Tuesday, June 22, 2010

In the Lab

Hey all!

Today was great! I was really tired yesterday after working with the geophys meter in the hot sun so I wasn’t really looking forward to doing anything that might require a lot of labor, Megan felt the same way. Luckily… the gods smiled on us and when Fin asked who wanted to work on cleaning up pottery sherds found on Watergate Street Megan, Kirsten and I were picked! Happy day for us! So off we went to the site house just around the block. Fin soon joined us and showed us two bags of pottery sherds. The sherds had been excavated from a small excavation in town that was taking place for city purposes near a bridge. These sherds were found as a result and removed for analysis. The sherds were clumped with the clay soil they were recovered with so our job was to gently wash and remove all the clay, lay them out to dry and then try to piece as many together as we could. So, we happily set about our task. It took us most of the morning to get the muck off of the pieces and we set them out to dry. Fin came in to check on us and also showed us some of the posters they had made with pictures from a previous site CRDS had worked on. At this site wood tools had been recovered in a peat bog. This site seemed very interesting to have worked on and I wish I could have been there! She asked if we had time to go ahead and hang them up in the site house. Laura and Emma were to come relieve us after lunch and none of us wanted to leave! Fin said some of us would be able to get a tour of St. Patrick’s Cathedral and I was thrilled as I hadn’t yet gotten the chance.

Mark, another CRDS employee gave us the official tour. It was myself, Pearl, Elle and Kieran, an older gentleman from Trim who is also volunteering on site this week. Mark is actually doing his thesis on the Cathedral and it’s importance in Trim’s history as most of the focus is usually on Trim Castle. Saint Loman was left off on the Boyne by Saint Patrick where he converted the locals to Catholicism and founded the church. Mark was of course really knowledgeable as he is doing his thesis but he has also done many excavations in the area including on the road that passes in front of the church where burials were carbon dated to around the 5th century AD which would put them right at the time of St. Patrick! The tower at St. Patrick’s Cathedral is the oldest remaining part standing, I believe dates to before Trim Castle (12th century) but I don’t remember if he said it was the 5th Century or not. It has a spiral staircase that goes up above the bells where we got a beautiful view of Trim. We were able to see the Castle of course, the Yellow Steeple, St. Mary’s Church, The Duke of Wellington pillar and even our site as it is not very far from the site. So I took a picture of our little worker bees on site. It was a great tour and I’d love to read Mark’s thesis after he has completed it so I’m going to try to get his contact info.

After the tour I returned to the house where Kirsten and Megan were still working on the sherds. They had made some great progress. We still didn’t want to leave so we decided to put up the posters up as Fin had requested. Just after we completed that task, Fin returned and rushed us off to the field. Luckily, as we arrived, Jean Marco wanted us all to get an introduction to the survey equipment that Nile, our Survey technician had been using. Nile is taking points to make a 3-D topographic representation of the site in order to better distinguish where walls and other features may be. So, we all got a brief overview of how his survey equipment works and we even got a chance to use it and take a couple of points down.

By the time we had finished it was time to begin cleaning up for the day. It had been a great day as I had gotten to do some lab work and also get a great tour! Tomorrow it looks like we’ll have more planning to do but also hopefully we’ll get a chance to dig more. However, Jean Marco says there is now rain in the forecast, so I’m not sure what they will have us do if it rains. It looks like Thursday our field trip will be to Newgrange and I’m so excited! Everyone says as an archaeologist you must visit that site when you are in Ireland so I hope that goes to plan.

Anyway, miss you all and will talk to you soon! xoxo

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