With the arrival of renowned archaeo-metallurgist Dr Gerry McDonnell, the ‘Pictish Smithy’ − part excavated last year − has been re-opened for further investigation. Gerry is going to be undertaking XRF analysis on the material forming the floor of the smithy − which it appears was exclusively for bronze working (ie ‘posh’ stuff) - to clarify the chemical make-up, which may reflect the date of the smithing activity (it’s great having other specialists here, always learning something new!).

The Pictish Smithy

Meanwhile, having removed a load of collapsed corbelling (a form of roofing using overlapping ‘flagstones’, remnants of which are evident in the section) yours truly is busy exposing to back wall of an upper cell constructed against the outer wall of the chambered cairn. See Swandro web page for more.

By Jacqueline McKinley, Principal Osteoarchaeologist