Friday, 12 June 2015

Ness of Brodgar: Latest from the Lab

Some exciting news for my research at the Ness of Brodgar! I just heard from Earthslides.com that the 2014 samples are well under way being set in resin. I thought readers might be interested in a quick post on the process of creating archaeological thin sections, and I do recommend that you go check out the Facebook page, Hidden Worlds, if you want to investigate this further. Below you can see block of sediment, as collected in the field. These were posted direct from Orkney to Cambridge, wrapped up tight in tissue, tape and bubble wrap, to avoid disturbance during transport. These are carefully unwrapped and air dried over a few weeks, before being transferred into large desiccators. These are the big glass domes you can see below, and they have tight sealing lids that create an air tight seal. Resin is added to the plastic boxes containing the samples, and the whole thing is put under vacuum, using a pump. This removes all the air and draws the resin up into all the little spaces in the block of sediment. The samples will now sit in the fume cupboard for a while until this process is complete, and the resin is set. Then, it is onto the next stage, turning this block of resin into a slide - keep an eye on the blog to see how this happens!

From block of sediment to block of resin! Images by Julie Boreham on Hidden Worlds
I would like to take this opportunity to thank the Society of Antiquaries of Scotland, and the Orkney Archaeology Society, who funded the fieldwork that enables me to collect these samples, and to turn them into thin section slides. And of course, the Ness of Brodgar team, for letting me be involved in such a fantastic project! Blog readers will be aware that I am currently running an IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for the next stage of my work at the Ness. I would also like to highlight that my work is just one small part of a much larger project, and that you can support the excavations themselves, through donating to the Ness of Brodgar Trust (Registered Scottish Charity No: SC044890).

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