noninvasive survey

Geophysics at Tintagel Castle: Non-invasive work ahead of the excavations

I am cheating on Day of Archaeology at little, as I am going to talk about work we at TigerGeo did in May, but that is being used to inform the very-much-happening-on-July-29th excavations at Tintagel Castle. We’ve been really excited to see the excavations progress over the last few weeks and can’t wait to get our hands on the reports and plans to go back to our own data with.

 

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Just getting the gear onto site was a challenge!

While there has been a lot of media attention about the excavations (see Sue’s excellent piece for the insider perspective), the geophysical surveys happened without much fanfare in May, in order to give us time to process the data and report it back to the dig team at CAU. We thought it might be interesting to have an insight into the work we did on site and the iterative process of interpreting, getting feedback and revisiting the data that we are engaged in. Most of the time, we don’t get such a great chance to see the excavations that follow our surveys so this is fantastic for us as we will be able to update our thinking and interpretations in detail.

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Magnetic Susceptibility readings being taken on the lower reaches of the southern terrace

So what did we get up to? The excavation team didn’t want to make such a drastic intervention on the site blind. They had target areas, based on what was already known or assumed about the site and asked us to look at them in more detail to allow them to better target their excavations. They were particularly interested in finding buildings from the post-roman period that had lain undisturbed by recent archaeologists, so they could look at them with fresh eyes and modern scientific methods. Any excavation is inherently destructive, and on sites as unique as Tintagel, it is important to minimise the impact of destructive research, so to help them do this we came up with a package of four complimentary methods:

  • Ground Penetrating Radar, which should be able to detect buried walls and surfaces
  • Earth Resistance Survey, which should detect the same things as the GPR, but using different properties of the material, giving us a ‘double chance’ to find them
  • Magnetic Susceptibility, a method that looks at how magnetisable a material is, telling us things about the presence of certain forms of iron. This can help distiguish between different activities taking place on site: we’d expect higher MS in areas of industry or settlement thanks to burning or heating, than we would in storage areas, for example
  • Terrestrial Laser Scanning, to produce highly detailed surface models to pin down the geophysical data but also very acurately located biulding platforms that had been recorded over the years by site archaeologists.
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This isn’t a photograph, it’s part of the point cloud generated by the laser scanner. You can see the team on the right trying to stay out of the scan!

A lot of fun was had on site getting ourselves and our equipment into the right places. Unlike the dig team, because we had to be quite mobile, with heavy gear, we needed to use a rope-access team to provide safety lines for us, so there were a lot of logistics to contend with around making sure we could cover the right areas. We were on site for a total of about 8 days, and really enjoyed talking to visitors to the site about what we were doing and why: people were particularly interested in the laser scanner and we’ve had to edit a lot of tourists (and seagulls) out of our point clouds!

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KC getting the scanner as far along the southern terrace as possible!

So what did we find out? The earth resistance and GPR surveys taken together confirmed the locations of some of the walls and floors that have subsequently been found in the trenches, and hinted that the archaeology on the southern terrace had a different character than that on the eastern area. The magnetic susceptibility data also suggested clear differences between the two areas, with low values on the eastern area and higher values with internal patterning on the southern terrace. This suggested to us that on the southern terrace people were living or working, using fire either for heat and cooking or for industrial purposes. We could also see come strong patches of enhancement that lay between what were thought to be buildings, so we suggested there may be one larger building here instead. The eastern area showed no settlement related enhancement. So were the buildings there perhaps storehouses? Many of the already excavated buildings in this area have been interpreted as stores rather than dwellings.

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Earth resistance underway (with ropes!) on the southern terrace

The laser scans were useful not only to us but to the excavation team as well as they will form the basis for the topographical data being collected about the site. We were able to use them to make important topographic corrections to our radar profiles, without which interpretation would have been very difficult!

