Excavation LIFTE Rousay Skaill Farmstead Viking/Norse

Skaill and the Wirk, Rousay: Day Two

Today's Rousay excavation update from the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute's Dan Lee.

Today’s excavation update from the University of the Highlands and Islands Archaeology Institute’s Dan Lee.

Trench Nineteen today. (Dan Lee)

Red sandstone fragment at the Wirk confirms its place as a high-status site

It’s day two at Skaill and the Wirk and we welcomed the sunshine back. 

At Skaill, the post-medieval farm buildings in Trench Nineteen were cleaned and preparations made to half-section the floor in the southern room.

The last of the backfill was removed from Trench Twenty-Two and the black Norse midden is once again revealed. Tomorrow, we’ll start extending the trench a bit to the north. 

The stunning bone knife-handle from Trench Five. (Dan Lee)

A lovely lattice patterned bone knife-handle was found in Trench Five, in an upper layer. It looks to be saw cut.

At the Wirk, the substantial walls in both trenches are looking impressive! Trench Two was extended to the south to expose the wall edge – 1.8 metres wide!

A finely moulded fragment of red sandstone has been exposed in rubble nearby which is further evidence of a high-status site.

The edge of a possible doorway was revealed in Trench One, with a wall heading upslope to the east.

Trench One, with Bobby and Richard and the end wall. (Dan Lee)
Trench Two, with Sarah Jane and the large southern side wall. (Dan Lee)

The Wirk is Scheduled Ancient Monument, so we have had to get permission from Historic Environment Scotland to excavate and we are working to an agreed project design. Thankfully trenches have revealed what we were aiming for and it will be interesting to excavate down the sides of the walls over the next few days.

Hopefully we will find some in situ deposits left by Storer Clouston in the 1920s to sample.

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