Yesterday we finally began excavations at AlDf-30. This site is a strange one, nestled in a fen about 350 metres from the coastline – a very long way to haul baskets of clams from the beach. We are here searching for a Middle Maritime Woodland (ca. 1450 B.P.) house floor left by an ancient wigwam-like dwelling.
We spent the morning laying in a grid system to use as a reference to precisely record the position of all of our finds (thus establishing their spatial relationships to each other). We used a digital transit (a precision instrument for measuring angles and distances) to establish an east-west baseline for our grid and then we triangulated all of our other grid points from that using measuring tapes. We will also use the digital transit to take surface elevations for each of the grid units.
With the grid established, excavation began and we finally took out our iPads to document the work. The crew seemed to take to them right away; they all agreed that the iPad forms weren’t much different from the traditional forms and that the tablets were performing well. They’ve already started using the Pages app in creative ways to write up their daily logs (including inserting photos taken directly on their iPads). The only issue we’ve had with the tablets so far is that we have had to be very careful when we use bug repellent (the mosquitoes are terrible at this site) because the spray can easily melt the cases and screen protectors! I’ll have much more to say about the iPad portion of the project in coming posts, but for now here are some photos of them in action.