One of the delights of working on Orkney is the vast array of wonderful worked bone finds we come across. They do feature in all the phases of activity we have found, but those shown here are all Iron Age (that's the 'long Scottish' Iron Age) and/or Viking/Norse.

The pierced seal-tooth amulet was found a few days back down the bottom end of the site by the sea and looks jolly good now it's been carefully cleaned by Dr Julie Bond (she who must be obeyed). Similarly the spindle whorl (cattle femur head) that I found last week, when cleaned and the mud removed, revealed a lovely decoration.

Return to Rousay II: Part 6 tooth amulat

My end-of day find yesterday (we were just clearing loose prior to pack-up) was a real star find. Found in situ, pretending to be just another bit of small rubble, was half of a beautifully worked whale-bone mattock. Given the lack of wear, it was either just for show or broken during manufacture (sorry about the gloves, I'm very attached to them .... which is more than they are to me).

Return to Rousay II: Part 6 bone object
Return to Rousay II: Part 6 whale bone tools Return to Rousay II: Part 6 bone spindle whorl Return to Rousay II: Part 6 bone pin

We have had several worked bone pins from different parts of the site, some of the more recently recovered 'hipped'-pins – so called due to the slight 'hip' towards the tip designed to stop the pin slipping out of the fabric – are Pictish-Viking in date, and are also being subject to careful cleaning by site co-director Dr Julie Bond.

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

by Jackie McKinley