@MarDixon Passionate about culture internationally. Run remixing events, workshops, create solutions, and an international speaker. Over sharer and Mom who loses arguments to a teen. Projects created: @CultureThemes @lovetheatreday @AskaCurator @MuseumSelfieDay @TeensInMuseums @52museums
  • Festival of Archaeology #FBA2011 / My #DayofArch at @BlistsHill

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    July 17th, 2011mardixonCulture

    As part of the two-week Festival of Archaeology, Charlotte and I (along with friends Vivi and her daughter Roberta) took part in a local (and free!) Day of Archaeology at Coalbrookdale in Ironbridge.

    We were surveying a Quaker Burial Ground which is in the care of the Ironbridge Gorge Museum Trust.The event started with a short introductory talk not just on the site but the history behind the site. Our Project Manager of the day was Shane Kelleher, Archaeologist Management Officer for Ironbridge Gorge museum. Shane was very conscious of ensuring we knew the background on the Quaker Burial Grounds that we were going to be working on without lecturing us. He also explained the methodologies and techniques that we were going to use to record the Quaker Burial Ground (and also about health and safety and risk assessment). Along with Shane, special guest John Stimpson, who’s own family had connection with the burial ground was able to give us a personal history to the site.

    The talk

    Filled with the newfound knowledge of the Burial site, and a new respect for Quakers, we walked to the site. Although it rained all morning, it was then determined to be safe enough for us to split into two groups of seven and work on the site.

    Shane re-explained our objectives for the day (Group A on the Left, Group B on the Right)

    • Take data on the site as a whole (measuring)

    • Fill in the blank burial plan numbering each gravestone (L1 for Left one or R1 for Right One)

    • Photograph each of the gravestone, document each photo with relevant data (Frame number, date, position such as North, whether or not the meter stick was used, who took the photo and a description – usually just L1, L2, L3, etc)

    • Document detail of the gravestone: measure it on all angles and any writing you can make out. This includes filling in a form and documenting it via it’s name of L1, L2, L3, what type of font is used (italics, Roman, etc).

    Our group discussed our responsibilities (I quickly asked to be in charge of the photographs, with Charlotte volunteering for the documenting my photographs for me on the way). We then naturally decided positions. Some went to the top first, others started at the bottom with Charlotte and I starting in the middle. This ensured we could avoid some bottleneck along the way.

    Charlotte working hard

    Although it was a lot of work, the morning went quickly. Charlotte and I have been to other ‘archaeology’ events but this was the first time we actually were part of the survery. Knowing that our data was going to be used for archivist purposes made the tasks at hand less tedious. We weren’t just given a prop to work with; we were invited into the actual burial ground to do actual archaeological work. What an experience!

    After lunch, we all went back to our duties at hand. Charlotte and I were able to complete our task soon after so were assigned another task of taking pictures of the site in different positions. Again, Charlotte had the job of documenting the positions such as Pier, Right wall, R 23, 24, 25, Meter. Before, none of that would had made any sense, but now Charlotte and I were communicating in a different language!

    I can not thank Shane enough for putting on this tremendous event, or for the Festival of Archeologically for promoting this. As a Founding member of CultureThemes, I was aware of the Festival and Day of Archaeology but never thought that Charlotte and I would find so much joy taking part. We are very lucky to have this resource on our back-step and we’re looking forward to going back later this year to help digitalize the data we collected.

    The dedicated team

    To find an event near you, check out these sites:

    Culturethemes.com

    Dayofarchaeology.com

    And on Twitter, use the #DayofArch or #FBA2011

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