GPR survey on the southern terrace: this is where one of the walls was found

GPR survey on the southern terrace: this is where one of the walls was found

So, what next? Well, our first and most exciting job is going to be to get all the plans and sections back in from the excavation team and see how they match up with our interpretation, especially of the radar: we were able to survey a larger area than could be excavated, so we can refine our interpretation based on the dig and better predict what other walls and floors lie on the southern terrace. Ideally, we’d like to come back and do even more radar and see if we can cover the entire southern terrace: this might give us the best chance of understanding the exciting structures there and their immediate context. We would also like to do more scanning to provide detailed topographic data for the entire islands. The Tintagel Research Project is set to continue, so watch this space….

You can see more photos from our work on facebook!

You wouldn't beleive how many of these we had to delete from the sky in our scans!

You wouldn’t beleive how many of these we had to delete from the sky in our scans!

 

Day of Archaeology with the EAMENA project

Friday is usually the day when a traditional Monday to Friday 9-5 worker is closing off their week of work and getting ready for two days of luxurious weekend, right? Well, not so for this archaeologist. It is a busy time of year for us – it is summer and all the universities are on teaching breaks, but we are not using the opportunity to conduct fieldwork. We are busy at our computers getting ready for a conference: the opportunity to get together with other specialists, share ideas and research, and gain active feedback. Tomorrow I, along with two of my EAMENA colleagues (Michael Fradley and Andrea Zerbini) and our research collaborator Jérémie Schiettecatte (CNRS), are presenting at the Seminar for Arabian Studies at The British Museum.

We will tell you all about the conference in a later blog (on our EAMENA website where you can also find out more about our project) – for here and now for the Day of Archaeology I would like to give you a hint about all the work that is going into our presentation.

Map prepared by Andrea Zerbini.

Map prepared by Andrea Zerbini.

We (the EAMENA project) have chosen three case study areas in different regions of Yemen to conduct a remote survey assessment of archaeological/heritage sites using publicly accessible satellite imagery. Ground surveys had been conducted in all of these areas and we are using the results of these studies as comparative data sets. Tomorrow we will be presenting our initial findings and what we can learn by comparing our data with the previous studies. This tests the validity of EAMENA’s remote approach for a regional assessment of Yemen’s archaeology, allows us to develop methods to improve our methodology, and demonstrates what benefits can be gained by a collaborative approach between remote and ground surveys.

Collaborating internationally on such a large study is a feat of communication – endless emails, shared online folders and documents, and video calls. Working in a team on our research has the benefit that we can all work to our strengths and complement each other’s approaches. The EAMENA team conducted the initial satellite imagery survey of more than 20,000 square kilometres of the landscape. Jérémie’s insight and familiarity with the archaeology of Yemen on the ground has been a huge benefit in understanding and processing the potential sites located by the remote survey. Andrea has been working on producing maps of the site distributions in ArcGIS, and these have been a revelation. They demonstrate visually the benefits of a regional approach to gathering data and quickly demonstrate differences in extents and concentrations of sites. This last week of finalising the presentation of our initial results into just 20 minutes has been intense. The difficulty today is making sure we are all on the same page when it comes time to present. I am constantly switching back between everyone’s notes on what we wish to cover during our presentation and making sure that the presentation comes together as a cohesive whole.

So why Yemen? The EAMENA project considered it appropriate to start investigating the archaeology of the region as a priority when reports began to indicate that incidental and possible targeted damage to archaeological and heritage sites was escalating in 2015 due to the civil war which had broken out in March. UNESCO called for an ‘Emergency Action Plan for the Safeguarding of Yemen’s Cultural Heritage’ in July 2015. The general unrest of the region has also contributed to a possible renewed wave of damage to local shrines. The vulnerability of the region at this point in time was compounded when two cyclones made landfall in late 2015 (for comparative satellite imagery of Cyclone Chapala’s impact see the NASA Earth Observatory website).

