Archaeology The Cairns

The Cairns – June 15th

Day 3 starts on The Cairns site with the sun in the sky, but warnings of wet weather on the way. Becky Rennell, Site Supervisor writes…..

Carolina digging in the 20th century pit.

“It already feels as if we’ve made HUGE headway in terms of our understanding of the site and many new, exciting discoveries. And after weeks of marking and exam boards, to be honest, it’s great to be back on site!

Today, we were very fortunate to have visitors from the UHI’s Educational Development Unit, who are developing a Virtual Archaeology Project that will feature The Cairns excavation.

The EDU team were busy all day interviewing students, taking photos and recording video footage, which will be used in new online teaching material for future UHI students.

Thanks to Jacky, Lindsey and Ann, from the EDU, for all their input today and to the students who agreed to give interviews and skills demonstrations – Steve, Kevin, Carolina, Niamh and Jasmin. Really looking forward to seeing the virtual Cairns excavation footage!

Colin, in the broch beside the wall where the pin was found.

Following on from yesterday’s star find, today’s award goes to Steve who found a complete, copper alloy pin from within the broch backfill.

The pin was recovered from rubble material packed around one of the internal features within the broch – seemingly a collapsed section of wall, butting up against a line of orthostats.

The pin measures approximately 7.5 cm in length, is straight-sided and has a small, coiled head.

Not only is the pin complete, but the preservation is remarkable. We have yet to find a direct comparison, but anticipate an early Iron Age date.

Other developments on site today include continued excavation of deposits in Structure F, final clearance of overburden in new extension area Trench Q and the excavation of what we believe is a 20th century pit, cut into the top of the broch wall – proving that this really is a multi-period excavation project!”

Thanks to Sigurd Towrie and the Orkneyjar site blog

Thanks to Rik Hammond