Geophysics at The Cairns 2017

Gordon (2)Whilst the excavation at The Cairns has been up and running, myself and Gordon Higgs (a student from Sheffield University) have both been undertaking professional Placements with the project to undertake geophysical survey in the fields surrounding The Cairns.

The aims of this survey were to investigate the landscape of the Broch and to identify the precise location of the enclosure ditch around the front, (Eastern side) of the broch and to identify any evidence for additional human activity nearby.

Two different types of geophysical survey were used, resistivity and magnetometry. Resistivity survey uses an electric current to measure the resistance of the soil, from which it is possible to identify disturbance (including past human disturbance) in the soil. Resistivity is ideal for detecting ditches and stone built features, because these features will have a different resistance from the surrounding undisturbed soil. Magnetometry survey measures changes in the magnetic field which can detect heat affected and burnt features such as hearths or fuel ash middens, metal artefacts and other past disturbances.Maginterprated-page-001The results of the survey show that the landscape has been heavily ploughed in the recent past and has disturbed archaeology in places. Nevertheless, the ditch surrounding The Cairns has shown up in both types of survey. Indeed, the anomaly on the survey results showed that it appears to be a double ditch feature. These substantial ditches are passed through by a linear feature, which is a couple of metres wide and runs from the broch sown slope towards the coast. This feature appears to be an ancient ‘hollow way’, or sunken track, and could also be partly related to a lintelled passageway referred to by the antiquary the Rev. Alexander Goodfelow over a hundred years ago.

At the bottom of the field just south of The Cairns an earlier geophysical survey showed an arc in the corner of the survey. A test pit was excavated there earlier this year and identified a curving stone feature that looks like a well-built wall within an ashy soil matrix, and a fragment of a saddle quern of prehistoric type. When we extended the geophysical survey to cover more of this anomaly it showed a series of semi circular features with possible central hearths. These anomalies could be related to houses in a fairly large settlement and/or associated structures like workshops.

There may be as many as 6 or 7 of these buildings. These look very similar to Bronze Age houses seen in the World Heritage Area of Stenness/Brodgar and in other locations in Orkney and Shetland.  This exciting prospect could be tested by excavation to confirm the nature of these features.

We were hoping to find the continuation of these structures in the next field to the south, however, the remains have either been ploughed away or are smaller than expected and obscured by the field boundary itself. This lower field did show another possible circular feature and a very strange linear anomaly on the resistivity results. An igneous dyke (or possibly two) run through the lower field which was easily identifiable by our magnetometer results.  This natural geological feature is interesting in its own right as we know prehistoric communities treated volcanic dyke rock as a resource, sometimes quarrying such sources of igneous material for stone artefacts and crushed up the rock for the ‘temper’ that they mixed into the clay of ceramic pots.

There are many more discoveries in the geophysics survey undertaken and the survey work has confirmed that The Cairns broch was not an isolated feature in an empty landscape, it was part of an active, evolving landscape and it would be interesting to test some of these features to confirm if some of them are contemporary with the broch. Even though the weather seemed to be against us some days, the results from the geophysical survey have been very informative, hinting at the wider landscape and future stories for archaeologists to uncover.

Leonie Teufel, MSc. Archaeological Practice Student, UHI

The Cairns Day Nineteen 2017

A new floor revealed in the bottom of a key-hole sondage by Jo
A new floor revealed in the bottom of the key-hole sondage by Jo

Today was the second last day on site. Despite the start of the process of covering up the site in earnest, we nevertheless still carried out some exciting work.

In the broch, yesterday’s blogger; Jo, continued to take special micromorphology samples from the floors. Working in the ‘central passageway’, which is a kind of corridor space that permitted the occupants to access several rooms set against the southern side of the broch, Jo was able to take a sample and reveal a lovely floor deposit underlying the dark, organic occupation deposits. This is really good news because it means that almost all of the areas that we have investigated floors across the whole of the eastern and central areas of the broch we have this fairly standard process of floor-making in evidence. What happens is that nice clean clay floors are laid down, presumably as a kind of beaten earth floor and then these floors are lived and worked upon. This human activity then produces detritus and organics that come to look like thick black charcoal rich deposits. These contain wonderfully rich sources of info’ about how people used the broch.

