Friday, September 10
by Sara Marinoni and Francesca Meneghetti
Friday greeted us with a misty morning, a fresh foresty smell in the air and the purple heather flowers glimmering with dew as we made our way to the site.
At around 10am, a group of kids from a Lybster school joined the crew with enthusiasm, visiting the site and having a go at excavating.
The children had a chance to familiarise themselves with the archaeology of the landscape through a series of activities such as drawing and trowelling guided by Rick and Mary.
As for our team, we were divided into smaller units, each focusing on a particular area or structure of the site.
Francesca and Gianluca were sampling deposits in the Burn section to the north of Structure A, unearthing a lot of cramp – a form of slag often associated with the fuel of cremation fires.
Calum was working in the same structure, defining the relationships between the northern revetment of the wall of the souterrain Structure A, and an earlier surface that had been revealed, and runs underneath it.
There he found an interesting beach cobble within the construction cut for Structure A, which has signs of wear all around its circumference. This is likely to have been a grinding stone, similar to a pestle, from a pestle and mortar. And doesn’t Calum look pleased to have found it?
Next to them, Travis continued to work on the section of the site that has been eroded by the burn, near where a cist was discovered in previous seasons.
He has been cleaning up a charcoal-rich deposits and encountered a layer of clay which may be the surface on which the earliest structures on the site were built.
Meanwhile in Structure B, Leia and Sara, with the help of UHI masters student Robert, started grid sampling occupation-type deposits rich in charcoal and burnt bone.
Holly began excavating the cell to the south-east corner of Structure B. So far, the layer she is focusing on is not yielding any evidence of occupation, but its removal is starting to reveal the depth of the cell walls.
Last but not least, Rona, Islay, and Alison have done a brilliant job of exposing the wall of Structure D, which is situated the outside and to the south of structure B.
This structure contains an extensive layer of burnt stone with several charcoal inclusions that provided food for thought.
Visitors to the excavation site are welcome. Tours are available but the site will be backfilled on Wednesday, September 15.