These disasters alerted us to the need for an assessment of the archaeology and heritage across the region as a whole, focusing not just on damage through conflict, but damage as the result of all activity. This could be used not only to inform current heritage priorities for local and international parties during this time of conflict, but those in the future, when Yemen will rebuild and development will occur with the potential for massive investment in infrastructure. Our first step was to start approaching researchers and specialists who have been working in Yemen, as well as the international (e.g. UNESCO) and national organisations (e.g. Yemen’s General Organisation for Antiquities and Museums (GOAM)) currently involved. Jérémie Schiettecatte was the first individual researcher to start an active collaboration with EAMENA. To date we have c. 35,500 sites for Yemen entered into our database which we have developed from the ARCHES platform. Another potential c. 8,600 sites will be added to these from the case studies we have most recently conducted.

A screenshot of the EAMENA ARCHES platform with distribution of currently entered sites for Yemen.

A screenshot of the EAMENA ARCHES platform with distribution of currently entered sites for Yemen.

Attending this conference is a way for us to present our preliminary results in a forum of specialists on the region. The feedback we receive will be integral in informing our research approach. It is also incredibly important for us to form networks and partnerships with the people and specialists of the regions we are investigating. Preparing the presentation material on top of our normal project work is demanding, but the dividends are extremely beneficial and well worth the effort.

‘Vesuvius, fare well until my return.’ A Non-Invasive Archaeological Research Project on the Shops of Roman Pompeii.

Via delle Scuole, Pompeii looking towards Mt Vesuvius. Copyright Sera Baker.

Via delle Scuole streetscape in Region 8, Pompeii looking towards Mt Vesuvius. Copyright Sera Baker, 2016.

Vesuvius and I have a little one-to-one chat each time I visit Pompeii in southern Italy. It’s the first thing and the last thing I do on every fieldwork and research visit. Without Vesuvius I couldn’t be the archaeologist and researcher that I am. 

As a Roman archaeologist specialising in socio-cultural and economic examinations of ancient Pompeii and the early Roman Empire I have visited the ancient city countless times in the past 15 years. I feel like I know the city like the back of my hand: entering at the Porta Marina gate, sharing greetings with the Pompeii superintendency staff and custodians who I haven’t seen in a number of months or years, climbing the steep Via Marina road leading into the city that widens into the city as you arrive at the forum. Turn left and it’s the backdrop to the Capitoline Triad temple remains: Mt Vesuvius, the volcano that catastrophically destroyed and preserved the Roman city, a small town that wasn’t of particular great importance in the Roman Empire. The violent eruption of AD 79 had a myriad of consequences, covering the city in several metres of ash and pumice after a 24 hour long bombardment and killing those who had not escaped the city and burying the contents of their homes, businesses, religious sites and theatres entirely.

Nearly two thousand years later the city was ‘rediscovered’ (although it had never properly been lost) under the Bourbon rulers of Naples in 1748. Ten years earlier the ancient city of Herculaneum had been found and the fever of antiquarianism was rising. Excavation revealed surprisingly familiar aspects of an ancient civilisation: statuary, belongings, homes, and so on. Despite early use of backfilling, a practice in which materials excavated, such as soil, are returned to the opened areas, Pompeii eventually became the open air museum that we understand it as today. But don’t be fooled. This isn’t a city frozen in time. Since Day 1 of its burial the site has been subject to a slow, natural decomposition in addition to destruction carried out by humans, both in antiquity and from 1748 onwards.

My research, mostly carried out as part of a PhD degree, focuses upon the lesser studied shops and workshops, also known as tabernae, which fronted many of the homes along major arteries in the city. These small structures are important because they tell us about what everyday life was like for non-elite Romans, slaves and freedmen (ex-slaves) in terms of where they worked, their trades and crafts, their eating and drinking habits, and, in a few cases, where they may have lived. An insight into Roman shops at Pompeii provides an understanding of population, society, culture, urban planning, trade, and commerce. It also tells us quite a lot about the impact of war and Roman colonisation, slavery, migration, patronage, art, neighbourhood development and industrialisation across the city.

 

A bakery retrofitted into a two storey house (8.4.27), left, and a shop for bread (8.4.26), right. Another shop (8.4.25), far right. Copyright Sera Baker, 2016.

