Archaeology The Cairns Dig Diary 2019

The Cairns Day Five – 2019

Excavation underway in the Northern part of the site. Todays blogger Hannah is seen standing with the yellow knee pads

Each day a different volunteer or student archaeologist has the chance to write a dig diary entry to put across their experience of the University of the Highlands and Islands research excavation at The Cairns.

It’s Day 5 and so it is Hannah’s turn to write the blog…..

Third year student Hannah (Thompson) here, another report of classic Orkney weather…rain & sunshine, with the weather improving towards the end of the day.

A new area of stonework (possible revetment) emerging in the SW area

So, I have been working down in the bottom half of trench Q, focusing on clearing and sharpening edges of the trench walls and sections, this is to help us learn about relationships between different features and deposits within the trench. This important task then allowed Bobby (trench supervisor) to take some photographs and to record the section and certain rubble spreads before they are removed to further excavate, and reveal even more relationships.

Half of a carved stone vessel (just below the colourful scale), probably a lamp, emerging inside the broch

Whist undertaking all of this, I came across the front part of a Horse skull with 4 front teeth still intact! Neigh bad at all! Aime who is also working in Trench Q came across a nice large chunk of Charcoal (important for understanding human use of the environment, as well as C-14 dating), Mika found the top half of a cranium. So trench Q has been very exciting today. In other parts of the site, such as the south west area, they have been working on excavating soils to see whether there is another phase of revetment walling around the natural enveloping the Broch wall. In the Broch itself they have been excavating and sampling the floors in the Western interior and seem to be finding another phase of occupation with a hearth.

Hannah’s area – a rectilinear building, prepared for photography

From my 1st year until now, it has been wonderful to have such a look into the ways of the Iron Age folk, the many people who have left such wondrous things for us to understand and learn how they lived.  

The team excavating inside the broch today

It’s going to be another fantastic summer here at The Cairns, with more to definitely be revealed by us. Come visit!

Thanks to Hannah Thompson UHI Archaeology student

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