Not our lunchtime slice of chocolate cake, but a lovely soil block comprising many floor deposits sampled today
Not our lunchtime slice of chocolate cake, but a lovely soil block comprising many floor deposits sampled today

Today when Jo was working in the floors she also found a piece of unburnt wood in one of the dark lenses of occupation. This is a very unusual find as, obviously, wood that hasn’t been charcoaled is prone to decay!

The antler tool or mini-pick found near the late hearth in the broch
The antler tool or mini-pick found near the late hearth in the broch

Elsewhere in the broch, in the western zone, work on the occupation deposits around the late hearth, produced lots of antler, including what appeared to be an antler tool, perhaps for tending the hearth, as well as lots of other animal bones, and what appears to be the edges of an earlier, probably more formal hearth underlying beginning to emerge.

We will be concentrating on the final cover up of the site tomorrow, so only a few things require to be completed and recorded now- but it has been a very good season, and I’ll be rounding that up in tomorrow’s blog. Tomorrow we’ll also tell you about all the fascinating geophysical survey that has been happening at the site while we’ve been digging.

Cairns Bairns! the samples wrapped up for travelling off site to be assessed
The Cairns Bairns! Actually samples wrapped up for travelling off site to be assessed

But as a treat here’s an extra blog piece from Rik Hammond below. Rik’s an artist that has been working alongside us on site for several years.

Martin Carruthers, Site Director.

DCIM100MEDIADJI_0009.JPGMy name is Rik Hammond and I’m a visual artist based in St Margaret’s Hope – just up the road from The Cairns, here in South Ronaldsay.

Much of my practice focuses on the archaeological landscape of Orkney (including sites such as The Cairns and Ness of Brodgar) and I’ve been coming along to The Cairns – to observe, interact with and record the site and team – for several years now.
Often I’ll be found atop the spoil heap, drawing, or recording aspects of the site and surrounding landscape using photography, video and GPS. Alongside developing creative work at sites such as The Cairns, I co-direct the Yesnaby Art & Archaeology Research Project (YAARP –, in partnership with Dr James Moore
at the University of the Highlands & Islands Archaeology Institute.
YAARP is a multi-year,interdisciplinary, team-based project focusing on the landscape, archaeology and (pre)history of the township of Yesnaby, on the west coast of the Orkney Mainland. Being on site at excavations such as The Cairns offers us the opportunity to develop an ongoing dialogue and potential collaborations with archaeologists in regards to projects such as YAARP.
This season, in addition to my regular work, I’ve been spending some time conducting aerial photography tests of the site – with some of the YAARP and Cairns team, using the YAARP UAV (aka ‘drone’) – to provide Martin with some up to date aerial photographs of the site, as well as getting some more airtime in prior to our YAARP fieldwork in August.
It’s also been an opportunity to think about ways to visualise a site and landscape, and ways we can then map and model aspects of the landscape digitally (for example using photogrammetry and 3d modelling). I even got the chance to digitally record Jim Bright, an Archaeology Masters student at UHI – aka the on-site ‘digital archaeologist’ – creating a 3d model of him in a similar way to how he himself has been recording the site and artefacts this season.
Between now and next year, I’ll be back in the studio, developing new work – both in traditional and digital media – in response to my time here again at The Cairns. You can keep up to date with my ongoing practice at and on my Facebook Page at
Finally, I’d like to thank Martin and his team for welcoming me to site yet again and making me feel very much part of the ongoing research here at The Cairns.
Rik Hammond

The Cairns Day Eighteen 2017

An image taken from above the broch. With thanks to Rik Hammond

Thank you to the Cairns 2017 team and to director Martin in particular for inviting me up to spend some of the last week here on site!

My last visit was in 2013 and I can’t believe how much has changed – how much more archaeology has been exposed – and especially how wonderful the broch interior looks now that we are beginning to see its wonderfully preserved detail such as the furniture and floor surfaces.

Getting ready to sample the floors in the broch today
Getting ready to sample the floors in the broch

These floors are the main reason for my visit. I’m a geoarchaeologist, which means that I use a range of archaeological science techniques to investigate soils and sediments on site. I’ve come up to The Cairns to hopefully be able to help the team get the maximum possible information out of the vitally important floor deposits that we’re now seeing in various areas of the broch interior. These are easy to see in the images we now have of the broch – a patchwork of bright yellow, orange, black and brown surfaces made up of the detritus of a thousand everyday activities.