A bakery retrofitted into a two storey house (8.4.27), left, and a shop for bread (8.4.26), right. Another shop (8.4.25), far right. Copyright Sera Baker, 2016.

In light of city’s size, I have chosen to work in a quarter known today as Region 8, just south of the forum and Via dell’Abbondanza, close to the two theatres of the Entertainment District, and bordered by the city wall and the Porta Marina and Porta Stabia gates. Most tourists to the city will walk by my shops without noticing their presence or their importance to the city, although they might notice the shops with counters looking like taverns. The majority of the 93 shops in this area are small structures under four rooms in total. Some are directly connected to the elite houses (popularly known as villas, but correctly identified as domus) that were owned by families of local political importance who also maintained commercial interests, which is in contrast to incorrect 19th & 20th century views that Roman elites avoided direct trade and monetary dealings.

One particular aspect of shops is a favourite of mine: the architecture. Quite a lot of my time is spent at my desk in England analysing field research carried out site and the architecture is often the most revealing because 18th & 19th century excavation records rarely include recordings of finds from the shops despite being rich sources of materials and decorated buildings in their own right. Archaeologists often refer to this type of analysis as non-invasive research’ because it doesn’t require further excavation and damage to ancient structures and landscapes. Pompeii is an excellent site to carry out this type of approach because the wealth of material and speed of early excavations means that much remains to be interpreted from exposed buildings and their contents. It is quite a lot like putting a massive puzzle back together when you don’t have an entire understanding of what that puzzle is meant to be.

To keep track of the extensive number of photographs, plans, archival records and my own analysis findings I developed a digital database (along with some generous assistance from Derek Littlewood, @eggboxderek). I love reading the walls for the information that they provide, with or without their finished decoration, revealing building phases and additions, and most importantly telling archaeologists about reconstruction following the seismic activity, including earthquakes, leading up to the fatal eruption in AD 79. Even details such as the simple thresholds set within shop doorways are thrilling: I can understand how and when these doorways and their doors operated, learn about Roman carpentry and locks and take part in scholarly debates around differences between mezzanines and upper floors and why their different terminology and definitions affect their use.

 

Database, Tabernae of Roman Pompeii. A working example. Copyright Sera Baker, 2016. No use without permission.

Database record for 8.4.27, The tabernae of Roman Pompeii: shops & workshops of Region VIII. A working example. Copyright Sera Baker, 2016. No use without permission.

And while my PhD research isn’t a group project, I depend on the regular exchanges of ideas and discussion of new developments at Pompeii with a number of other researchers. Some of the especially important individuals, projects, and publications, that have impacted my area of research in the recent past include Dr Joanne Berry, Drs Steven Ellis and Eric Poehler of the Pompeii Archaeological Research Project: Porta Stabia, Dr Sophie Hay (@pompei79), and many, many others.

Sera Baker is currently completing a PhD at The University of Nottingham, UK. She enjoys discussing Roman archaeology on her Twitter feed, @seraecbaker. To learn more about Pompeii take a look at the official archaeological website from the Soprintendenza Speciale per i Beni Archeologici di Pompei, Ercolano e Stabia (English & Italian; for most complete information use the Italian site).

Settlements, Shielings & Sunshine: Archaeological Survey at NTS Torridon

Torridon. One of the most dramatic landscapes in the United Kingdom. Driving to it, from the south or the east is an unforgettable journey. Three massive mountains, Beinn Alligin, Liathach and Beinn Eighe rise suddenly from the shore of the deep sea loch to over 1000m in height, looming over you and totally dominating the area.

Beinn Alligin & Liathac seen across Upper Loch Torridon.

Beinn Alligin & Liathach seen across Upper Loch Torridon.

