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The last day of my 2018 residency

The last day of this year’s dig and there were very few people left on site. Everyone is tired as they wind down from a rather intense season. My adrenaline is seeping away and it’s difficult to think clearly or […]

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Week 8, Thursday

Today saw all the trenches covered over with tarpaulins held down with tyres, to protect them until next season’s dig. It felt quite sad to see everything that has been revealed this year being hidden. But it has been an […]

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Week 8, Wednesday

Today was the last day that the site was open to the public. But while the last tours for visitors went round, the archaeologists were starting some serious covering up of the trenches. First with sandbags. Then tyres were rolled […]

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Week 8, Tuesday

A very different atmosphere this week all round. The weather is autumnal, i.e. cold and windy with occasional horizontal rain. Visitors are keen to engage with the Art Hut – maybe to shelter from the weather.  In the trenches it’s […]

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Week 8, Monday

In recovery after the Open Day, so assessed the collection of pigments. It would be good to complete my ‘picture’ but there are more pressing matters during this final week. Having said that, I find my playing with pigment becoming […]

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Open Day

A very busy day on site. I managed one drawing of some interaction outside the Finds Hut. Nearly 300 people visited the Art Hut. So, as I needed to be around, it seemed a good opportunity to play with pigments. […]

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Week 7 Thursday

Today is the last day for many on the dig. Tomorrow (Friday) will be a day off as Sunday is an Open Day. There is an air of closing down. Trenches are being cleaned rather than dug, and areas are […]

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Week 7, Wednesday

As the end of the dig draws near everyone is concentrating on what is most urgent to achieve. In Trench Y, which is due to be filled in as they have not found ‘the wall’, work is focussed on the […]

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Week 7, Monday

It has been suggested that my work on human activity at the dig should be linked to the official Ness of Brodgar documentation – specifically when I draw a find being excavated the drawing should reference the context number of […]

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Week 6, Friday

A day of contrary expectations and trauma. I should know better that to have any expectations of Orkney weather. Hot soup for lunch and extra clothing resulted in a fine sunny day with a mild breeze rather than fierce wind. […]

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Week 6, Thursday

There is no wall in Trench Y. Down near the loch edge they found a large promising stone – but underneath it had a plough mark, which dates its arrival in position somewhere in the early 20th century. So the […]

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Week 6, Wednesday

The Rapture of the Archive For me this is the moment of human connection with the past – a dizzying flash of recognition that something in my life is the same as another human being long dead. My act of […]

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Week 6, Tuesday

Despite my cavalier attitude yesterday, today I made a list of things to do in the remaining two weeks. It consists mainly of portraits, which are my preferred way of having conversations with the archaeologists. Some people are shy of being […]

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Week 6, Monday

Week 6: only another two weeks before things start to wind down. It’s time to concentrate, to focus on important things and not get distracted by random events – or is it? Today I enjoyed seeing yet another extension to […]

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Week 5 Friday

One of those days when the morning is so stimulating that it doesn’t matter if rain stops work in the afternoon. Sinead, the supervisor in Structure 10 came to tell me that they had just uncovered a beautiful stone axe.  […]

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Returning to the site

Back on site after a week away. A lot has happened. Small extensions in both Trench T and Trench Y. A hearth has been discovered in Trench Y.  Does that mean they will leave it open for next year instead […]

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An interim report

As I take a week off from being on site, I’ve been wondering what has been achieved so far this year. Here are some thoughts and a few images from the past three weeks. At the start, I filled a […]

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Week 3, Friday

It is the end of the third week and some archaeologists are leaving, which means making sure I draw and interview people before they go. Drawing portraits is a perfect way to have a sound recorder running to hear my sitter’s stories and views on the […]

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Week 3, Thursday

My relationship with the artefacts found on the dig. I need to be clear about this.  I am putting the thing into the context in which it was found.  That means not only drawing a stone in the hole in […]

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Week 3, Wednesday

It seems that for everyone the best laid plans are perpetually disrupted. This morning, one of the archaeologists told me that each night she makes plans for the next day, which dissolve almost as soon she arrives on site. In […]

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Week 3, Tuesday

A deeper sense of involvement on site today. Not that I don’t already feel immersed in the dig. The archaeologists are increasingly showing me what is going on – from sharing a find to explaining the process. Some things are […]

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Week 3, Monday

Yesterday was the first Open Day on the Ness of Brodgar site. We had over 200 visitors in the Art Hut, which meant going out to draw in the trenches was difficult. So I began a repeat of my ‘play’ with […]

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Week 2 Thursday

A first oil painting on site. One of the benefits of spending a whole afternoon on one piece of work is listening to, and learning about, the ongoing the progress of the excavation – interspersed of course with discussions on […]

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Week 2 Wednesday

Lunchtime on the grass.  This week there are a lot more people working on site, with another group coming next week. Down by the waterside, Trench Y continues to prove interesting. A change in the earth colour and texture suggests […]

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Week 2 Tuesday

After days of sunshine last week, the weather has become more typical of the Orkney I know. It may be cold and grey but the colours and the clouds sitting on top of the hills are a gift to paint and draw. […]

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