Flinders University 2007 Field School
in Underwater Archaeology
7 February 2007
By Andrew Viduka
Day three of the field school and red team have deteriorated into a Justin Timberlake fan club. Multiple socio-psychological studies could not predict such a rapid level of mental dysfunction yet any experienced fieldworker could easily predict just such a rapid decay of moral and mental capabilities. Karson and Debbie have been particularly badly affected. They have been witnessed copying the Bananas in Pajamas by covering their heads with seaweed (happy to give a book reference if you are that keen on ABC children stories).
The day started with a burst of energy (well we were ready on time!) as red team marshaled their mental resources, girded their equipment intensive sport attire and gathered up their chosen archaeological tools to do battle for the day (read survey in the cold!). Aware that our survey was forestalled the day before by battery failure, we went fully charged (except for the walkie talkies!!!!). Much hat waving, stick waving, shouting and walking up and down the causeway by team members resulted in us completing the total station survey. Several prayers of thanks were muttered and knees were generally dusted off.
The red team measuring pilings.
Without delay (not counting lunch), we leapt into our next planned activity of the day. After some discussion we decided to change the tasking and Karson and Jess leapt in the water to measure pylon heights, widths and deterioration zones. Interestingly this was attempted in 5mm wetsuits with a flood tide coming in and all hands encumbered. Need I mention that neither had their fins on! Much rolling, laughing and general merriment later, the survey was completed. I stayed top side to improve my tan and to attempt to draw the physical structure. Unfortunately, neither were achieved to any level of success.
Subsequently, I got busy condition reporting the site (archaeology is such fun!). A few, cupped planks, weathered beams, abutting joints with losses later and I was once again a member of RED TEAM, in the water and clutching a stadia rod and sharing the trials and tribulations of my team!!!
Social highlights of the day included visits from Jason Raupp, Jen McKinnon, Chuck Meide and Sharan Baskhar (it was a proverbial revolving door and we never had anything nice to offer, such poor hosts!!!). The final effort for the day was a dive in harrowing conditions. Certain that I would suffer a dci from the 1.2 m profile physically obtainable without a shovel or a lot of fining, I reserved my energy and attempted to breathe as quickly as possible to blow my tank so that I could get out before boredom did for me. With Amer Khan as dive buddy we almost landed on top of a stingray. I do not know who was more surprised, us or him. For the last three days we had only seen a pitiful number of micros, puffer fish and a very excited starfish (well it looked excited compared to the marine flora around it!), so the ray was major league marine fauna in Victor Harbour. Pumped from our encounter with dangerous marine animals we decided to get out of the water and go home for the day. The rest as they say, is history!
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