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COVID-19 Delays Excavation of Endangered Orkney Island Site

Wednesday, January 20, 2021

ORKNEY, SCOTLAND—According to a report in The Scotsman, archaeologists Julie Bond and Stephen Dockrill of Bradford University are concerned that excavation delays caused by the pandemic will result in the significant loss of archaeological information at the 5,500-year-old Knowe of Swandro, which is located on the coast of the island of Rousay. “Every year we are getting big erosion events with storm surges coming into the site and taking material away,” Dockrill said. “The other thing is that the daily tide is coming in and out and every time archaeological material is going into solution.” Bond and Dockrill are particularly concerned about a Neolithic chambered tomb that rests under a large Iron Age roundhouse dated to between 800 and 400 B.C. Large metal blades and evidence of feasting and wine drinking were recovered from the structure. “The roundhouse is showing up a very different sequence to what we’re seeing elsewhere and it would significantly add to our understanding of the Iron Age,” Dockrill added. To read about a VIking hall discovered on Rousay, go to "Skoal!"

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