Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Back in Business at Fort Tombecbe

Bonjour mes amis!

I, your ever faithful blogger Natalie Mooney, am back. After a vicious fight against my varied illnesses and quarantine, I must say Fort Tombecbe was a site for sore eyes. I, however, did not do any digging today, which only slightly worries me because of my race to find the fabled fish hook before Brian Mast.

I shall find it.
Instead, Team Bakery turned into Team TRTS. (Topographical Roll Tide Surveyors). In case you don't know (even if you do I'm still going to explain) we use a ridiculously expensive (for a college student at least) piece of machinery that allows us to plot points that will later be used to create a topographic map of the entire fort. The machine is fairly simple, to plot a point there are five steps. 

One: Level the machine. For some (Team Palisade) this is a difficult step. For others it's a quick five minute set-up. 
Two: Use the computer to select a job. It really is as simple as it sounds. The little computer is a hand held device that has a touch screen.
Three: Select the point that the machine is at. This is extremely important because if the machine doesn't know where it is, then the following points will make no sense at all.
Four: Select a Backsite point. Think of the last two steps like the points on a drawing compass. You place one at the center and then you put the pencil down at that first point. That first point is the backsite. Usually it is a previously inputted point. This point also helps the machine relate every other point that we input. Overall a very important step.
Five: Start plotting. This is done by using a rod that has a reflector at the top; the machine will shoot out a laser (invisible to us unfortunately) that will reflect it back letting us know where that point is. This is simply a laser form of echolocation. Like bats and dolphins! So basically you press the shot button and BAM you're done with that point!

We did that for most of the day. But the fun stuff happened with those who dug. Tori upped her nail count to up to 35 plus (she stopped counting) and she started finding bones underneath all of the nails. Then Lighthorse Lee found the most impressive find of Fort Tombecbe, (in my opinion!) he found a piece of cloth.
The Shroud of  Tombecbe

I  know, I know it may not look like much, but this piece of cloth could have lasted almost 300 years! This is absolutely remarkable because textiles almost never last in climates like ours. It was absolutely awesome. No one quite believed it at first, but just. Wow. So much awesome. (Let's just say it left everyone in awestruck wonder)

Another exciting aspect of today was that we had visitors! The esteemed guests were Ian Brown, Ph.D from the University of Alabama and Greg Waselkov, Ph.D from the University of South Alabama.  
Fort Tombecbe is glad you visited the site and we hope to see you again!

On the last note of what happened today, Ron and Brian finally opened up their barracks site, which was previously dug in the last field school, but not finished. I have to get working on my little unit if I want to find that fish hook first! 
Captain Ron with Drs. Brown and Waselkov
Looking forward to being back in the dirt,
This is Natalie Mooney signing off.

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