The National Trust for Scotland looks after over 6,000ha of land on the north side of Loch Torridon. Along with the plants, animals, birds, footpaths & upland landscape that we manage, there are also a huge amount of archaeological remains. The majority of these are 18th and 19th century settlement and farming remains; there are very little prehistoric remains on the north side of the Loch, but plenty on the southside. Perhaps it is because prehistoric folk settled and used the same land that is still settled and in use today, thus all traces have been removed. You can find out more about the archaeology sites here

In March, I was lucky enough to lead a National Trust for Scotland Thistle Camp where we carried out condition monitoring and survey work across a number of the settlements and shieling sites. This is incredibly useful heritage management work, as it allows us to see the overall picture of change of the archaeological resource & to develop a management plan to deal with all sorts of threats such as bracken & vegetation growth, erosion, burrowing and collapse.

For the condition monitoring I have developed an Android tablet based system which utilises the Open Data Kit to allow us to remotely collect the data, and then submit it to a server when we have an internet connection. Internally, we’ve found the system to be incredibly robust and useful, and much simpler to use and get data back from than paper based systems.

Condition Monitoring at Wester Alligin, Torridon

Condition Monitoring at Wester Alligin, Torridon

In total we monitored 191 sites and structures over 5 days and from this developed a really good understanding of what is affecting the archaeological remains and how.

Condition Data, Torridon

Condition Data, Torridon

I have previously written about the Data Enhancement project I work on at the Trust; the GPS survey work at Torridon has allowed us to enhance our GIS data and polygons, which means we have better and more detailed information when managing our Torridon estate. We now know the exact location and extent of a wide range of structures, dykes and cultivation remains whereas previously we had them as point data or even described as “left of the structure” “below the area of woodland” and so forth.

Surveyed archaeological remains, Wester Alligin, Torridon

Surveyed archaeological remains, Wester Alligin, Torridon

Through doing this work we have also recorded remains that are quite obvious on the ground for for a variety of reasons had never been recorded and utilised aerial imagery from a range of sources to map some of the more ephemeral remains such as cultivation ridges and furrows. I have also been able to compare the remains to the historic Ordnance Survey mapping available from the National Library of Scotland which allows us to (being to) understand when buildings were built, in use and abandoned.

Some of the structures which appear on the above map

Some of the structures which appear on the above map

We also discovered a couple of possible new sites such as a cup marked boulder, which is very exiciting.

I need to thank the volunteers, Danji, Kathy, Joanna, Will, Thomas, Abbie, Barry & Jim who made this work possible and who took to the work with such great enthusiasm and interest.

It wasn't all hard work! Yhe group at the top of the Bealach na Bà.

It wasn’t all hard work! Yhe group at the top of the Bealach na Bà.

 

The Tanum Petroglyphs of Sweden: Following the Path of the Sun

The Day of Archaeology 2016 finds us in Sweden. Sadly not literally! We are looking through extraordinary images sent to us from Dr. Gerhard Milstreu of the rock art of Tanum in Sweden.

My Art and Design Director Ben Dickins and I are working on the Bradshaw Foundation’s new section of the Scandinavian Rock Art Archive – Tanum Rock Art – in conjunction with Gerhard Milstreu and the Tanum Rock Art Research Centre: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com/scandinavia/sweden/index.php

‘The Tanum Petroglyphs of Sweden: Following the Path of the Sun’ – research over decades on the Tanum petroglyphs has revealed that the people depicted their rituals as symbols in order to understand their world, a world encapsulated in a pantheon of water, sun & fertility, a world whose symbolism represented the ceremonial battles between winter and summer. The ship was an icon of the path of the sun; the sun ship enabled the sun’s eternal journey. The other important helper on this journey was the sun horse, which pulled the sun across the sky.

The high concentration of petroglyphs at Tanum – near Tanumshede, Bohuslan – has been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The site includes one of the largest carved rocks of the Nordic Bronze Age – the ‘Vitlyckehal’ – in Scandinavia. The ‘Tanum petroglyphs’ represent 1000’s of images on over 600 panels, concentrated in distinct areas along a 25 km stretch which was originally the coastline of a fjord during the Bronze Age.

