Today (Wednesday) we set up a wet sieving station so that we do not need to take all the samples back to Glasgow. All the sand from inside the cist is being sieved so that we can retrieve any tiny bones, such as finger and toe bones. Wet sieving helps the sand to move through the fine sieve.
Kate and Matilda continued to dig the cist and have found a fragment of upper jaw with teeth, arm bones and a patella. So far there has been no sign of any small finger or toe bones, vertebrae and ribs. This might be because they are still buried deeper in the cist undisturbed. If so we should find them tomorrow (Thursday – our last day digging!).
Dr Coleen Batey, a Viking expert from the University of Glasgow, arrived on site today and confirmed that there is nothing Viking or Norse about any of the finds. She kindly gave a site tour to some of our youngest visitors.
Backfilling on Friday so any help at all is very welcome, even for a couple of hours. We have easier jobs for those not wanting to shovel such as walking over the trenches to compress the sand down.
The other two trenches being dug are interesting as they have produced quite a few pieces of prehistoric pot and flint. This shows that the cist was not an isolated feature in the landscape but was surrounded by ‘activity’, perhaps domestic or perhaps associated with other burials. More detailed analysis will be undertaken by specialists back in Glasgow.