Wet weather gear recommended…

We arrived on site this morning to blustery wind and rain, but had a good team on hand who persevered throughout the less than favourable conditions. We were all rather muddy by 5pm, but our determination was rewarded with a few exciting discoveries.

Volunteer Rhona and AOC’s Charlotte continued excavating a middening deposit discovered last week. It contains an area of burning that appears to be contained within a roughly laid stone enclosure. This area has yielded a high number of finds, including stone pot lids, part of a melon bead, worked bone and numerous stone tools including a strike-a-light. A strike-a-light is used to start a fire by striking a stone, usually with iron, to create a spark.

The strike-a-light: note the groove down the centre of the stone.

Volunteers Eric and Anne continued investigating the deposits in the interior of the Jelly Baby house at the eastern end of the promontory. Having removed a paving slab in the southern cell, Eric came across a worked whalebone object, which will provide valuable dating evidence.

We were joined today by Hilary and A-level archaeology student Eilis, who have travelled all the way from Newcastle to participate in the project. They began trowelling in the building in the northern end of the trench, and did a great job of removing a context containing lots of shell sand, which we suspect may be related to Tress Barry’s construction of Mervyn’s Tower at the end of the 19th century.

We welcomed one of, if not the leading broch expert to site today: Euan Mackie visited Nybster , and as always he gave good advice on the structures we are uncovering. We are looking forward to working with him when we write up the site.

Jack and her volunteers have finished processing the soil samples from July’s excavations at Thrumster Broch; luckily we are taking samples in earnest from Nybster now so they needn’t get too relaxed!

We hope for better weather tomorrow…

NB we are feeling somewhat bereft following the departure of a number of last week’s volunteers. We hope you have all returned happily to your usual lives and aren’t missing us as much as we miss you! Thank you all for your contribution.

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