Samson with Aidan

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Site blog, 10th July 2007.

Today was a day of four important yet separate archaeological expeditions from our base in St Martins.

On St Martins the excavation team continued to auger down to try and discover the ancient Bronze Age land surface, the discovery of which could help in bettering our understanding of the approach to the Knackyboy monument and the impact it may have had in the past looming over the land, visible from the other tombs and from which the other tombs could also be spotted, with the now flooded lowlands of Scilly, possibly the source of the mythical Lyonesse, lying behind.

On Samson the survey team and I checked the position of the EDM total station base stations from last year and tied them into the national grid by backsighting to a bolt of known coordinates left on the island by the ordinance survey. By doing this we can check that the wooden pegs left from last year have not moved and we can use them as points of known coordinates to set up the EDM during the work yet to commence on Samson and so accurately record the position of walls, features and finds. We also set up two new surveying base stations to help record the possible gig house on the neck of the island and the as yet poorly documented buildings beyond the crest of south hill. I also took the opportunity to test the ability of the EDM’s 5 times magnification to get a close up look at bishops rock lighthouse, spy on passing boats, and generally get all the voyeurism out of my system before national archaeology week.

On Teän the geophysics team set out to try and locate the buried walls of the early-modern farmhouse and search for other buried features. As yet the results are being processed and are in flux to some degree, but as opening the box can determine is the cat is dead or alive I am sure some event will occur to collapse this academic wavespace and ensure we no longer have both useful results and no useful results, as is the current situation. The use of the GPS was however far more decisive and with the GPS base station set up we can now take the position of the GPS rovers to within a few cm as the base station will continually check the position of it’s stationery mass and by comparing this to the satellites and other base stations tell the rovers where they are in relation to objects on the ground as well to orbiting multimillion dollar patriotic shrapnel, creating a far more accurate signal (legend has it the GPS is more accurate when the USAF is operating as air force top brass in the pentagon makes the GPS system deliberately unreliable except when it is needed by American fighter-bombers. This is probably an archaeological urban myth, but it is still worthwhile doing surveying when there’s a war on the news, just in case). Militarily ambitions aside (all your base station belong to us), with the Base station working well on Teän we should find surveying the island much simpler. The continued excavation of the roman midden and post roman hut also vomited forth a ridiculous amount of animal finds, making me quite envious as I was working there yesterday and didn’t find as much preserved animal bone as the others.

And the fourth mission of such importance it overshadows these?

FINDING MY BOOTS!

Yesterday when the planning boards blew away on Teän I, bravely and nobly in the spirit of self sacrifice, leapt up gazelle like (but in a totally masculine way) and grabbed the board before it went in the briny, saving us all from fishing it out of the drink and the evil smell of wet permatrace. However I was in the act of changing into my sandals so I could navigate the rocks to get on the boat back without wetting my boots at the time, and so rather than remain unwetted my boots remained unremembered. As a result rather than get soggy hoping through the surf to the transport they endured a violent undersea odyssey (Das Boot?). So Ian was despatched to track down the errant stealies and recovered one of the pair. And so the prodigal footwear, righty, came home. Alas his sinister brother is still M.I.A, and if the magnetometer dos not pick him up tomorrow (waste of Uni resources? Misuse of equipment? What misuse of equipment?) then perhaps realisation of his loss will dawn. But as yet the other shoe has yet to drop.

Yrs, Aidan

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