During the Scandinavian Neolithic periods, hunter-gatherer ways of life gave way over time to agriculture. A marked change occurred when the Bronze Age began around 2.000 B.C. During the Bronze Age, the pictorial expression underwent a change in both form and content. The rock carvings from this period are frequently known as farmers carvings. The people practicing agriculture became dependant on different powers compared to those in the past, and the dominating theory is that the carvings describe the religion of the Bronze Age with its myths and rituals, inspired by their way of life. The rock carvings were not ‘art for art’s sake’, but constituted a practical tool to maintain the religious needs and balance within society. The representations are our largest source for our appreciation of their cosmology. They are predominantly pecked in stone, but also appear frequently on metals, bronze and gold, and on perishable materials, such as wood and tattoos on the skin.

And so, onwards. As the Bradshaw Foundation endeavours to chronicle the research of archaeologists around the world, the new section on the petroglyphs of Tanum in Sweden will bring depth to the Scandinavian Rock Art Archive. Next on the list – Denmark!

Thanks as always to all those who have put time and effort in to make the Day of Archaeology happen. It’s always fascinating to see what others are up to around the world!

Website: http://www.bradshawfoundation.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/BradshawFnd

FaceBook: https://www.facebook.com/BradshawFoundation/

Tanum Sweden day of archaeology Bradshaw Foundation

Tanum rock art from the Bradshaw Foundation Scandinavia Rock Art Archive


Monte Miravete project – 19th century Archaeology in Murcia (Spain).

Hi everybody,

Monte Miravete Project is a project based on the study of a 19th century forgotten remains. Nobody took a look at this site, where we have found more than 84 structures and 27 quarries of the mining in the region, which was important to the maintenance of the traditional lifestyles in the so-called La Huerta. Here we mix immaterial and material Heritage, and also the use of ethnographic data by the old people of the town of Torreagüera and the archaeological method of survey.

Prospección1

In addition to this, we have started a dissemination campaign, because we are carrying out the project under own our money, without more support than that given by Cajamurcia Foundation to the dissemination of the project.

To study these structures is essential to exploit the sporadic tourism in the area represented in the walkers and hikers, and also to protect the remains which are in high danger of disappearance.

Prospeccion2

To preserve the remains to show to the young people and local communities, and to recover the experiences of the old people who lived there is to create consciousness about the Past and the memory of past experiences. Last but not least, to create a new framework to develop projects of Contemporary Archaeology or Archaeology of Contemporary Past is very interesting in this project.

Prospeccion3

In our first campaign, this survey runs until the 20th of August. Come on!

Thank you!

José A. Mármol

Prospeccion4

Dzień z życia archeologa nieinwazyjnego

Pytanie co robi archeolog w lipcu może wydawać się banalne, a odpowiedź trywialna. Każdy przecież wie, że lato to czas prowadzenia badań wykopaliskowych i wszyscy archeolodzy pracują w terenie, a ich dzień jest wypełniony odkrywaniem śladów przeszłości i ich dokumentowaniem.

Ale nie do końca tak jest. Są archeolodzy, którzy preferują nieinwazyjne metody badań i w lipcu zajmują się inną działalnością. Archeologia nieinwazyjna, zgodnie z Konwencją Maltańską (1992), ukierunkowuje swoje badania na poznawanie przeszłości bez ingerencji w znajdujące się in situ obiekty i warstwy kulturowe. Celem zatem jest rozpoznanie zalegających w ziemi reliktów bez ‘wbijania łopaty w ziemię’. Czy jest to zatem jeszcze archeologia? Oczywiście jest – archeologią jest bowiem poznawaniem przeszłości człowieka przy wykorzystaniu, m.in. reliktów kultury materialnej.

Archeologia nieinwazyjna bazuje na możliwości identyfikacji wielu aspektów kultury materialnej bez naruszania warstw, w których się one znajdują. Metody takich badań były znane już od bardzo dawna, lecz właśnie od czasu uchwalenia Konwencji Maltańskiej, ich stosowanie w archeologii stało się coraz szersze. Do najstarszych metod nieinwazyjnych należą zdjęcia lotnicze, które dla celów archeologicznych wykonywane były już w 1899 roku (Forum Romanum). Również metody geofizyczne (np. elektrooporowa, magnetyczna) znane były od wielu lat. Dziś, m. in. dzięki wytycznym Konwencji Maltańskiej, wprowadzane są nowe metody nieinwazyjne, np. lotnicze skanowanie laserowe, GPR czy zobrazowania satelitarne.

