New Week, New Skills

Hey everyone, I’m back again to give an update on the progress of the fort excavations going into the second week. Since I am working in a different area than the others I shall update you on my section first.

The corner of the principia and the great looking 3rd century road surface.
The corner of the principia and the great looking 3rd century road surface.

I seem to have settled into my current job well, and finding our very lovely 3rd century road surface is quite easy now. Chris and Mary, my fellow volunteers, and I have reached the the corner of the principia (headquarters building) and we are now excavating beside it. This is specifically my section of the road, and I think it’s very interesting and awesome that I am excavating right along a building that was so important to the fort. The three of us have noticed recently that the road has been gradually rising toward the surface of the 4th century road that we are digging up, which suggests that if it continues to rise it might actually meet up with the surface of the 4th century road.

Prem, Rachel, and Marta mapping points with the total station.
Prem, Rachel, and Marta mapping points with the total station.

Now onto Rachel and Prem. The two best buddies continued to work on their road for a bit before they were pulled away to learn how to use the total station with Marta. Since I have not had the chance yet to learn about it myself, Prem and Rachel have been kind enough to explain to me how it works. So here it goes. An individual, in this case Rachel or Prem, will take an adjustable staff to somewhere on the site which needs to be plotted. The total station will shoot invisible lasers (no, not the cool kind of lasers) and reflect them off of the staff in order to determine the geographical position of a single point of a structure or archaeological feature. The process is then continued over many points of the structure or feature.

Marta showing Prem and Rachel the points they just marked using the total station.
Marta showing Prem and Rachel the points they just marked using the total station.

With this information we can plot a two-dimensional map in the total station’s computer in order to build a complete map of the site. The geographical position of finds, which are recorded with another device, the digital level, can be added to this site map latter. This can produce patterns such as where certain objects are found most frequently, or what objects are peculiar to certain rooms within structures. It seems to be quite an interesting process and I can’t wait to try to use the total station myself. However, week two has just begun so who know’s how the week will go and what we will find. Until then, see ya’ll in my next post,

–Mel

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