I’m using a technique called soil micromorphology to enable us to see this level of detail in a way we can’t using traditional excavation methods. Small blocks of the floor material are carefully removed, using a metal tin in order to avoid disturbance of the deposits. Resin is poured into these blocks and hardened, allowing a microscope slide to be made through the ‘thin section slice’ of the floor deposits.

Jo sampling the broch floor deposits
Jo sampling the broch floor deposits

Under the microscope, we can examine in detail what often proves to be a sequence of many, many more deposits that can be seen with the naked eye. It goes without saying that micromorphology is a powerful tool for understanding how these deposits form and the microscopic information they contain – fuel residues, bone, botanics and other pointers to human activity, as well as a whole range of indicators for environmental conditions on site and how these have changed through time.

With the weather on side, we made a great start today – examining the floors, making a start on sampling, and most important of all, talking strategy for next season. With more and more of this wonderfully preserved detail being exposed every day, there’s no doubt that the floor surfaces at the Cairns are going to be a focus for attention for a long time to come!

Jo McKenzie, Honorary Research Fellow, University of Bradford

The Cairns Day Seventeen 2017

Karoline and Marianne setting up a sampling grid in the broch today
Karoline and Marianne setting up a sample grid in the broch

Fantastic weather at the Cairns site today, some lovely sun and minimal wind, optimal for excavation.

A few good finds today, such as a large iron nail, found in the Southwest corner extension. Samples of the possible ditch have been taken. Many pieces of bone and antler were recovered from the souterrain (Structure F) itself to the great enjoyment of the diggers there.

The large deer antler from the revetment rubble in the SW extension
The large deer antler from the revetment rubble in the SW Extension Trench

Another great moment of the day was the removal of a whole deer antler, broken in several places, from the southwest trench butting the south wall of the Broch. This antler was underneath rubble, along with a couple pieces of vertebrae. Samples have been taken from the trench for study at the university.

Pottery sherds emerging from deposits around the entrance to the well inside the broch
Pottery sherds emerging from deposits around the entrance to the well inside the broch

Inside the Broch, here was quite a lot of pottery found around the entrance to ‘the well’, and the floor is becoming clearer and cleaner every day. The ‘cat’ remains will soon make their appearance, ready for Ingrid Mainland (UHI Archaeology lecturer and faunal remains specialist) to study.

The revetment wall which follows the line of the construction terrace and then swings around to abut the broch outer wallface
The revetment wall which follows the line of the construction terrace and then swings round to the broch outer wall face

Several samples were taken, many pictures were taken, new finds were uncovered and overall it has been a successful day. There are some very happy archaeologists and student archaeologists at the site today.

More antler- this time from the souterrain, with a hole drilled in it
More antler-this time from the souterrain, with a hole drilled in it

We hope that the good weather will continue to hold out for the closing for the site later this week!

Iona Guichot, BA Archaeology Student

The Cairns Day Day Sixteen 2017

The top of the revetment wall emerges in the broch terrace cut
The top of the revetment wall emerges in the broch terrace cut

Today started a little wet and windy but the rain quickly lifted off as we discussed the site and the strategy for the final week on site.

We have a slightly smaller team for this week (although there are still over twenty of us on site, nevertheless) and while we have lots to do and both final recording, and back-fill sessions to undertake, these processes can sometimes work all the more smoothly and efficiently with a compact team.

For the remainder of the digging days this week we will concentrate on the broch interior, finishing the souterrain deposits, and a little more work in the south-west extension.


The little cache of winkle shells immediately under one of the late floor slabs in the broch
The little cache of winkle shells immediately under one of the late floor slabs in the broch


Inside the broch as we began to lift the paving from around the late hearth slab, we found that the deposits beneath are incredibly rich in organics; charcoal, burnt bone, shell fragments and a little fishbone.  This deposit looks very similar, (and just as rich), as some of the upper deposits inside the broch that we have previously excavated in the eastern zone.  It’s actually quite comforting to see these familiar deposits and very much encourages us to think that we are dealing with layers of a similar age across the broch interior.  Moreover, the richness of this deposit will ultimately yield lots of information about the use of the broch, in its latter stages.  Under one of the slabs that was lifted, a very discrete, perfectly preserved cache of peri-winkle shells was revealed directly underneath.  This little group was so discrete and so close to the surface as to encourage the idea that it had been made just before this slab was set down, maybe even as a little foundation deposit under the slab floor.

