Thursday, June 20, 2013

Preparations for Fieldwork Day 2

Classroom work on the use of the iPads for collecting Excavation
and Feature Level Record data
Yesterday, we introduced the Field School students to the use of the iPads for the collection of data.  This year, in addition to the Vancouver Old City Cemetery monument recording forms, we are using the iPads to collect data from general Excavation Level Record and Feature Record forms.  The students had a presentation where they were introduced to the use of the iPads and the way in which the forms were set up.  This closely followed our training schedule in the past, with the exception that we are using the iPads instead of paper forms.

Some of the benefits of using the iPads include the ability to add the research design and field school manual as files to the iPads so they are readily accessible. We also provided these to the students in hard copy and we will track whether the hard copy versions are used for convenience or if the students make more use of the digital reference versions.  We also instructed the students in the use of the digital photo capabilities of the iPad and have developed a digital photo log sheet to track images for each iPad.  Each iPad is given a unique identifier and files will be tracked for each iPad.  Each iPad will be assigned to a set of excavation units and they will stay with the excavation blocks to assist in coordination and tracking of the equipment and forms.

Dr. Bob Cromwell talks about ceramics identification in the Classroom.
We also conducted basic artifact identification work to ensure that the students are familiarized with the types of material culture found at the site and the way in which we segregate artifacts in the field, including labeling, tracking, and recording.  Dr. Bob Cromwell gave another excellent introduction to ceramics covering many of the important attributes of ceramics identification, amusing anecdotes, and the most common types of Chinese and Staffordshire ceramics commonly found at Fort Vancouver. At the end of the day we conducted a sediment identification workshop and ended up at the blacksmith shop.
Volunteer Lee Pisarek demonstrates the manufacturing steps in making a
wrought nail in the blacksmith shop at Fort Vancouver.
One of the benefits of having a living history museum at Fort Vancouver is the ability to have students observe the traditional technology associated with blacksmithing.  Because there is a very active volunteer trades guild that operates the blacksmith shop, carpenter shop, bakehouse, and kitchen, there is the potential for students of material culture to see living history and museum exhibits tied to the manufacture and use of a variety of the types of material culture that are found in Hudson's Bay Company contexts.  We are very fortunate to have a number of blacksmiths who have mastered many of the skills of 19th century blacksmithing and that can show some of the complete ferrous metal artifacts that sometimes we find only in fragments.  Mr. Lee Pisarek, one of our highly skilled blacksmith volunteers, was able to describe and demonstrate the art of wrought nail making, a very humble artifact, but one that is commonly found at Fort Vancouver.  Meris Mullaley's M.A. Thesis explored the distributions of fasteners, like wrought nails, and window glass, among other things to explore the architecture of the Village.

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