Progress on Day 3

Work today focussed mainly on the building in the northern area of the trench (OB1) as Paul continued in his painstaking task of drawing the rest of the trench to scale. The walls in OB1 are becoming clearer as rubble and topsoil is cleared away, and the structure’s true shape continues to become apparent.

Volunteers Sheila and Jenny excavated slots in the wallhead of the southern wall of OB4, the large building in the east of our trench. We wanted to try to establish if the wall was free standing or dug into the ground (a common feature in so-called Jelly Baby houses); it appears to be free standing.

Sheila and Jenny hard at work

Colin, Neil, Gordon and Mark continued to investigate the southern end of the rampart excavated during the first phase of excavations. They revealed the earliest phase of the rampart’s structure, which probably relates to the early Iron Age. Tomorrow they will continue to excavate and remove the rubble from the rampart’s collapse.

AOC’s post-excavation specialist Jackaline has been processing the soil samples from Yarrows Heritage Trust’s excavations at Thrumster Broch in July. Jack had three willing volunteers with her at the Castlehill Research Facility in Castletown today. The samples have yielded Iron Age pottery, peat, charred cereal remains including barley and oats, charred heather leaves and identifiable shards of animal bone. The presence of charred heather leaves suggests the burning of peat. Although the samples are a silty clay (and so harder to wet sieve), Andi, Hazel, Diana and Paul have been powering through them with boundless enthusiasm.

The volunteers both at the Broch and at the Research Facility have been toiling away without showing any signs of slowing. We are making great progress and are excited by the prospect of what remains to be revealed.

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