In the south-west extension work carried on in the terrace cut and we have established that there is indeed a revetment wall, partly lining the cut in the natural, and partly extending out from the cut towards the direction of the broch outer wall itself.  It looks like this revetment may be part of the measures to hold back the natural boulder clay from slumping into the area of the ‘extramural settlement’ or village around the broch.  It may even also turn out to be a wall of one of the village buildings itself.

Tomorrow we’ll be excavating some of the earlier broch floor deposits in the eastern zone of the broch.  We’ll keep you posted as to how that goes and what we find!

Martin Carruthers.

The Cairns Day Fifteen 2017

Visitors are taken on a tour on open day, while in the foreground the team excavated a section of the ditch
Open Day: Visitors are taken on a tour of the site, while in the foreground the team excavate a section of the ditch

Today was our open day on site and we had a very good turn out from the public whom we very much hope enjoyed the many tours that were undertaken of the site.

The presence of lots of visitors always lends the site a slightly festive atmosphere and all of us on site really enjoy interacting with the public and showing off the site and the wonderful artefacts that have been discovered.  Many of us were giving tours and we’d like to thank everyone who came along for making it such a fun and cheerful day.

The tours took many of us into show-and-tell mode on site, nevertheless, archaeological work in many areas of the site progressed unabated.

In Trench Q, Dave and the team have been continuing to reveal wall-tops, related to the village surrounding the broch, although how contemporary these are with the broch at this stage will remain unclear for some time.  Interestingly, the soily deposits that they are excavating are full of antler-working waste.  There are trimmed off-cuts of antler coming out thick and fast.  This waste is probably from making combs, pins, and tools of a variety of types, examples of which we have found from elsewhere on the site.  Also recovered from around here was a small bronze chain-link!

Hanneke excavating in the terrace cut around the broch exterior
Hanneke excavating in the terrace cut around the broch exterior

In the ditch, over in the SW extension, the finds have also been coming thick and fast.  Even though we’re really still in quite high deposits (relative to the likely fuller depth of the ditch), the volume of animal bone, including cattle, sheep, pig, deer, and many others, has been quite amazing, and these have been big chunks of large beasts.  This has included horn cores, other large skull fragments, and deer antler.  The ditch was obviously a receptacle for lots of midden, with large unabraided (freshly broken) pieces of pottery  and stone tools to add to the litany of discarded materials.


The green stained bronze chain link from site today, lifted on a soil block to preserve the object
The green stained bronze chain link, lifted on a soil block to preserve the object.


However, based on other sites of the Scottish Atlantic Iron Age, the placement of specific types of waste within ditches seems to have happened in particular locations around the circumference of enclosures, and this appears to have been governed by ideological schemes that are reflected in the patterning of deposits.  It will therefore be very interesting to compare what types of material we have in our section, over a lateral part of the ditch, with those from other sites, such as the wonderful Mine Howe site excavated in East Mainland, Orkney by UHI Archaeologists a few years ago.

Another lovely little item that came up today was a highly polished cattle tooth.  This has seen some serious modification of one its surfaces in the past, so much so, that all the normal wavy, ‘corrugated’ surface of the tooth has been worn down to a smooth high sheen polish.  This must have been some sort of burnisher. However, it is a wonderfully beautiful little item in its own right.


The late hearth in the western area of the broch
The late hearth in the western area of the broch


Inside the broch, in the western interior, the late hearth has been fully revealed and recorded, ready for lifting early next week.  It will be very interesting to see what lies beneath this, especially as the entire hearth is raised up, mounded above the level of the surrounding flag floor as if it is sitting on top of something more substantial beneath.   I have a suspicion that this might turn out to be an earlier (hopefully well-preserved) hearth.  We’ll keep you informed.  Menwhile, Alex has exposed more of the in situ articulated cat bones ready for lifting and sampling the soil from around the body.  This will happen next week.

The forthcoming week is our last week of the season this year, however if previous seasons are anything to go by there may well yet be a few surprises in store for us and some lovely finds!  Keep checking out our blog for details…

Martin Carruthers.

The Cairns Day Fourteen 2017

Henrik excavating the upper ditch fills
Henrik excavating the upper ditch fills

A quick update from me, Martin. Even though we had a slightly shorter day today, curtailed by the rain in the afternoon, we managed to make good progress and work across all areas of the site was illuminating and very intriguing!

