Archaeology The Cairns Dig Diary 2019

The Cairns Day One – 2019

Looking down the entrance to the broch into the interior where the covers are being removed

Welcome back everyone to the daily blog for The Cairns excavations from me, Martin Carruthers the site director!

It’s absolutely fantastic to back on site and be able to share our findings with you once more. Each day of the project we’ll be bringing you updates and perspectives from different members of the team.

We welcome back many familiar faces to take part once again in the project and we also say hello to an equal number of new faces to the site. Altogether, the team already shows great promise in terms of good humour and commitment, necessary qualities in these very opening stages of the work, as well as beyond.

The Western extension with already established buildings to the left and just the tops of building stones beginning to show up in the extension itself

Today was the first day of the new season, and although a little advance party of us took a lot of the covers off the trench last week we nevertheless had a lot more tidying up of the site to do today with the big team. After site introduction and the obligatory health and safety briefings, it was onwards to moving the tyres out of the fenced area of the site and gathering up weathered fragments of plastic to generally neaten up things.

The weather was sometimes a challenge today with bouts of quite heavy rain, and even hail at one point. Nevertheless very good progress was made by the big team and most of the covers were off the site by the end of the day.

Dramatic skies over the site today

Over in this year’s trench extension on the western side of the site the work to clean over the newly revealed deposits was also going well. It looks very much like we have the continuation of substantial building remains in parts of this area and in the northern end of the extension perhaps the upper fills of the great ditch that encircles the broch period settlement. The deposits here are gratifyingly here with a little shell midden deposit, and pieces of pottery, boding well for the richness of these soils.

The top of the little shell midden in the Western Extension today

Tomorrow, we’ll press on with the site cleaning and then really start to get our teeth into the deposits and features. We’ll keep you posted on how we get on!


    1. Thanks Patricia. Should be a great summer with 5 digs happening over Orkney and Caithness in the next few months. We will be a little busy! Thanks for following us. Regards Sean

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