Wednesday, 22 July 2009

"Rock Paper Scissors" - Final Dives!!!

Today we bid adieu to the John Preston. We have spent 10 dives combing its remains, mapping what is left on the seabed and comparing our record to the survey from 10 years ago that Phillip Robertson published. Each buddy team felt like we had adequate time to take our measurements and drawings in order to write and submit our NAS Part II Paper. The paper is completely optional for the field course, but it seems like a good idea after all the work we put into the project.

Quite by accident, the team took a Roshambo approach to surveying the wreck; Greg and Steve were “rock” (mapping the remaining slates), Duncan, Jordyan, Eddie, and Mary were “paper” (everything wood – remaining timbers, keel, and artefacts), and Lee and Jens were “scissors” (all iron, all the time – anchor, pump pipes, a knee that braced the decks, and an unidentified-sinking-metal-object). We mapped, measured, drew, triangulated, photographed, cuddled, retrieved, and returned the remnants of the ships’ sinking. Highlights included the complete shoe sole made of leather, with the dozens of holes pounded in it by the cobbler’s nails. In addition to antique footwear, Duncan found 4 intact wooden sheaves, and a neoprene dive glove. If you don’t know, sheaves are the circular bits inside a pulley that a rope loops over to spin around. As you likely know, neoprene dive gloves are diving accessories that often get blown overboard. Pics are pasted into this blog.

Tonight we are gathered around the table, typing data into Site Survey software and watching the John Preston take shape on the screen before us. We are taking a copy of everyone’s pictures with us and the Site Survey data file to write our Part II papers once we return to “reality”. “Reality” meaning that place in our lives where 85% of our conversations are not taken up with diving, ideal wreck dives, dive gear, dive trivia, blagging about diving, innuendo and, of course, archaeology that requires diving.

For readers of this blog, I imagine it’s difficult to imagine yourself in this beautifully remote part of Scotland, surrounded by people who feel as passionately about diving and historical wrecks as you do (if not more so!), with nautical archaeology legends who are thrilled to come and teach you. So my advice is this – if you want to do something more with your diving than just look at fish, if you want to be taught to assess a shipwreck for its historical value and be appreciated by professional archaeologists for your time in the field gathering and analyzing information to contribute to the historical record, do the next NAS field course. Or just do it because scallops taste so much better when you gather them yourself off a ship’s timbers. It’s well worth it.


1 comment:

  1. Glad you have had such a good experience Jordyan and look forward to seeing your Part 2 project report. Mark (NAS)