Whales – Ancient & Modern

By Bernie Bell

Martin Carruthers is The Man With The Plan at The Cairns archaeology dig in Orkney.  This site has not only revealed whale bones, but whale bones used in very specific and significant ways……..

Archaeology digs tend to be seasonal and, unfortunately due to Covid The Cairns dig hasn’t happened for the last two years.  Thank goodness – it is happening this summer – watch out for details!

When not digging, the archaeologists are very much occupied with sorting through the finds from the last dig, including sifting through the finer deposits where they often find GOOD THINGS, including beads – I likes it when they find beads….. https://theorkneynews.scot/2022/02/03/beautiful-beads/

They also work on planning the next dig, fundraising etc. etc., and…..producing papers which go into deeper detail about the dig, and the finds.

Professor Ingrid Mainland is the go-to person for knowledge of and information about animal bones, and she and Martin Carruthers et al are co-authors  of a new paper on the genetics of North Atlantic right whales – the rarest of all large cetaceans. 


Their paper is open access, and available through a link from…this link….

Archaeology….whales……what’s not to like?

And for when the digging starts again…..

The Digger’s Weather Forecast


Overcast, but with good light,

Not so bright that it will dazzle.

Blue skies, hot sun can give a tan,

But can also frazzle.

A gentle breeze, to foil the midges

And cool us as we work.

No howling gales and thrashing rain

To turn the site to mire,

That’s all we ask, us Orkney diggers,

That’s all that we desire.


Oh – and to find things!

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