The photo of my corner of the Art Hut represents half the artists’ space. Yesterday was Open Day and we had 100 visitors. As we can only fit in two or three people at one time, it was a busy day. The only drawing achieved was a quick sketch from the Art Hut doorway of three of the diggers during their tea-break.
It is now the last week of the dig and everybody is trying to get unfinished business cleared up before the trenches are covered over to protect them until next season. There is a lot of planning going on – and not in the sense of looking forward. Planning in archaeological terms means making a carefully drawn plan of a piece of the trench. Even though advanced technology can make detailed photographic records of the site, drawing is still an important element of the documentation. One of the archaeologists told me that there is currently some debate on whether drawing still serves any purpose. She personally feels that the subjective nature of drawing acknowledges the interpretive nature of archaeology, and is a way of passing on her thought process to the next person who works in that context. Obviously this appeals to me – as a combination of drawing and human perception.
So while the archaeologists were drawing, I engaged in some archaeological analysis in my own haphazard artist’s manner. Over the season Martha the ‘Rock Lady’ has been giving me little pots of ‘sweeties’ – pieces of silt stone, which I have been sorting into ones that make good marks on paper and putting those into small bags. They have now been graded according to colour and assembled into a colour chart.
The Ness of Brodgar dig relies on donations and support from many people. This does not always take the form of hard cash. Almost everyone on site is a volunteer and this is our method of support. Then there is Brian from the local Zero Waste charity, who comes every day to bring the diggers various food stuffs, including home-made hot soup and cakes made with ingredients that have been rejected for sale. These gifts are delicious and most appreciated – especially on a cold wet day.
If you, or someone you know, would like to make a donation the dig, this can be done online at: www.nessofbrodgar.co.uk/crowdfunder