Monday, 14 June 2010

We arrived at Lochaline early Sunday evening to bright sunshine and blue skies, which were at that time, still MIDGY free. What a perfect way to begin the 2010 NAS field school.

After meeting the NAS Staff and Mark and Annabel Laurence, we all has some dinner cooked by Lee's fair hands, and interacted with the fellow students for the remainder of the evening. A variety of geographic locations are already being represented on the Intro and Part 1, from as far afield as Russia and USA as well as a few of us Brits and many more are due to join in the subsequent days ahead.

The following morning after breakfast, once all us 'students' had has an opportunity to get fully fuelled on coffee and biscuits, we sat down in the Old Post Office to listen to Mary and Sara brief us on the plan for the forth coming days/weeks training and the educational schedule.

The first lecture was a gradual slip into the principles of Archaeology and the roles of the NAS and how we divers will be able to aid future research while having fun with a shared interest. A series of subsequent lectures covered the legislations and four distinct types of artefacts associated with maritime archaeology.

We were shown various recoveries from the shipwreck of the ....XXXX and asked by Sara in true CSI fashion, to identify from physical clues what these artefacts were and would have been used for. No untra violet lights or dramatic theme music was required however! The finds varied from copper alloy pins to coins, musket butt plates and several small percussion flints.

After a hearty lunch and lecture by Mark on 2D surveying it was time to tear us unwillingly away from the PowerPoint presentations and venture out into the sunny car park to then begin practical exercises using tape measures, control/datum points, proformer sheets and various positioned artefacts. It was interesting trying to co-ordinate, in our small groups, how best to record the finds laid out in front of us. We then copied this up into scaled drawings. It turned out tougher than first thought and I can only imagine how the extra elements of reduced visibility, swell and lack of communication will have on tomorrow’s archaeological escapades as we take to the depths (of 3 metres).

Ali Robertson.

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