Posts Tagged ‘test pits

16
Feb
17

day 32

Heading to the site with Councillors.

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Final photos.

From the ground…

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From the branches of a screwpine tree…

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Taking levels

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Then the backfilling begins. Having spent the last three weeks removing all the stones and sand from this patch, now we put them all back…

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Good bye ibn Battuta’s harbour

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16
Feb
17

days 29, 30

Work continues… on our long-standing Trench 631 but also on two new, smaller, trenches at the periphery of the site.

There has been a lot of wind lately and the sea has been rougher. The latter has no direct impact on our work but the former makes things a bit trickier: papers fly away, line levels flutter in the wind, leaves blow into pristine trenches just ready to be photographed.

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Afternoons merrily engaged gluing pots, sorting bone, piecing together gravestones…

Just three days left to go, so as well as wrapping up the digging we have to make sure all our finds are inventoried and packed up and, wherever possible, the non-essentials left behind (to save on hefty airline excess baggage fees).

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12
Feb
17

day 28, kinolhas

A busy morning digging… but also backfilling, as we are nearing the end of the season.

There is a family from Kerala living on the island, and we take the opportunity of their walking past our pot-processing area to show them some of our material. Judging by its decoration, the tamper marks on the inner surface of the sherds, and comparable material from other published sites, some of our stuff appears to be from southern India and perhaps Kerala specifically. So we asked them if it looked familiar.

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Ramla brings lunch onto site and we have a picnic.

Drone’s eye view of our site: Trench 631 bottom left.

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09
Feb
17

day 25

Another busy day to close off the week.

An experimental flight of the drone lent to us gives us a new view of our area of investigation.

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Trench 325 is the white square near top right of the image – it is 2×2 m in size. Smaller white blotches (e.g. the three running in a diagonal line) are our shovel test pits.

A team of five has been occupied finding, and marking with stakes, all the stone structures in the area. Next week we will take their GPS points and fill out survey sheets.

Still working on Trench 631. Annalisa completes the huge job that was planning the stone structures.

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I do an honest morning’s digging, which is good for the soul.

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Whizzing through washing of pots, pottery desampling and sampling (ie. recording and eliminating those which are too small or are undecorated), and measuring shell.

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30
Jan
17

days 14 and 15, kinolhas

The real digging has begun! Having sampled an area of roughly 120 by 150m with small test pits every 20m, as detailed in previous posts, we were ready to start larger-scale, and much less brutal, excavations.

The weather has been so much nicer.

Clearing the area to put down trench #321:

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Not clearing this just yet – though it is tempting, because the test pit here (#544) was just full of pottery and bone:

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Setting out trench #325:

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Mapping out stone structures, #631:

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These trench numbers might all sound arcane, but some we will get to know like the backs of our hands. And we are sieving everything.

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28
Jan
17

day 13

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Unseasonal rainy weather kept us away from the field for the first part of the day.

Once the rain stopped, we took the opportunity to blitz through our remaining seven test pits.

#478. Yielded a near-complete dish with an everted rim and parallel incised lines.

# 544. Surprise! An unpromising location (dense woodland and leaf cover, and many mosquitoes) turns out the fullest range of pottery and bone. Two partial Chinese bowls.

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#573. Cut a possible stone structure.

And so on.

We finish the day with a fresh coconut offered by our host. The banana trees in the background are fed by waste water from the sink.

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18
Jan
17

day 3, utheemu

We arrived last night after dark in Utheemu, so had to wait till this morning to check the state of our trench, left tarpaulined and backfilled last year until we could come back and investigate the coralstone blocks.

They were still there in fine shape, and our mission for the next few days is to find out whether there are any others and of what sort of feature they might have been a part – mosque, temple, well? And what the associated material culture (=potsherds, bone, etc.) looks like.

20170118_093759_resizedSo we have a pretty big unit up and running now, and are starting to find stuff… more on this tomorrow, hopefully.

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About this blog

This blog has been set up to chart the activities and research findings of two projects led by Anne Haour, an archaeologist from the Sainsbury Research Unit at the University of East Anglia, United Kingdom.

The first project, called Crossroads, brings together a team of archaeologists, historians and anthropologists studying the Niger Valley where it borders Niger and Bénin (West Africa). We are hoping to shed more light on the people that inhabited the area in the past 1500 years and to understand how population movements and craft techniques shaped the area's past.

The second project, called Cowries, examines the money cowrie, a shell which served as currency, ritual object and ornament across the world for millennia, and in medieval times most especially in the Maldive Islands of the Indian Ocean and the Sahelian regions of West Africa. We hope to understand how this shell was sourced and used in those two areas.

These investigations are funded by the European Research Council as part of the Starting Independent Researcher Programme (Seventh Framework Programme – FP7) and by the Leverhulme Trust as a Research Project Grant. The opinions posted here are however Anne Haour's own!

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