Thursday, 24 November 2016
Wednesday, 9 November 2016
CLICK HERE for the Ireland 2017 Presentation
|Thanks for the great picture, Sam!|
Saturday, 5 November 2016
Monday, 31 October 2016
Wednesday, 19 October 2016
CLICK HERE Roscommon Herald - US Ambassador Visit
Sunday, 31 July 2016
We use it to map artefacts within a cutting, context topography (what the surface is like in 3D), features, field topography, grid points for GPR and Radiometer, and more.
The machine takes at least two people to run, but the ideal team is three. That way we can communicate easier, and switch out as needed. It also helps out in the fields, where we can have one person mostly warding off the cows, while the other two take points. Phones/comms help when working long-distance, but we also have a simple system of hand-signals to communicate without words.
To set up the total station. you also need Datums, or fixed points, to use as permanent references. They must be constant across years, so that data taken throughout the 10-year project is consistent and compatible.
To create a Datum, we find a good spot, dig a small hole, fill it with concrete, label it carefully before it dries, and record its exact location in the computer program after it dries.
We also create Temporary Datums, to be used for just one year, by pounding a stake into the ground. Their coordinates can be replaced in the computer each year.
Setup itself means finding a Datum, setting up the tripod so that it is centered on the datum and completely level, and attaching the machine to it. Since the data we collect is 3D, it is extremely important that it is level. if it wasn't, all the points on one side of the machine would be recorded as higher or lower than the actual physical points are, which could seriously mess up the mapping and interpretation.
Once that is done, we tell the machine which Datum it is on and how tall the tripod is, then we point it at another Datum and orient it. If this is done correctly, the machine knows where North is.
Then we tell it how tall the standing rod is (usually we keep it at its shortest setting, 1.3 meters, but if we are in a deep excavation, or behind hills, trees, or other obstacles, we may need to raise it to maintain the laser sightline), so it knows exactly where the point on the ground is, even though it can't see the ground.
Taking a point is fairly simple. Get the computer to the correct project and survey screen, hold the standing rod so that it is straight up-and-down level and steady with the mirror facing the machine, line up the laser sights with the mirror, and click to shoot. Then signal the person holding the rod to move to the next point, and repeat.
Once we have all the data from one location, we take it down and set up somewhere else, or take the machine to the Office and upload all the information to the computers to be manipulated into maps and other useful graphics.
My experience this year
Working the Station is tricky enough to require skill, but simple enough that you're not constantly lost. Good communication with the team is important to make the work go smoothly, so smaller group sizes work better, especially when we all get along. The other two on Total Station are Dave and Colin, who are both pretty chill. We all seemed to agree on the background music, too, which helped everyone enjoy themselves.
We hike around a lot, lugging the box and pointy things, which is great for impromptu weight training on the way to the next assignment. :)
When using the machine... we press the Left button a lot. The system isn't totally efficient, and sometimes it takes ten or more button presses to get between taking a point and reviewing the point (like when we're re-setting stakes to specific coordinates, or going back to find the last artefact number we shot).
Once you get the hang of it though, it's more amusing than frustrating. And if you're careful, you don't have to review the points very often, either.
Another benefit to the Total Station is that you are needed at all the field sites, so you get to see what's going on everywhere but the lab.
Most people at the dig are more or less confined to their one specialized zone, which is good because they know a lot about it and can interpret it better than others, but also means they don't know very much about what's going on with the other teams.
We got to see whenever a cutting found a new context, artefact, or feature, what parts of the field were getting zapped with GPR or Radiometer, and even what the data looked like in the Office, while it was being manipulated; all the while collecting our own important information, finishing other projects, and setting up new sites and Datums in preparation for next year.
If I manage to come back next year, I might well be on this team again. I enjoyed it.
Wednesday, 27 July 2016
Reaching for the Stars by Adin White
|Castles and Communities staff member Colin Drake|
Jaramillo wows the crowd with a harmonica solo
In Ireland, the camp, and swordfight training.