Over in the Southwest extension, the ditch continues to surprise and delight. So far the ditch fills have been rich in pottery, shell-midden, bronze objects, and today seems to have been the day of the animal bone. Masses of animal bones have been coming to light today. These included large portions of cattle skulls, pig skull fragments and lots of other large bones, especially cattle, and red deer.

Just one of the trays of animal bone recovered from the ditch today
Just one of the trays of animal bone recovered from the ditch

Ditches are frequently rich reservoirs of information about day-to-day life as they do seem to have been filled up with the daily detritus, however, they also seem to have been fairly strictly organised in terms of what exactly is allowed to enter them, and at what point in the circumference of the enclosure. This has been seen in the ditches dug at other Iron Age sites, where certain types of animals, or even certain portions of animals, where deposited in certain ponts around the ditch, and ultimately it will be interesting to see if the patterns of deposition seen at The Cairns are in any way similar to those other places. What’s more this animal bone will be very interesting in terms of insights into diet and even affluence.

Antler-working debris from Trench Q
Antler-working debris from Trench Q

Inside the broch itself, the team have been continuing to excavate later occupation deposits (we think dating to around the mid 2nd Century AD). They have been investigating one particular concentration of black, carbon rich soil in the middle of the Western half of the broch. When this black charcoal soil was excavated and packed into sample boxes it revealed a large, heavily cracked and heat affected slab underneath. It looks fairly certain that this has been a big hearth base slab set up late in the use of the broch. Even more intriguingly we think we can see the tip of an edge set, upright stone peeping out from under this big slab, and this may turn out to be part of another even more substantial hearth setting. Maybe there’s a really big lovely formal hearth awaiting us. We’ll find out and let you know over the next couple of days.

The large heat affected haerth base in the broch under excavation today
The large heat affected hearth base in the broch under excavation

Another very interesting discovery in the broch today was made by Alex when he was cleaning over a surface near to the wall-face on the southwest side. The greater part of a cat carcass emerged. This is highly interesting in its own right, however, we have previously found a cat skeleton on site, last season, and it appeared to have been laid out in a formal way to mark the construction of one of our non-broch Iron Age buildings, (Structure B2). Several Orcadian Iron Age sites have yielded evidence for such feline deposition (including Howe, near Stromness), and so we shall have to see if this cat too is part of some kind of ‘structured’, i.e intentional deposit.

Elsewhere on site, the routine work of cleaning back over ashy midden in Trench Q continues to reveal fragments of masonry and other stony features that will surely turn out to be parts of the village surrounding the broch. In the souterrain Mary and Gary have restarted the work of excavating the soils within our underground passageway today, and time will tell what is in them. So far a lot of animal bone has come out of the souterrain and the soils look rich and ashy.

Trench Q before the rain toay
Trench Q before the rain today

Now, finally, a reminder that if you are in Orkney tomorrow (Friday the 30th of June), and you are able to join us then please do come down to site for our main open day of the season. We’ll be hosting guided tours of the structures and features on site, and showing some of the amazing finds from this year’s excavations. Please do join us if you are able. We are on site from 10am, but if you visit between the hours of 11.00am and 3.30pm then you will see the dig in action.

Martin Carruthers, Site Director.

The Cairns Day Thirteen 2017

Newly emerging walls in Trench Q- evidence of the broch village to the north of the site
Newly emerging walls in Trench Q – evidence of the broch village in the north of the site

In the eastern part of the site, in Trench Q.  On the south side of the Trench, excavation of overlying ashy soils and rubble soil has finally begun to reveal a wall that forms part of a structure, likely, a village building outside the broch.

Excavations also continue and in the north side of the Trench Q where a fragment of clay Furnace-lining uncovered today further points to metal working at the site and hints at the potential core of the furnace itself.

The little curved copper alloy object from the ditch in the SW extension
The little, curved copper alloy object from the ditch in the SW extension

In ‘the pit’ immediately to the east of the Broch a large fragment of deer antler was found wedged between the slabs of another new substantial sandstone built wall, and in the Souterrain near the entrance of the Broch, whole animal bones and fragments and antler have been identified.  Inside the Broch itself work continue on the upper habitation layers.  Later in the afternoon, the Broch was cleared of our tools and archaeologists for aerial pictures taken from a drone.

Overview of the broch where work continues on the floor deposits
Overview of the broch where work continues on the floor deposits

Work also continues in the SW trench extension on the Broch exterior and along with the many bone fragments found in the midden material, a small copper alloy object was discovered. The delicate find was carefully removed in a block with the surrounding soil.

