The weather has been beautiful over the last few days, and we’ve made the most of it. On Tuesday, we began the process of creating a 1-metre grid system over the AlDf-24 site, the main target of our excavations. Archaeologists use these grids to precisely document the location of artifacts, features, and architecture in three dimensions. It’s absolutely essential that they are accurate to within a few millimeters.
During the morning we had good success locating the edges and corners of test pits that we had excavated in 2008 and 2009, and set up our digital transit over the north east peg. The base lines went in perfectly straight and all was well, or so we thought.
Feeling confident, we set up our transit over the next peg to begin setting our next line. This is where frustration set in. For some reason, when we double-checked the position of our pegs, some were off by up to two centimeters! Something was seriously wrong, and we spent far too much time double-checking the position of all of our pegs. Finally, we realized the peg over which we had positioned our transit was the one that was off – by about half a centimeter (errors compound when setting up grid units). We repositioned this peg, and finished gridding both areas of the site easily.
Today we spent the morning with archaeologists from the Nova Scotia Museum. We took them to sites we intend to excavate, as well as others excavated in the 1950’s by John Erskine. In the afternoon we went to the AlDf-30 site, where we created another grid over the midden and what we hope is a house feature. This went much better, as we were very careful to ensure our baselines were accurately positioned.
Having constructed our grid systems, we are now ready to start excavating. Tomorrow (yes, we work on holidays!) we break ground at AlDf-30. Perhaps we’ll celebrate Canada Day with a frosty root beer – the perfect reward after another hot day amongst the sarsaparilla.