The last day of camp with pizza and water balloons. Party at clonalis with Aaron. - Gael
Tuesday, 26 July 2016
Sunday, 24 July 2016
Gradiometry. When I came to this field school I was excited for the digging aspect and being in a medieval castle, so it's kindof ironic that what I spent most of my time doing was walking back and forth through a field, scaring off cows with stakes while looking underground for something we didn't know even existed. But now this whole magnetometry process has touched my soul because it shows that even things that aren't present to us above ground can still leave its mark on the world. I loved the field school and loved staying at Clonalis. The directors were awesome and so down to Earth and willing to let you try anything you wanted to. I can't wait for next year!
On the trip to see Castlerea for the first time, we (the students) were asked to complete a mini scavenger hunt. We had to find the price of a scone at a particular deli, than we had to find out the average price of a cow, and if the local pizza places would deliver. The trip in general was fun, but Castlerea gave out a different vibe than any other town we have visited. Castlerea is a small town in CO. Roscommon. Not as small as Ballintubber, but still small. Castlerea is a dull and grey town; at least those are the words I would use to describe it. Most of the shop keepers are friendly, but most of the general public there will pass you by without even a smile. The town is abandoned; every other shop there is closed down. I heard it was partly because the town never recovered from the recession. Castlerea has a main street where all the shops and pubs are located. There used to be a hotel there, but since it has closed, the other businesses (shops. Etc.) Have suffered from a lack of tourism. Once a week one of the pubs will host an event such as traditional music, but that is not enough to attract any large amount of attention. Once a week, every Thursday, there is a livestock market held which brings many residents from other towns, which is the busiest day of the week where the most activity is seen. One day during this trip, I went into the town of castlerea and talked to all the shop keepers. I asked them what they think of our project and if it might benefit their town in any way. Many of them said that it would be a great idea if we could eventually get the castle to a point where people were welcome to look around and tour the castle, because tourists would have to drive through their town and doing so could potentially bring more business to the area. Even though that day is far off in the future if even possible, it is good to know that our project has the support of the surrounding towns, not only the community in which we live and work.
Friday, 22 July 2016
The lab is where all of the findings go after they have been excavating from the cuttings. The people in the lab wash bones, dry wash artifacts, give them artifacts/sample numbers and put them into the database. -Dana Noguera
|This is the outside of the lab|
|Artifact bag: Nail|
|Maya and Rebekah working hard|
Thursday, 21 July 2016
Tuesday, 19 July 2016
"My favorite part is I like mattocking and Niall yelling, "This girl has some anger!". Dead magpie inside the Mansion house was pretty horrible, gave me nightmares about the movie, "The Birds". I like the walk from the Mansion, it's soothing. I like the rain, that's probably my favorite thing. I love making up nicknames at the cutting: trowling trolls, mattocking maniacs, dirt maids, sexy straighteners, trowel beasts. The smell of Luca's dirty hair. Eileen Kenny. Oh and Rachel's constant compliments, working with her is great because she is always saying: "You're doing archaeology. Thanks guys. You're doing great." - Mona Abboud
"Highlight was probably I really liked the tour in Tulsk (Rathcroghan, Cave of Cats, etc) it was really interesting, the tourist center was great. Historical documents that tie into the history and the O'Connors. Seeing the landscape and imagining how it would be in the past. Going to the inauguration mound and then seeing the coronation stone at Clonalis. It was cool to see the history dotted around. Just seeing all the different type of landmarks was cool. I really liked Carrowkeel, it was pretty." -Lauren Obrien
"Heritage park was amazing with the Viking raid we did. That was awesome! Everything was great this year. Mad Hatter's Ball [at Kenny's Lounge] was crazy! I love cutting 2 definitely, it's my baby. Vive la France, vive la revolution!" - Arthur Briens
