“Mark Shurr stood in the dry sun outside on the grounds of Bailly Homestead, holding a pole with a prism on top like Indiana Jones out of a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark.” -Heather Augustyn, Times Correspondent
Having your professor compared to Indiana Jones on the second day of the dig is some of the best encouragement a budding archaeology student could ask for. A picture of yourself on the front page of another newspaper doesn’t hurt either. The first article describes the dig while the second one just has a picture with an article that is not related to the dig. I may or may not have bought several copies of the paper with my picture on the front…
The Times reporter was actually very close in her description of my professor. An inquisitive man and wonderful teacher, Dr. Shurr was in the process of teaching us how to use a Total Station also known as a transit. The machine is used to create a topographical map of an area by measuring elevation. A prism pole, which bears startling significance to the one used in the Indiana Jones movie, is positioned above the location you wish to measure. Using the instrument, you sight the prism on the top of the pole through the instrument and calculate the elevation, distance, location on the grid (northing and easting), and bearing with the push of a button!
If you can’t tell, I’m having an absolute blast. I’ve learned how to establish a topographical map, build a grid for resistivity surveying, and dig shovel probes. One of the most fun things has been surveying underground using the resistivity instruments. By taking resistance measurements between the probes on the instrument every meter, we were able to see whether something was hiding underground. This type of surveying revolutionized archaeology allowing archaeologists to “see” underground so as to not waste any digging units. The technology is rather exciting.
We start digging 1×2 meter units on Tuesday. We’re hoping for more of what we have found thus far and even more exciting historical artifacts. We’ve found handcut nails, decorative glass, 18th century pottery and a metal object that could be a mirror frame. I can’t wait to discover more!