In yet another rapid about turn in the weather – normal for Orkney – we had a perfect combination of just the right amount of heat to avoid cumbersome coats and enough wind to blow away the annoying flies (which are attracted by the abundant supply of kelp on the beach). Although, one of the Site Directors Steve (who is a true perfectionist when it comes to site photos) was unimpressed with the amount of sun casting too many deep shadows.

It has meant brilliant conditions for excavation; I’m back in the little Pictish building. The removal of one flagged floor (see yesterday's blog) revealed an earlier level of flagging (bit like having a new carpet), under most of which was a thin layer of beach sand laid to give an even surface for the flags.   

The Pictish building

In one corner (to the right of the image) there was a third, earlier layer of flagging over which the sand was not needed. The room had been created using three earlier sections of wall and had its own rather 'gash' section added at one end (bottom left). The different qualities of build were clear, but we have yet to work out exactly how they related to one another. Below all this looks to be fairly vacuous rubble so it should, once planned using photogrammetry by the talented Lindsey Kemp, go down pretty fast to the next phase.

Today's star find was a beautifully crafted spindle whorl, which together with Lindsey's work can be viewed on the Swandro web page, as can all the amazing developments on the rest of the site (which features more walls than you can shake a stick at)!

Follow the story on the Swandro Dig Diary; and on Twitter @SwandroOrkney and @WessexArch.

by Jackie McKinley