Culture

Revealing The Cairns – Part Two

By Bernie Bell

In 2018, Mike and I didn’t manage to get to the excavation at The Cairns – I can’t remember why!  But we were recompensed by the wonderful Brochtoberfest, held in the autumn of that year https://theorkneynews.scot/2018/10/22/brochtoberfest/ , which had displays of many finds from The Cairns.

A major find, for many, many reasons – a Whale bone, with a jawbone in it – a human jaw bone, that is………

Spindle whorls …..

….and archaeology student, Amber, showed us how they were used……….

And so, to 2019, when we had a wonder-full visit to The Cairns Open Day – the weather Gods smiled on us, and gave us a glorious, sunny day.

Looking down into the Broch….

And – looking down into the well….

A wall…and a wall of tyres….

Tyres pay a large part in any archaeology dig – the site needs to be protected when not being excavated, and, in Orkney, that can include some stormy winter months.

A deposit of shells, by an entrance – why?

And – there was a wee furnace, for a demonstration of metal-working…

Later in the year, there were some ace finds on display at the 2019 Brochtoberfest –

Iron Age combs –

Beads!!!!!  The Cairns excavation is showing just how much our Iron Age ancestors liked ornament, either for themselves, or their living space………..

And finally – something a bit different, associated with the 2019 Brochtoberfest –

As at the Ness of Brodgar – aerial views help to clarify shapes.

If you’d like to donate to ensure that this enthralling dig can continue – you could go to the Orkney Archaeology Society website…  https://orkneyarchaeologysociety.org.uk/

Another vital dig, much endangered by time and tides, and much in need of funds, is/was taking place on the island of Rousay – the Swandro dig https://www.swandro.co.uk/ .

I’m afraid I don’t have any of my own pictures of Swandro, as I’ve never been to the site – it’s a bit of a ‘do’ for me to go for a whole day, without resting.  We were meaning to go this year – I’d decided to just go for it, and get knackered!  Maybe next year.

Ever hopeful!

Related link: Revealing The Cairns – Part One

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