Excavating in the SW extension
Excavating in the SW extension

Though dig season is now two thirds of the way complete for 2017, the well in the broch, the remaining habitation deposits, the Souterrain at the Broch entrance, and the structures to the east of the Broch will continue to be worked opening up the opportunity to yield even more information this season.

More new walls in the pit close to the broch entrance
More new walls in the pit close to the broch entrance

Gary Lloyd, BA Archaeology student, UHI


The Cairns Day Twelve 2017

Two thousand year old occupation deposits in the Eastern half of the broch in the process of clean-up
Two thousand-year-old occupation deposits in the Eastern half of the broch in the process of clean-up

A rather grey and windy day at The Cairns today, yet that didn’t stop the many visitors stopping by.  The weather didn’t stop the exciting developments that have been happening across the site today.

The very long, bronze pin-like object in the SW extension
The very long, bronze pin-like object in the SW extension

The south-west extension was especially exciting today as the bronze object (possibly a pin), which was found yesterday, was lifted by Martin, under the close observation of many onlookers.  At the other side of the extension Gary and I found quite a substantial amount of finds in one small area, these included two different animal jawbones, beside a stone tool, sherds of pottery and an animal bone that has signs of butchery, which were located under some of the rubble that we had just removed.

The crucible showing the spout that would have been used for pouring molten bronze
The crucible showing the spout that would have been used for pouring molten bronze


One of the Star finds of the day was found by Hanneke in the rubble that is butting against the broch wall, a large piece of pottery that turned out to be a piece of a crucible, a vessel that would have carried molten metal.

Down in the broch, things have also been slowly progressing, the floor deposits in the eastern section have been cleaned back.  In the western portion, the paving has been cleaned and is being recorded.

The new wall emerging in Karoline's and Marianne's 'pit', outside the Eastern wall of the broch
The new wall emerging in Karoline and Marianne’s pit, outside the eastern wall of the broch


Across the site in ‘the Pit’, an area of modern disturbance and back-fill, Marianne and Karoline also had quite an exciting day, the wall that started to make its appearance over the last few days is now looking even more enticing, the wall now is adjoining to another wall at a right angle.  Another of the star finds today was also from this area, where articulated cow vertebrae were found.

Down in Trench Q things seem to be coming on quite nicely, though it was previously not quite looking like anything other than ‘voidy rubble,’ it is starting now to show signs of some of wall lines joining through the baulk to a structure in Trench M, if this is the case or not, only time will tell.

Mary Renshaw, BA Archaeology student, UHI.

The Cairns Day Eleven 2017

Cleaning the floors of the broch
Cleaning the floors of the broch

It’s Monday and the weekly routine on site starts again.

There is a new batch of first year UHI students on site ready to begin their first second year module bringing with it a slightly extended weekly brief detailing the findings of last week which include the discovery of the outer ditch around the broch, progress on finding the plateau, or terrace, edge, the steady progress in Trench Q, including the voided pit, and the ongoing excavation of the interior of the broch.

Copper alloy emerging from the outer broch ditch

After briefing, the excavation started and with rested excavators, the finds and discoveries quickly started popping up. In the outer broch ditch (in the south west extension) there have been continuous finds of bone, burnt clay, pottery and a piece of copper alloy, adding to and expanding the material record of the site. In the same south west extension, a furnace bottom was found. This is a ‘plano-convex’ shaped cake of solid iron waste that forms in the bottom of a smelting furnace.

Work continuing in Trench Q
Work continuing in Trench Q

Over in Trench Q the continual trowelling and mattocking revealed what looks like an interior wall face. While it remains unknown what this wall relates to, and how far it extends, it looks nicely built and substantial and may well be part of one of the village buildings that goes with the broch.

Some of the new partitions emerging inside the broch western interior
Some of the new partitions emerging inside the broch western interior

The team in the interior of the broch have been exposing more of the occupation layers and further distinguishing the interior divisions, giving something to look forward to over the coming weeks as the occupation layers are excavated.

Lastly the furnace keeps on as ever producing slag and keep the small finds team busy, with it looking ever more likely that it was dismantled before it was covered up.

Overall, it is business as usual on site, with people continuing previous efforts to reveal ever more detail about the nature of occupation though it seems that over the coming week there may well be some new discoveries to report on soon.

We will keep you posted!

Ashley Davis, Placement student, University of Bournemouth.