The Cairns broch from above. (Bobby Friel)
Iron Age The Cairns

New radiocarbon date for Cairns shell pit

A new radiocarbon date for a shell-filled pit at The Cairns Iron Age site in South Ronaldsay shows that it was in use in the fifth or sixth century AD.

The pit appears to have been used to cook shellfish and after consumption, their shells, all 18,637 of them, were put back in it.

Iron Age The Cairns

Cairns broch fragment may be a sliver of Roman glassware

A tiny sliver found during soil-sample processing has brought the number of ancient glass fragments from the interior of The Cairns broch to nine.

However, unlike most of the eleven examples of glass recovered across the South Ronaldsay site, this dark-green shard does not appear to be a bead fragment but may instead have come from Roman glassware.