Protected: Day 3: When it rains….

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  1. Norbert Wegrzynowski
    June 4, 2017

    Do you have a limited amount of days you can spend on the site? And if so is a set back like this a major concern for your time table and schedules??

    • Dani Newman
      June 4, 2017

      Hi Norbert! Great question. The science team is currently scheduled to work on the site until the 26th of June. Rain days and delays are all part of the norm for projects like this, and so a certain number have been built into the schedule. There is always so much more we would like to do, but either we come back or future archaeologists will know where to look!

      • Norbert Wegrzynowski
        June 5, 2017

        so even if you dont find out everything you wanted to in the time you have provided other archaeologists with the information they need to build on your work, yes? Another question, how much time do you spend preping for diving. what does it take to get all the equpiment ready to go. is it a daily thing?

        • Dani Newman
          June 6, 2017

          Hi Norbert,
          That’s exactly it. With our information, the next group of archaeologists who investigate the site will know more than we did when we arrived. This is why documenting and recording the site is so important.
          It takes us between 20-30 minutes to get ready to go for a dive (as in to put on our personal equipment). To set up our tents, dredges, boats etc. for the day is taking about an hour right now. We try to leave the hotel by 9 am and start diving by 10:30 at the latest. As the project progresses, we hope to get faster.

  2. Kate Harrison
    June 6, 2017

    I was wondering, you said that each dredger is slightly different, does this mean that you need to use different models for different bottom compositions or is it just that each one has a slightly different configuration. Also you have mentioned that there are many divers working on this project, is there a minimum level that you need to have reached to be able to dive on a project like this?

    • Dani Newman
      June 6, 2017

      Hi Kate,

      Each dredger is different because they have been made by different people, usually out of different materials. They will have slightly different configurations, and some will be heavier than others. One of the dredges on this particular site has a bit of a forwards pull to it sometimes, so people who are using it are learning to have some extra weight on them so they do not move around as much.

      There are divers of a variety of different skill levels on this project. A lot of the divers of PADI Divemasters or Instructors, some have scientific diving qualifications and some are commercial divers. But because the site is so shallow, there are some of us (myself included) who just have our PADI Open Water certification. The most important thing is that we are all archaeologists, so we are trained in knowing how do to the job of identifying and excavating sites. It is much easier to teach an archaeologists how to dive then a diver how to be an archaeologist.

  3. Virginia Thomas-Pickles
    June 6, 2017

    What’s your favourite part about excavating a site? Is it more about what you can learn from an area, or using the equipment and being able to dive in such a stunning location?

    • Dani Newman
      June 6, 2017

      Hi Virginia,

      I absolutely love learning what I can from an area and the people who live in it. We are so lucky on the project to be working with a great Bulgarian team from the Centre for Underwater Archaeology. It really helps to have people around who know the site and the history of the area.

  4. Robbie Bell
    June 6, 2017

    Hi dani, thanks for keeping us updated on your trip.

    What kind of things do you first look for when trying to determine the date or “story” behind new sites, is it the organic matter, cultural context etc? And how do you keep records of what you find and what you want to know more about in future dives to ensure you don’t miss things that could be important for determining information about the site ?

    Also what sorts of things are you expecting to find on this site in particular ?

    Thanks again,
    Robbie Bell

    • Dani Newman
      June 8, 2017

      Hi Robbie,

      It has been my pleasure to do this blog! When trying to determine the story of the site we use everything we can. Each stratigraphic layer of material gives us an idea of how the use of the site has evolved. The organic material is useful for doing lab analysis on to get dates and find out about various uses. Drago and I got very excited yesterday about a cooking pot that looks like it has remains of food inside it. We can get that tested and find out an element of the diet people had at that time.

      We keep records of what we find both digitally, using photogrammetry (which I’m going to talk more about today) and in the finds database which I have talked about in a post that went up yesterday. The best thing for us is that we have in water dive supervisors that we can call over if we have any questions. They are constantly swimming around the site to see the stratigraphy developing and to make sure we are not missing anything.

      We are hoping to find a very early settlement on this site. It will take a bit more excavating to get down to that layer…we’ve only just reached the Romans!

  5. Hannah Clint
    June 6, 2017

    Hi Dani! Firstly, I hope youre having an great time out in Bulgaria, it looks incredible! Also, thank you so much for taking time out of you days to put together this amazing blog, its so interesting to follow along with the experience, and it has been a great help so far!

    My question for you is, in your opinion, is this a large or small scale excavation, compared to others within the project? And in terms of equiptment and people involved how does it compare to other excavations that you’ve take part of in the past?

    Thanks again!

    • Dani Newman
      June 8, 2017

      Hi Hannah,

      You are most welcome! I’m glad it has been useful for you. This is the biggest excavation that is happening within this project, but in terms of sheer size the expedition involving the boat is much larger. This is still the largest scale maritime excavation I have worked on because we have two different trenches going at the same time. I would say this is about average size for a maritime project. Some projects need more divers because of the depth they are at (so the diver can only do one dive a day) and others need less divers because they are a very quick and basic survey or check of a site.

  6. Bethanie Dean
    June 6, 2017

    Apart from the dredgers, has all of the exploring at this particular site been physically by man or have any other technical equipment been used to survey the area or help in discoveries?

    • Dani Newman
      June 8, 2017

      Hi Bethanie,

      There was a survey done using the Bulgarian ship last month (I’ll find out more details this afternoon, if you are interested) that helped us decide where to put in the trenches. As I mentioned, we are lucky enough to be working with Bulgarian archaeologists who know the bay quite well and so have been able to make suggestions about where to dig.

  7. Oakem Kyne
    June 6, 2017

    How many dives do you do each day? And if you do multiple how long do you leave between dives for your nitrogen levels to go down?

    • Dani Newman
      June 8, 2017

      Hi Oakem,

      We are doing between one and two dives per day, between an hour and ninety minutes long. Because the diving is so shallow, we don’t have to worry about nitrogen levels. With more tanks, we could stay down indefinitely!

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