Monday, 7 May 2012

Quo vadis? Cesis!

Back in the lab after a week in the field in Latvia, taking micromorphology samples for the Ecology of Crusading project at Cesis Castle. As I was only there for the week I missed all the fun of actually excavating the trench and uncovering exciting stuff like the fully articulated horse skeleton (hence the nickname 'horse trench'!), and horse related paraphernalia including bridle bosses, spurs and stirrups.







Wet muddy trench of doom
This did mean that I had a nice fully exposed section to work with, which makes it much easier to work out the best locations for taking micromorphology blocks - in this case to identify the surface residues on the floor and test the hypothesis that this was stable. The benefit of this however was perhaps outweighed by the fact the trench was filling up with water as I collected the samples, and the presence of a huge waterlogged beam conveniently located right where I needed to stand, making it a rather muddy business with some precarious balancing on rocks. Probably not the safest thing to do when holding a knife and screwdriver (high tech sampling tools).

Photographing a stirrup




I also had the pleasure of helping take photographs of finds with the project conservator, Alaina Schmisseur, and to take some X-rays of block lifts at the local hospital, where the staff were kind enough to agree to letting us using the kit. They were also kind enough not to object to us traipsing all over their nice clean floors in our excavation gear, and getting dirt and mortar fragments all over the X ray table. Or maybe they did, it could be our translator was just being polite! This was the first time I have ever seen a digital X ray, which was fantastic, and very quick.


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