To tyle wprowadzenia. Spośród wielu różnych metod nieinwazyjnych zajmuję się szczególnie intensywnie zdjęciami lotniczymi w archeologii. I z tym wiąże się też wiele nieporozumień. Nie do końca jest tak, że wystarczy polecieć i zrobić zdjęcie. Szczególnie teraz, gdy jest wielu użytkowników dronów, można sądzić, że metoda jest dostępna dla każdego. Oczywiście jest dostępna, ale trzeba dysponować określoną wiedzą i doświadczeniem, by móc efektywnie ją wykorzystywać w archeologii.

Lipiec to w wielu regionach Polski najlepszy czas na wykonywanie zdjęć lotniczych, które pozwalają na zidentyfikowanie śladów przeszłej działalności człowieka. I trzeba się bardzo spieszyć, gdyż żniwa na dłuższy czas blokują możliwość efektywnego rekonesansu lotniczego. Dlaczego? To właśnie rośliny (w szczególności zboża) najlepiej ‘pokazują’ to co zalega pod powierzchnią ziemi. Ścięte zboża oznaczają ‘zaniknięcie’  pośrednika pomiędzy przeszłością a archeologiem.

Zatem do pracy, trzeba się spieszyć by rolnik nie ‘usunął’ nam przeszłości z pola widzenia. Pośpiech jest ważny, ale trzeba się też dobrze przygotować. Co należy przemyśleć i zorganizować, by względnie skutecznie przeprowadzić rekonesans lotniczy? Jest kilka etapów pracy. Zatem po kolei:

  • Planowanie rekonesansu – należy zastanowić się w jakim rejonie chcemy wykonać rozpoznanie lotnicze. Niezbędne zatem są mapy (papierowe lub cyfrowe), na których oznaczony mamy rejon naszego badania. Kolejnym elementem planowania jest wybór samolotu i lotniska, z którego warto polecieć. Nie zawsze jest tak, że lotnisko znajdujące się bliżej jest dogodniejsze. Ceny tam mogą być bowiem wyższe, niż na lotnisku bardziej oddalonym. Liczy się rachunek kosztów! Planowanie musi uwzględnić wybór terminu lotu. Już wiemy, że lipiec bywa sprzyjający, ale którego dnia? Warto zapoznać się z prognozą pogody! Fotografowanie, gdy mamy do czynienia z pełnym zachmurzeniem lub nawet deszczem nie jest sprawą optymalną.
  • Przygotowanie sprzętu – oczywiście chodzi tu o sprzęt, którym dysponuje archeolog, gdyż za samolot będzie odpowiedzialny pilot. Niezbędny jest aparat fotograficzny (na wszelki wypadek warto zabrać dwa!), zapas baterii, wspomniane mapy i GPS (w niektórych aparatach GPS jest wmontowany). W przypadku wyboru samolotu należy pamiętać, by wybrać górnopłat (Ryc. 1).

Ryc. 1. Górnopłat – bardzo dobry samolot do wykonywania zdjęć lotniczych dla celów archeologicznych

Ryc. 1. Górnopłat – bardzo dobry samolot do wykonywania zdjęć lotniczych dla celów archeologicznych

  •  Uzgodnienie lotu, wyjaśnienie pilotowi na czym polega zadanie (nie zawsze pilot wierzy, że musi wykonywać ‘dziwne’ akrobacje w powietrzu, np. ostre skręty ze skrzydłem ustawionym prawie prostopadle do ziemi!). Należy po raz kolejny sprawdzić cały sprzęt, zgrać czas w aparacie fotograficznym i w GPS (jeżeli są to osobne urządzenia) i… można lecieć. Za lot z pewnością odpowiedzialny jest pilot, więc archeolog nie może wymuszać na nim żadnej decyzji! Bezpieczeństwo lotu jest ważniejsze niż wykonanie zadania!To lecimy. Wykorzystanie GPSa pozawala na rejestrację trasy lotu i określenie o której w którym miejscu byliśmy (Ryc. 2).
Ryc. 2. Trasa lotu zarejestrowana przy pomocy GPSa

