Monday, July 1, 2013

A Summer of Analysis and Report-Writing

Some of you may have noticed the lack of blog posts for the summer field season of 2013...the reason is that we've taken a summer off to finish analyzing our finds from the 2009-2012 field schools.  But don't worry, we're planning to return to Mission Escambe in the summer of 2014, with a finished 4-year report in hand and a specific plan to fill in some of the gaps in what we've already learned about the site.

And please take the opportunity to visit the 2013 UWF summer field school web sites, including the UWF Maritime Archaeology Field School Blog, YouTube Channel, and Facebook Page, and also the UWF Campus Survey Field School Facebook Page.

Below are some pictures from the ongoing labwork relating to the mission dig.

One major task of labwork is to digitize the field maps of plan views and profiles for all the excavation units.  The picture above shows Michelle Pigott working on re-scaling and combining original drawings.  Michelle has also spent much of the summer conducting detailed metric analysis of mission-era Native American ceramics from Escambe, which will form part of her own thesis project.

Once the maps are digitized and cleaned up a bit, they are then entered into a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) database, where they are spatially referenced so that we can examine all the map information from different units together.  Above, Jennifer Melcher works her magic on the computer.

Continuing artifact analysis includes work on European trade goods by Danielle Dadiego, above, for her thesis project exploring the role of Mission Escambe in the colonial economy of 18th-century Pensacola

A major task of this summer's work has been to complete the processing of flotation samples taken during the past four years, most of which were added last year (2012).  Michelle Pigott, above, has spent a number of days working to reduce the huge volume of dirt into small bags with light and heavy fractions, following up on earlier work this winter and spring by Lauren Walls and Morgan Smith (see previous blog post).

One of the more interesting pieces of equipment that was acquired not long ago by Dr. Ramie Gougeon in UWF Anthropology is a 3-D laser scanner, which can create three-dimensional scans of artifacts or other objects, such as the late prehistoric potsherd pictured above.

The image above shows the raw scan on the computer screen (yet to be "cleaned up" of additional elements such as the platform and arm) with the original object in the background.

The lead bale seal above was scanned twice at highest resolution in order to cover all points on the surface.

The final scan of the seal shows fine details such as the lettering on the stamped surface, likely corresponding to the maker of the items being sealed (probably cloth) and perhaps also the measurement or some other designation for the item.