The Modern Antiquarian. Stone Circles, Ancient Sites, Neolithic Monuments, Ancient Monuments, Prehistoric Sites, Megalithic MysteriesThe Modern Antiquarian


Chambered Tomb


Thank you Hamish for another wonderful twa hours. A fortnight ago Orcadians went for free, but that weekend the weather was pish poor so I came now. Still a bargain - not much comes from a fiver in life nowadays and he has made vast improvements for folk, like new signage and a fresh tarmac-ed road for starters. In the near future Hamish is looking to have his farmland geofizzed for a day, but needs must he pays for it his sen. Apart from the passage in the tomb is now fully roofed (with contrasting slabs to show the differ). In the rotunda by the fishpond the feed from the tomb is now shown on a peedie widescreen monitor, the output being guidable to boot.
At the inner end of the passage you now have to kneel down and step down backwards - better for most than a trolley but you canna stand up straight once inside.Of course this tomb hasn't been excavated there completelyto the natural, so one day this stae of affairs might change. Since my previous, chance, visit the other chamber has been opened to the public and the one facin the passage too. There isn't much to see as yet of the new chamber he found (contrary to some archaeologists opinions) under the passage itself though it does go back aways, as revealed by penlight. I had had visions of sticking my digital under the lintel and revealing wonders, but at the moment entry is blocked by the original closure material with just mebbe an inch open directly under the lintel ! Of course some would object to poking in a fingerhole (oops, pardon my French, void) even with a camera. However the way one should look at it is photographic record is essential in case something changes before it is professionally looked at, mistakes are made in excavation and (in the present archaeological climate) promised weeks can turn into decades or even never. Unfortunately the completed roof does make the in situ markings less easy to have a proper gander out.
Luckily there are several fine examples of marked slabs in the rotunda exhibition. Here we were then shown some of the organic material recovered to date. Hamish was very pleased withe the deep interest shown in the skeletal remains shown by not only those with a general interest in physiology but also those of a professional bent such as surgeons and dentists. We were allowed to handle very healthy looking teeth and also less healthy bones that showied clear evidence of arthritis [?osteoporosis]. One tooth the size of a small pearl came from a toddler. As well as limbs we saw ribs and the kneebone of a ten or eleven year old. Intersting though these were best were the fragments of skulls, every one of them rather thin apart from a very thick piece that had protected the brain stem. Even so it looked overthick, like four heavy-duty homemade ashtrays welded together. Finally Hamish passed round pieces of shaped pot decorated in various ways. If I heard him correctly there are thought to be two different traditions present. Certainly there are also several kinds of decoration, both by stroke and impression. We agreed with him that the stand-out potsherd was one very dark piece, almost black, that appeared as if someone had made downward slashes with a knife point all the way around the rim - apparently this one is very much a mystery at present, perhaps ?? a one-off.
wideford Posted by wideford
16th May 2012ce

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