Monday, June 14, 2010

First Day of Field School

Today was the first day of field school.

Mary instructed us that we would need to be waiting by the road by 8:30 for Fin (the lead archaeologist) to pick us up. So Melissa, Gwen and I were up, ate our breakfast with our sack lunch made and were waiting by 8:30. Well, I think tomorrow we won't have to be out there until 8:45 because she doesn't get to the other girls cottages until 8:40 :). So Fin is short for Finola. (I've alway's liked that name). She's about a middle aged woman I'd say early 50's. We got in the CRDS van and headed off to Trim. Well, I found out that the site is right near the SuperValu that we found yesterday (good to know). We got to the Black Friary site and it's got a wood fence around it but that's the only thing keeping it from the urban place surrounding it. In the distance is Trim Castle and the "Yellow Steeple" as I learned. Fin gave us a brief overview of the history of the site which I'll have to get more detail later. Fin went off to pick up another group who was staying in Trim. A mother with her son and neice (Susan, Alex and... I can't remember her name).

Anyway, the site is a friary founded by the Dominican Monks in 1273 (I think I got that year right...) on the outer walls of Trim. There has previously been a small excavation where they recovered some remains. That area is believed to be part of the friary's cemetery. A geophysical survey was done in the 1980s where the archaeologist demarcated where he believed the cloister, kitchen, living quarters and tower were. We are going to be trying to find remaining walls and possibly floors. This project is anticipated to continue for at least 10 years. It's quite exciting to be at the beginning of a project as I've only ever been involved in the tail end of what people have already worked on. Maybe I can come back in the future and be a continuing part of the process! Currently, the site has been derelict for a long time. There are no standing walls and it looks like an empty field with odd shaped hills (probably where walls are hidden) and there was LOTS of grass that has been cut, and plenty of rubbish that people have dumped. There are also so evil plants with prickley's called nettles that will poke you and cause a bump if you itch it. They are our nemisis at the site!
Well the day was mostly filled with familiarizing ourselves with the site. Kirsten, Elle, Megan and I helped the geophysicist, Ian, finish our grid. After a short break, we broke into two teams to choose areas where we think a test trench should be dug. We kept the same group and picked a spot on a rock outcrop that Fin believes was part of one of the walls. We took our measurements for the area and the cross section and by that time it was time to pack up. We were then dropped off at Mary's where Maeve again greeted us. We ate a quick dinner and Maeve informed us that we were going to make brown bread (another staple in Ireland) and scones.

This was great fun and we took all of our utensils and baking equipment to a table in the backyard where we all took part in making the brown bread. It was actually quite easy, as were the scones and they came out pretty good. They will be in our lunch tomorrow! :) Mary is actually quite picky about the way things are done and she will sometimes come over and "show" us... aka... do it for us. But she has been doing it longer than we have! :) After we tried our scones and bread it was time to clean up for bed... or so I thought. After I had gotten out of the shower I heard that the other girls (Kirsten, Elle, Megan and Emma) came over for a chat. As I am upstairs typing I hear them laughing away. I think I look too much of a mess to go down there but I might peak my head in. Well, goodnight for now! I'll update again tomorrow.

1 comment:

Serenity said...

Glad to see you're enjoying yourself...will you be using the lingo by the time you get home?