The Cairns Day Two – 2019

Excavators working on the southern side of the broch

Day Two at The Cairns dawns bright with a blue sky and today it is University of the Highlands and Islands student Sara Marioni turn to write the dig diary.….

A pretty awesome second day of excavation at The Cairns! After yesterday’s unpredictable weather and this morning’s freezing cold wind, we’ve been blessed with a drier and warmer afternoon, which also brought quite a few visitors to the site.

The day started with a tour of the various trenches, which included a brief summary of the main aims and areas of interest for this year’s excavation. Later, we organised ourselves in two groups, each assigned to a different area of the excavation.

Looking across the broch to the East and Windwick Bay, with just a little rain on the lens

I was working with Vicky, Aimedaphi and Mika in trench Q of the extramural settlement, trowelling a midden deposit rich in bone fragments and charcoal. Our main objective was to obtain a clearer view of the walls of one of the Iron Age buildings, so that the features and their relation to one another could be studied.

I believe my team had a great first day of digging, as only half an hour into the job a pottery rim emerged from the soil we were removing, followed, later this afternoon, by a modified animal tooth with tool marks on its surface. In addition to trowelling and learning how to record small finds, we also took a soil sample of the context we were working on.

Today’s blogger: Sara and student colleagues excavating the in-fill of Structure Q in the extramural complex (broch village)

Meanwhile, the second group of diggers was focusing on the area south-west of the broch, removing deposits to try and identify the edges of the ditch and where the broch terrace was cut into the hill-slope. While most people where working outside Structure A (the broch), Therese was on the inside of the broch re-establishing the sampling grid-lines and Paul was just a few metres away from the site building a furnace and lining it with clay for his experimental archaeology project.

Thanks to Sara Marinoni, First Year Archaeology student, UHI.