Archaeology The Cairns

The Cairns – June 14th

Today we began excavation work in earnest. The main body of diggers spent the day reducing the overburden in the new extension, Trench Q.

The carved stone ring.

Quite rapidly, some fairly substantial stone work emerged, with the look of nice, in situ structural pieces.

Almost with the first trowel stroke one of our volunteer diggers John found a lovely piece of a carved stone ring made from cannel coal or lignite, or perhaps even jet.

It was a lovely little item and probably too small to represent a bangle, but maybe a pendant or a hair decoration. Almost certainly something worn on the person.

Section of the outer ditch surrounding the settlement.

Over in the broch, Becky and her team got going with excavating some of the collapsed rubble from small walls inside the broch, which will ultimately reveal more floor deposits underneath for us to investigate.

Meanwhile, in Trench M, where all the metalworking has come from in the last two seasons, supervisor Mic had some quiet time to himself to ponder the features again and plan for receiving a group of diggers who will help him understand this complex, but very rewarding, area.

We have a furnace to excavate and hopefully understand its workings, as well as the great outer ditch present in this trench to finish excavating.

I’m pretty sure there will be more amazing moulds for casting bronze pins and brooches to add to the catalogue of over sixty found here so far, waiting to be discovered this year.

Thanks to Sigurd Towrie and the Orkneyjar site