A Personal Photo-Time-Line Of The Ness of Brodgar Archaeology Dig: Part 1


By Bernie Bell

Pics by B&M Bell

I remember standing, looking over a gate just past the Brig O’ Brodgar, between Stenness and Harray lochs – and noticing  that two squares of turf had been lifted.  Each about …..2 foot square – as well as I can remember – it was a good while ago! And I thought to myself “They’re up to something.”  And they were. ‘They’ being the Orkney archaeologists.   And now I know what it was they were up to – it’s what has now become a world-famous and, better still, world-renowned archaeology dig  – The Ness of Brodgar. https://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/trust/

The 2020 dig had to be postponed until next year, but The Ness of Brodgar team have still produced a retrospective ‘dig diary’ of the site through the years……. https://www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/no-excavation-but-dig-diary-dusted-off-for-2020/ .

This gave me the idea of, kind of, doing my own.  Not a knowledgeable piece about which structure is which and all that as, to be honest, I get very confused about it all.

I thought of just looking back to images, pictures, going back to the first ones I can find in my photo folders, and presenting them – some of which will have been in previous articles about the Ness in TON, some which won’t.

So, after all those words – the pictures  – year by year, as well as I can remember when they were!

The first photo I took at the Ness was of this piece of pottery, discovered at the dig in 2009…..

Site Director Nick Card was showing us the finds for the day, and it caught my eye – I like the shapes, and that it showed real craftsmanship.

Moving on, to the year 2010, and some more ceramics, with slightly different designs on them….

The structures, and their place in the layout of the site, were starting to emerge from the land – the curving wall of Structure 10 became clear….

I think about how the Ness has ‘risen’ from the earth.  Each year a bit more is revealed, and the structures become clearer and clearer.  And I think of how it would have been A GOOD THING, if someone had filmed it, from the beginning, then could put the whole thing together, as a time-lapse, producing a film of the site, appearing to ‘rise’ from the earth!  It’s a bit late for that, now….but……I wonder if it would be possible, for someone with the know-how, to get together as many pictures, or pieces of film as possible and splice it all together, to make such a film?

I think it would look great, and would also be a very useful piece of archive film, for the future.

What was a jumble of stones, ten years ago, has been, carefully, resolved into the structures we can see today.

And finally, for 2010 – I just like the view – which hasn’t changed, for millennia….

Related link: A Vote Of Thanks To Sigurd Towrie!

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