'This is one of my most favorite time of the year, that I get to meet all the Americans, it's really nice to see everyone happy and partying. It's nice to see everyone work together. Wait, wait, wait, I'm trying to think! It's so nice to see the community do so much for during the time that we are here. Umm...stop writing! That everyone is just amazing in the trip....in their own way. That's it." - Luca Brady
"It's fun, huh? I hate social media. My favorite part is meeting all these people and getting to work with them and sit and pick their brain, to have an intellectual conversation is an amazing experience. Am I done? Don't read it back to me." -Leena Murphy
"Feck! As good as begging as there ever was! Favorite food: chicken curry. I eat that shit up! The chips at Kenny's! Favorite day: the attack on the Vikings in Wexford yelling and running int he middle of the night was great. Whiskey helped. What else. Really happy no one pooped anywhere inappropriate this year. Dishes getting out of hand but I'll take over that debauchery. Caught me on a slow day. We get to close the last two weeks with Jose. Shout out to Ileen and James Kenny. And a...yeah. Don't the poucheen kids." -Dave Wachsman (also known as Thor)
"Umm, I'm really enjoying the weather, it reminds me of California though. I really love it here, but I miss my family, I'm excited to be home. It's only been two days but I miss the rain. I hope I don't get sunburned, but catch me at the end of the day and I'll look like a lobster. I'm excited to come back next year. I don't know, I feel awkward, I'm done." - Erin Olewinski
"Drama, drama, drama is annoying, but living with a lot of people, I guess that's to be expected. I like working with the laser. I like how we have been doing cultural stuff in addition to the dig. We are also interacting with the community and local history, which gives better context about what we are working with. Doing excavation is cool because you're able to see which things are next to each other so it's easier to interpret what it was. For foot survey, I kept tripping so it wasn't as fun for me. With the total station, you can learn from every section so you can get a lot of information, fast. Tomorrow I am going to the library in Roscommon for my independent project and I'm hoping they have the information I need and that I have enough time there. As for the housing setup, it's interesting how sickness moves around. The whole place, and Ireland itself, is interesting; the scenery, plants, animals, etc." -Rozlyn MacDermott
"In general, this whole trip has been one big adventure. Traveling around and hearing the myths, seeing the sights and meeting all these amazing people. Rich heritage and deep pride in their history. Hearing all the history and magic that this place has and working in a castle is incredible. It's a life altering experience that I will always remember." -Jaymi McGinn
"Ballintubber has been very, very good to me. I'm really enjoying the program with a lot of friendly, great people. I've enjoyed all different aspects of the project I've been put on. I've also enjoyed the massive amount of bananas we've been getting. I didn't know that Ireland is a large banana producing nation and has a great abundance. I have been flooded with information and sensation of the rich history of this area of Ireland. It is going to take quite a while for me to process it. I am still filtering it in my brain. Thank you and I think I'll return next year." -Scott Brogley
|"This is one of my favorite years ever..so far! I've been running field schools with Sam, Chad, Siobhan, and Mo for the last ten years and I've had such a great time in Ireland this year. I've had the pleasure of meeting and getting to know some of the local moms in town and the children. My kids have also been enjoying their time as well (look for their blog soon). The Foothill students and staff have been working so hard uncovering beautiful Medieval architecture and finding cool artifacts!! We will definitely come back to Ballintubber next year!" - Ana Lucia Gonzalez|
|“You tell one little beaver story and you are marked for life as an automatic weapon! All I said was imagine the last prehistoric beaver alone in a cave, dying, because he can’t find a mate! Although I am surprised that the directors, Ana and Sam, call me that. You know, it’s all your fault! You started with the sloths! [talking to me, Cristyna].” –AK-47 (aka Aleks Jimenez, aka Aleks with a k, aka Beaver Killer, aka achoo achoo achoo (she never sneezes once)…theres a lot more aka’s)|
|"The lab is pretty awesome! Bones are pretty cool. I learned how to identify ONE BONE since I’ve been here and it is called the atlas it holds your head onto your body. My favorite thing abut the trip: the Dublin museum, the ancient Egypt museum was the best! This trip was defiantly a great experience, even though the weather sucks… Except right now!" – Kayla Ward|
