Back from the Island!

Tuesday ended up rainy, so we went to visit the Hope Mill and Lang Pioneer Village. I think it was really useful and interesting for our field school students to see how a water-powered sawmill works, and also to see the houses and material culture of people who were contemporaneous to the people who lived at our site.

Wednesday and today we took a little field trip to Pigeon Lake, and started a cultural landscape survey of one of the islands. We’ve been here excavating in a past field school but this time we were interested in combing the landscape looking for non-buried cultural features such as stumps with axe marks, rock cairns, certain cultivars of trees, etc.

Wednesday we formed a line and spaced ourselves about 15 metres apart and started at the south and went as far north as we could before turning back. Today we focused on the alvar, and documenting some large clusters of cultural features such as white pine tree stumps that had been logged, and piles of rock in open fields, which are cairns.

I was too busy to grab many photos, but here are a few from today (and I hope some of the students write about their experiences for their blog posts!).

Sarah adeptly demonstrating the centroid of a cairn!
Sarah adeptly demonstrating the centroid of a cairn!
Recording the position and size of cairns on the landscape.
Recording the position and size of cairns on the landscape. Brooke and Caedda are at the totalstation, and Charlotte is in a bright green shirt to the right of the image, standing on top of a cairn. Collette is beside her getting ready to measure the dimensions. The totalstation is moved so that the telescope sights on the target and then a laser pulse is sent and used to record the target’s position. We also documented the diameter of each cairn. You can see Mary and Sarah in the centre of the zoomed image heading to the next cairn to be documented.
Part of the island has beautiful mature open maple forest, not many of these left in Ontario!
Part of the island has beautiful mature open maple forest, not many of these left in Ontario!

I think everyone had fun, and got much more comfortable with using the totalstation and theodolite for mapping! We are back in the lab tomorrow, to catch up on the artifact washing and catalogue backlog.

I hope most of us escaped getting poison ivy, but I think I have succumbed, alas…

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