The Field 2014: reports

The first workdays involved me sitting in the house helping create the maps needed for the report the director needed to submit. Every one else started excavating around the house where we stay, which could be as old as the 17th century.

GIS is a wonderful tool, but I usually have to accompany those days I sit in front of the computer with a good quantity of whiskey; my go-to in Ireland being Bushmills Honey Whiskey!

Not only did I have to generate the maps, but I was asked by the director to re-type the field notes as those submitted to her by another field tech were not, let’s say up to her standards (honestly mine either, they were seriously lacking in information). There are pros and cons to being the only tech savvy person on a field crew, but those are the woes of a senior investigator.

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These are the types of maps I needed to create. The initial phase of our project is to do large soil chemistry surveys over the chosen project area, specifically elevated phosphate levels which is an indicator of human occupation. We try and sample every 50 meters over as much of the 5km project area as possible. In the map above is the general phosphate results for these fields (blue) and the plotted artifact scatter from our field walking. We use these maps to determine the best site to place our test trenches. Unfortunately, this field, while very interesting with artifacts indicating a Bronze Age burial, is rented out to a farmer who plants barley for micro-breweries. Since we’re there during peak growing season, we were not given permission to dig.

Loneliness

The utter feeling of being alone is kept at bay, when my daughter is with me. When she’s around, life revolves around her, there’s always someone there who needs me. It’s when she’s gone for the weekend with him that I realize how much I need her. It’s when she’s gone that I realize how incredibly lonely I really am.