East Carolina University 2007 Field School
in Underwater Archaeology
4 June 2007
By Steve Dilk
Monday. The majority of Americans will probably tell you that Mondays are their least favorite day of the week. It usually signifies another week back at the daily, mind- numbing grind. This particular Monday is rather significant to those of us lucky enough to be working on the Kickin’ Bitch site for the exact opposite reason as that stated above. It is on this day that we can begin our main objective of mapping the ship and saying “Adieu” to the drudgery of dredgery. In the last few days, we have managed to remove a significant amount of the voluminous mud that was covering most of the vessel.
Each student in their sections during the preliminary mapping. (large view)
As we arrived at the site early in the morning Dr. Stewart as well as the crew chiefs and Dr. Babits surveyed the area in order to ascertain any and all the damage that might have been done by the brief Tropical Storm Barry. They surmised that only a small section near the stempost would need to be dredged. Around noon Adam went over the area that Mel was dredging and gave his support to a full mapping operation. The engine was silenced and all we were left with was a few insects buzzing, the wind blowing, and the appetizing smell of sulfur emissions rising from the depths of the mud.
Adam instructing Steve on proper "feeling techniques". (large view)
The Kickin’ Bitch is small enough that it can be portioned into four sections each 10 feet x 10 feet. Starting from the stempost Mel has 0-10 ft. I have 10-20ft; Jeremy is my other neighbor at 20-30ft., and at the sternpost Nadine has 30-40 ft. The mapping operation is fairly difficult, especially for a beginner to get a handle on, because although the water is not deep it is not clear either. Consequently, a fair amount of feeling is involved with this operation. I’ve found, at the behest of my crew chief, that measuring parts of my hand like the length of my index finger, the length of my arm from elbow to index finger, and the length of my pinky to thumb, help accomplish this task. To compound matters, as the only undergraduate with little nautical knowledge to refer to, I find myself asking many questions and having to anticipate many procedures that may be assumed for the graduate students but not for me. In this venture I feel I fair evenly. Today’s mapping review proved that I am successful in some areas but not so in others. For example, I was informed that cleaning up a slate after a dive takes precedence over putting that information into our journals.
Jeremy and Nadine mapping their sections. (large view)
In the remaining time that we had I was able to map out a part of the centerboard trunk that ran entirely though my section. Tomorrow’s plan follows much of the same as today’s. The group will continue to map out their respective sections and work on their mapping techniques.
It would seem that the Kickin’ Bitch site has tested my wide-eyed optimism that was clearly evident in my first entry and would attempt to make a liar out of me when I said that the phrase “Today was a very exciting day” needed a disclaimer from myself because I would always be saying that due to my naivety. But, I am confident in what I wrote and stand by what I said. Today was an exciting day, and we are now a bit closer at getting a better picture of what the Kickin’ Bitch really looks like. It’s as if you were looking in a microscope and you have the right magnification but the fine-tuning is off. You can see all the microbes you scooped out of the water container labeled “North Creek” but you can’t see them well enough to make out the exact features and details that make each creature unique. Hopefully, by the end of the week we will have straightened out our fine-tuning.
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