Sunday, 27 June 2010

Back to work today after a well earned day off with another NAS Part III course. Unfortunately, maritime archaeology does not end with the diving of sites and retrieving of artifacts, as these must also be recorded. However, Dr Colin kindly offered his expertise to elucidate us on the finer points of Archaeological Illustration

There had been murmurings for several days as several of us expressed our doubt in our artistic ability, however some very good sketches were produced by all as we practiced on bottles, pots and sherds. We learned it is actually easier to produce a good cross section from broken pottery or glassware, though ironically many artifacts retrieved from maritime sites are often intact. However, the idea of “accidently” breaking a bottle to obtain a good cross section would not be considered good archaeological practice.

After lunch it was time to illustrate and photograph our six “finds” from the John Preston. Beautiful sketches were produced while we waited for the fickle Scottish sun to appear to aid our photography. Suitable photographs were produced, though there was some snickering from the back of the group at the antics of Dr Colin and our expert Russian photographer as they disappeared under the drop sheet to record the plate sherd on the light box.

A “fun” dive on the Thesis was offered for the afternoon, with the hardcore Brits/Russian all eagerly taking up the offer. However, the cowardly Americans/Australian opted out, bleating about “cold” “rain” and “wind”, as our idea of “fun” diving may more encompass say, the Caribbean or South-East Asia.

Though for UK diving conditions it would be hard to beat the Sound of Mull with its relatively protected waters and good visibility. And the spacious dive boat the Sound Diver is the best ever (especially its stern lift – particularly useful for hauling nautical archaeologists and all there gear out of the water!). And even as I write, the sun is shining brightly….oops, no its gone again.

So all up, another educational and entertaining day in the NAS fieldschool – Michelle

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