The Cairns Day Two 2017

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAHi folks, Martin again, reporting on progress during day two of the project.

We spent the earlier part of the day cleaning over surfaces within the trench and generally tidying up its appearance in preparation for beginning to actually start excavating in earnest.

Indeed, it was during the general clean up, within the extension on the south-west side of the site that we made today’s star find!  Woody, who has just completed his degree studies with us, was cleaning the edge of the new trench when he made the fine.  It’s a beautiful bronze pin.  This particular type is known as a ‘Hand-pin’ because it has a head shaped like an arc or ring with three little beaded projections above.  The entire decorated head resembles a little hand.

This is a really nice find, and it’s quite chronologically suggestive as well since pins like this are an early form of the hand-pin (sometimes known as a proto-hand pin) and are thought to date to around the 3rd or 4th Centuries AD, and a little later- so about the same period as the later Roman period in Southern Britain.

The pin had come from a deposit high in the sequence of dark silty soils that we think might be the uppermost fills of the great enclosure ditch that surrounds the site.  This could be some very interesting dating evidence for the last infilling of the ditch.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERANearby, Kath, another of our degree students found a really nice piece of pottery with a ‘rolled’ rim, which is, again suggestive of a date in the earlier part of the Late Iron Age.

Meanwhile, as work progressed over on the northern part of the site to clean up in Trench Q, Christine, yet another UHI student found an equally chunky and impressive piece of pottery, but this time of a slightly different sort.  It had an everted (out-swinging) rim and a nice globular body.  This is more of a Middle Iron Age type- the period of the heyday of the broch itself.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAAll, in all, considering it was a day largely given over to preliminary clean-up we have had a very nice set of finds and together with the feature and deposits we are encountering they are helping us to formulate the story of the site, yet further.

In future days, we’ll be bringing you perspectives from a range of people involved in the excavations at the site.

Please check in with us again tomorrow for more exciting developments from the trenches.

Martin Carruthers, Site Director, The Cairns