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Rain stopped all action for the morning so I spent a few hours considering work to date and how it might be best to proceed. There is too much going on in my head to write about it here but I can say that time for reflection is invaluable and perhaps I need to factor that in alongside the practical side of collecting and collating material.

We returned to the site after lunch but as the bad weather continued I went indoors to draw some of the other archaeological activities.

The Lab where archaeology gets technological and sorting the huge number of finds that have to be catalogued and analysed.

Finally the weather cleared enough to draw in the trenches and the sun even came out to cast shadows of the buckets on the grass. I am also enjoying documenting the documentary maker…




A wet and windy day meant intermittent drawing, mainly in the shelter of the trenches.  It was good to get in close to the action and see real traces of Neolithic human activity.

A heap of burnt material piled up against a wall about 5,000 years ago, and iron deposits, which I could use to make pigments from a decaying stone.

A pit has been revealed with a bit of bone in it. Careful preparations for excavating further.

A sagging floor, where one building was built on top of another one.

The beginning and the end of the day. Keeping up with paper work records before continuing to excavate, and stacked buckets and wheelbarrows put away in the barn.


High winds this morning made taking the tarpaulins off a bit of a challenge.

The other side of archaeology – paperwork and endless measuring

Excitements of the day – 1
Getting into a trench and painting a row of little red flags

Excitements of the day – 2
Watching a children’s workshop on Neolithic wall painting

and getting my hands dirty.  I can see the potential for future work using Neolithic pigments…


A very windy day, with variable weather – so, unless I could find shelter from the wind, it was best to concentrate on quick drawings of people

including the visitors’ tour

If you are not a member of a-n, please leave comments for me on Twitter, or on my Facebook page, where I post one of the drawings each day. And don’t forget to keep up with all the action on the Ness of Brodgar Dig Diary, which today features my comments on the first week of my residency, and some of my pictures.

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A second portrait. This is Hugo – and his last day working in Structure 14

The first week in any new place is about getting used to the context and working out what is to be done – and in the case of a residency asking the question “Why am I here?”

Having spent the week responding instinctively to the sights and sounds that caught my eye and ear, I am at last beginning to get a sense of purpose.

Archaeology is highly concentrated on minute detail, which can build a big picture. My work could be to add another layer of overlooked detail, which might contribute to that big picture.

Note: Archaeologists use 6H pencils. I use a 6B…