Archaeology The Cairns

The Cairns Dig – June 13th

Martin Carruthers, Site Director for The Cairns, outlines the work that will be carried out over the next few weeks.

We will be doing more work inside the broch (Structure F) and getting further into the well-preserved floor deposits.We want to see what kinds of activities were going on inside and how these may have changed through time, especially as it’s likely that the broch was occupied for several centuries. We’d like to find out when it was built as well.

We will also be hoping to finally excavate the entire souterrain (the underground structure, Structure F) located over on the eastern side of the broch exterior.

We want to explore the early village that we think surrounds the broch and this season we have extended our main trench on the north side of the broch so that we can try to locate any village buildings located there.

We will also do some limited work on the late Iron Age (post-broch) village buildings to the west of the main trench.

Last, but certainly not least, we are going to continue to excavate the northern metalworking area contained in Trench M to try to establish more details of the amazing bronze jewellery production that we know was happening there during the Middle Iron Age.

Today was the first proper day of the project.

The weather was beautiful and sunny, with big, bright-blue skies above us and the shining sea in the bay below – altogether a very auspicious start to proceedings!

First day on site rarely involves us getting straight into actual excavation and today was no exception. We were very busy moving tyres, plastic sheeting and sand bags to uncover the last areas of the site to be exposed.

The team did great work in the heat(!), and we were soon in a position to uncover the interior of the broch and to let the floor and occupation deposits inside breathe after their winter-long interment under plastic.

We’re getting ourselves organised for the work ahead and all the members of the team will be reporting on our daily progress over the weeks.