duration of the 2021 excavation.

Dr Jo McKenzie, our micromorphologist, at work on one of the hearth in Structure Eight in 2019. (Jo Bourne)

Dr Jo McKenzie, our micromorphologist, at work on one of the hearth in Structure Eight in 2019. (Jo Bourne)

And in Structure Twelve today with supervisor Jim Rylatt discussing sampling strategies. (Sigurd Towrie)

And in Structure Twelve today with supervisor Jim Rylatt discussing sampling locations. (Sigurd Towrie)

The north-western recess to Structure Twelve, with its blocked former entrance, will be the first location sampled and analysed by micromorphologist Jo. (Sigurd Towrie)

Structure Twelve’s north-western corner recess, with its blocked former entrance, will be the first location sampled and analysed by micromorphologist Jo. (Sigurd Towrie)

Jo has been discussing with Structure Twelve supervisor, Jim, the location of potential targets for her analyses, and one of the first will be the area just inside the blocked north-west entrance.

She will be able to sample and analyse the in situ deposits there which are associated with the entrance before it was blocked and made into a recess.

Also in Structure Twelve, Clare is investigating the variety of ashy dumps on the north-west side of the structure.

These are associated, we believe, with a technique for slow-cooking of food, and she will be able to assess the patches of black-coloured material where it is thought that pots were placed for the cooking process.

Just to the north of Clare, Sigurd has a massive task excavating the many-layered deposits in the vicinity of the suspected drain collapse area and which lie right across much of the northern end of the building interior.

In the north end of Structure Twelve, looking towards the north-western recess and blocked primary phase entrance. (Sigurd Towrie)

In the north end of Structure Twelve, looking towards the north-western recess and blocked primary phase entrance. (Sigurd Towrie)

In order to keep this large area of deposits in phase (in other words, keeping them all in strict relation one to the other) he will have to move backwards and forwards across the area. He will also clarify how the features in the north end, the drain, the boxes and other elements, relate to each other.

Only when this has been done will it be feasible to examine the interior of the drain.

We all want to see what is down there, of course, but it may be next year before the opportunity arises.

Mark in the entrance annex to Structure Ten, investigating its predecessor, Structure Twenty. (Sigurd Towrie)

Mark in the entrance annex to Structure Ten, investigating its predecessor, Structure Twenty. (Sigurd Towrie)

Over in Structure Ten, Mark continues to excavate his sondage in the area of the forecourt of the building.

A sondage is a carefully excavated, deep “hole” which is employed rarely and usually only when specific questions must be addressed.

In this case, Mark is hoping for some dating evidence for Structure Twenty, which is under Structure Ten, but he has encountered serious difficulties. The sondage was half-sectioned (only half of the area will be excavated) and this has obviously reduced the area available.

But as he has excavated he has discovered that the walls of Structure Twenty have slumped towards each together, creating a sort of stepped feature which is hindering progress and further reducing the area which can be sampled. If anyone can sort this out, Mark can!

The Structure Ten team is also engaged in planning and dealing with lots of small features which have been visible for some time but which have remained in place in order to preserve them in their correct sequence. Once removed the floors will be clarified.

The blocked south-eastern entrance to Structure Five. (Sigurd Towrie)

The blocked south-eastern entrance to Structure Five. (Sigurd Towrie)

Structure Five's blocked western entrance. (Sigurd Towrie)

Structure Five’s blocked western entrance. (Sigurd Towrie)

In Structure Five, within Trench J, Chris Gee has arrived back on site and he and Ray are removing more of the rubble in the interior of the building.

The Structure Five outer wall face is now looking much clearer to the south-west of the blocked entrance and Paul thinks it may be the primary wall. It still has that irritating “kink” which so far remains unexplained.

Colin and Peter are working to remove the remains of the Structure Thirty-Two wall which lies over Structure Five and, in a section outside the east wall, Travis is investigating a new area which, given his truffle-hound nose for pottery, might just yield more sherds.

We will tell you more tomorrow.

Structure Five's western wall. (Sigurd Towrie)

Structure Five’s western wall. (Sigurd Towrie)

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