Ryc. 2. Trasa lotu zarejestrowana przy pomocy GPSa

Długa trasa! Sporo pracy! A tu niespodzianka – prognoza pogody się nie sprawdziła!!!! Zamiast błękitnego nieba mamy burzę i deszcz!!

Nie sprzyja to pracy i efektywności rekonesansu, ale… jest efektownie – podwójna tęcza J (Ryc. 3). Trzeba uważać, zmodyfikować plan.

Ryc. 3. Tęcza z perspektywy samolotu może wyglądać trochę inaczej

Ryc. 3. Tęcza z perspektywy samolotu może wyglądać trochę inaczej

Koniec kontemplacji wrażeń! Należy się skupić na archeologii. Czy w tym roku (niezbyt suchym) rośliny pokazują to co jest pod ziemią? Jakie warstwy się zachowały? Jest! (Ryc. 4)

Ryc. 4. Świetne stanowisko! Strzałka pokazuje zarys fundamentów chaty zbudowanej na planie trapezu. Takie domy budowały społeczności pierwszych rolników zamieszkujących tereny Niżu Polskiego. Można się zastanowić ile czasu by zajęło archeologom ‘kopiącym’ znalezienie takiego domu i jego wykopaliskowa eksploracja?

Ryc. 4. Świetne stanowisko! Strzałka pokazuje zarys fundamentów chaty zbudowanej na planie trapezu. Takie domy budowały społeczności pierwszych rolników zamieszkujących tereny Niżu Polskiego. Można się zastanowić ile czasu by zajęło archeologom ‘kopiącym’ znalezienie takiego domu i jego wykopaliskowa eksploracja?

Ale czy wszystko co widać jako wyróżnik roślinny to ślady przeszłej działalności człowieka? (Ryc. 5)

Ryc. 5. Lepiej taki ślad zarejestrować. Można później innymi metodami nieinwazyjnymi zweryfikować ten obraz.

Ryc. 5. Lepiej taki ślad zarejestrować. Można później innymi metodami nieinwazyjnymi zweryfikować ten obraz.

Czas wracać na lotnisko. Lot był długi – około 5 godzin! Dużo było ‘kręcenia’! (Ryc. 6)

Ryc. 6. Ślad GPS pokazuje jak intensywne było latanie, ile skrętów w różnych kierunkach.

Ryc. 6. Ślad GPS pokazuje jak intensywne było latanie, ile skrętów w różnych kierunkach.

Jestem zmęczony! 5 godzin w samolocie, cały czas skupienie uwagi, nawigacja, obserwowanie pól i poszukiwanie stanowisk archeologicznych, ciągła interpretacja, decyzja co i jak fotografować i w końcu wykonanie zdjęć! Uff! Satysfakcja – owszem jest, jeżeli udało się zidentyfikować i sfotografować interesujące stanowiska. Ale trzeba się spieszyć! Jutro kolejny lot, bo… (Ryc. 7)

Ryc. 7. Żniwa trwają i kombajny ‘likwidują’… ślady przeszłości. Następne mogą się pojawić dopiero za rok!

Ryc. 7. Żniwa trwają i kombajny ‘likwidują’… ślady przeszłości. Następne mogą się pojawić dopiero za rok!

A tu jeszcze wieczorem trzeba opracować wykonane zdjęcia (dziś było ich 580!) i przygotować kolejny lot! Na interpretację zdjęć przyjdzie czas…. w długie jesienne i zimowe wieczory! Archeologia lotnicza to nie tylko jeden dzień przyjemnego lotu.

WŁODZIMIERZ RĄCZKOWSKI (UAM w Poznaniu)