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I'm on a year's CBA Community Archaeology Training Placement at Northlight Heritage in Glasgow

Monday, 13 May 2013

Week 2

It was an early start for me on the Monday morning of week two - but no Mondaymorningitis for me!  I headed to Arrochar to help Cathy MacIver and Heather James with the Digital Survey element of the Hidden Heritage Project.  http://www.threevillages.org.uk/community-development-trust/hidden-heritage-project/ 

This great project is run by two very active members of their community: Fiona Jackson and Sue Furness.  They are very familiar on the Scottish Community Archaeology scene as they ran a series of excavations at High Morlaggan as part of Scotland's Rural Past project.  http://highmorlaggan.co.uk/  These ladies truly are an inspiration and I could not wait to meet them and find out how they have made community archaeology such a success in this beautiful area of Scotland.

We spent each morning from Monday to Wednesday carrying out an EDM survey of the Ballyhennan Graveyard in Tarbet.  The EDM stands for Electronic Distance Meter and can record horizontal and vertical points to an accuracy of millimeters.  I haven't used an EDM or Total Station since I was at Uni but luckily Cathy had given me a refresher course in Kelvingrove  Park the week before!  It was fun trying to decipher some of the grave stone inscriptions and insignia.  There certainly are a lot of Macfarlanes buried there.
Each morning we worked with a different group of Volunteers to help them familiarise themselves with the equipment and how to carry out a survey.  They took to it very quickly and I think they ought to be very proud of the results (above).

Each afternoon we carried out a GPS survey of some of the sites identified during the Walkover survey.  We started off with "the Jellybean" - an oddly shaped rounded enclosure on the North facing slopes of the isthmus.  The GPS survey is not as accurate as the EDM survey but much more rapid.  Here is a picture of one of the Volunteers following the line of a field bank with the GPS machine:

 I spent the Thursday with Cathy in the Three Villages Community Hall learning how to Geo-reference the data we had collected from the EDM Survey and earlier Geophysical survey onto the OS grid.  This took me far longer to do than it was supposed to but eventually I managed to make sense of it!  However, it does mean that now we can place our trenches for digging over the Geophysical anomalies with greater accuracy.

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