The Cairns Day Seventeen – 2018

Aerial View of The Cairns - Bobby Friel
Aerial view of The Cairns site. Thanks to Bobby Friel

University of the Highlands and Islands student Marianne Sim has written todays dig diary from the site.

Today started off very wet and dreary which had mostly cleared by mid morning – unfortunately, when the rain cleared the horse flies arrived…we had to soldier on regardless.

Most of the morning was spent photo cleaning the site in preparation for some aerial photography. This will probably be our last chance to see the whole site fully uncovered and looking pristine before the covers are put back on to protect the archaeology until next season. In some less active areas of the trench weeds and spoil from the trenches had accumulated over the year and we cleaned this up so Bobby could take some aerial photographs with his drone.

Cleaning the southeast area of the broch
Cleaning the southeast area of the broch

In the broch, the crucial job of recording and photographing the new deposits exposed in the western quadrant continued as well as the continuation of sampling and revealing more of the occupation layers in the south west area. Photo cleaning the southern part of the broch floors has really shown the vibrant red, orangey-yellow floor layers around the hearth in this area.

In the southern extension the day has been spent excavating more of the ditch fill deposits in spits with some nice pot sherds and bone being recovered, including a scapula.

The little yellow glass bead from Area Q
The little yellow bead from Area Q

As with the rest of the site most of the day in Trench Q and M was spent tidying and prepping the site for Bobby’s drone shenanigans! However, as is often the way, when you least expect it, just before lunch we found a beautiful delicate beige-yellow glass bead beside a wall which I can tell you is not Roman but still very nice! There were also two red deer antler tines in the Q area.

Marianne Sim, UHI BA (Hons) Archaeology