Date: 15/7/98

 Journal Entry No.1


Over the coming weeks these pages will be written by different people who undoubtedly will have different views of what is occuring! This will provide an insight into the process of archaeological interpretation, which is far from straightforward or unitary. At present Angus Mackintosh and Colin Richards will be reporting so don't necessarily expect the same story.

Our first encounter with the site consisted of looking at a plastic covered piece of wood on a wet Monday morning! This marked the place where the tractor had broken through the surface. Its general aspect was on the summit of a mound, which was situated half way up a more general slope. Given this location many possibilities occurred to us, for instance, was the entire mound a chambered cairn or was the chamber cut into a natural knoll? The weather deteriorated and little more could be done that day.

Tuesday started badly with more rain but it soon blew over. Television cameras stared at scraped ploughsoil and little could be seen. Then in came the JCB and stripped the topsoil off the mound summit. Again, little could be seen even after the surface was cleaned. Eventually, stone rubble began to appear around the vicinity of the collapsed roof. It's now Wednesday morning and further excavation around the summit has revealed some of the massive cross-slabs which compose the upper roofing of the main chamber. A 'scene of crimes' tent covers the broken roof area so that the breach can be cleaned up under cover and security! Excavation continues….

Exciting news has just reached us of further discoveries on the island of Sanday which is one of the northern Orkney Isles. Jane Downes and her team from the University of Sheffield who are examining Bronze Age burial mounds seem to have uncovered another Neolithic chambered cairn. Although there is a degree of uncertainty over its identification we are going to visit the site this evening and taking photographs. These will appear here tomorrow for your scrutiny, so watch this space….. (CR)


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