|"I like the Tayto’s they are my favorite! I eat one bag a day. I love postcards! I send 10 cards a week to different people. Mom got four, my boyfriend got four my friend got three. I don’t know how many that is I’m not a math person. I GOT TO MEET RAMIEL! I’ve really liked meeting new people, that I like and dislike… I learned I really liked cleaning bones, I guess I’m a Lab person. Everyone in our house is messy, I got tired of washing dishes in the first week so now I only wash my own. “Look at this. Look at this bone. Ramiel look” People and the locals are really friendly here. I really like traveling but I’m getting homesick. “Hi Cristyna, I feel like you leave our house because we have no food. We only have eggs. I don’t know what else to talk about. I’M NOT DONE. Give me a minute to think. This seems interesting I want to see what you got. Give me something that we did… OH, GOING IN THE CAVE. That was cool. Did everyone talk about feelings with Chad? I liked that I got to tell Chad everything I hated, such as being messy in our house. OH MY GOSH! Want to know what annoys me the most… When people leave a plate on the counter when the sink is four feet away. Yeah I can’t handle a roommate, I’m commuting to school. I think it’s because my mom always made us be clean so I’m used to it." – Dana Noguera|
|"Alright. What’s the first question? I would say one of my favorite things is definatly getting to leave home, and come up to work with old friends. Like Cristyna, and Jose and Dave. As for working in the Lab it is a change of pace from working in the field for 3 weeks. It’s nice because we have enough people so we don’t have to always rush everyday. Other than that… The only problem is I feel like we run out of stuff to do right now. It felt like that yesterday. As for the house for this year, it’s about the same as last year. So I knew what to expect in terms of messiness. Excuse me a minute, I need to get… Hang on… I just needed to grab another bag. What was the most fun things was the hikes… Even if they were tiring. Although I did get lost going up there I took the wrong path. Meeting the new students was fun. It’s a learning experience for the staff. Don’t really have a whole lot to say other than hope I get the chance to work with you again next year." –Johnny Beran|
Monday, 18 July 2016
|"I'm having fun today because the sun is out, we are playing American barbeque songs, Will is working, Jose is riding a bike, very smart move. we just had an Irish breakfast. I fixed a bucket. There are four more days left. My kids are happy in summer camp. And the students are great this year, I have been so happy with their progress and accomplishments. Even Ramiel. And Joseph is wearing rubber pants." - Sam Connell (Our fearless leader)|
|"Exhilarated. I feel wonderful. Just look up, it is a sunny day in Ireland. Nice hole [in reference to the cutting in Garvey's field]." - Colin Jaramillo|
"No comment... Please, No paparrazzi. Step away from the bike! (continued riding bike to site) [20 mintues later] Alright since you keep bothering me, I'm ready for my close up Mr. DeMille. My feelings about this project so far?.... I thought I came to work hard and expand my knowledge of castles; I never thought I'd come to Ireland and get a sexy tan. Yet here I am, with a sexy (farmers) tan and in Ireland. Great weather Irish weather gods. I wonder how much it would cost to get an authentic taco truck from Mexico to pull up at the schoolhouse; Bosco has connections with transportation. I'm going to ask him. Speaking of Bosco, shout out to all of Ballin T! No more questions." - Jose Martin
"I have my secrets and I am not telling." - Nancy O'Shea
Sunday, 17 July 2016
Yesterday, we had Heritage Day where the community has food, crafts, and events. It's like a farmers market mixed with a festival. We saw how to churn butter, tug o war matches, delicious treats (scones from Benny's are the best you'll ever have). The project participated by giving guided tours of the castle so people could come in and see what we have been working on. There were around 200-300 people who came out and spent the day here in Ballintubber for the event which is AWESOME! Completed not anticipated and it was great to see everyone come out and join us!
Below are some pictures of such an amazing day!
|Groups lining up for castle tours|
|Explanation of Cutting 1|
|Using the total station to shoot in artifact points|
|Explaining Cutting 2|
|Tug O War! U.S. men vs Irish men|