Initial Results of Wet Sieving

AOC’s post-excavation specialist Jackaline Robertson has recently analysed the 34 bulk soil samples that were taken during 2011’s excavations at Nybster Broch. Both artefactual and environmental material were extracted from the soil. Among the more interesting finds were an intact stone bead, pottery, daub, bone, and charred macro remains including cereals and seaweed. The charred seaweed may have been used as a fuel or even a food source.

Stone bead recovered during flotation of soil sample.

The animal bone remains were varied and included cattle, sheep and pig, some of which displayed cut-marks suggestive of butchery. Remains of smaller animals included dog and cat. Rat, vole and mouse fragments were also recovered although there is some evidence to suggest that these remains are intrusive, and that these creatures probably inhabited the broch after its abandonment. There was also evidence of the exploitation of marine and bird resources in the form of fish, whale/seal and puffin.

All of this information helps us to form a clearer picture of the lifestyles of the people who lived at Nybster Broch.

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