Ken's Skagafjordur Archaeological Settlement Survey Journal

Coming to Turfs
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A remarkably splendid day today, with bright sunshine and a mild breeze in the morning, turning to a moderate one in the evening.

We spent the day stripping turf from a 25-meter-long by 3-meter-wide trench that goes up and over an artificial mound. Historical sources tell us about the farmstead that was here for some generations, but we want to see how well our ground-penetrating radar (GPR) units work. Taking off the turf allows the machinery to make much better readings of the structures lying under the ground.

Removing 75 square meters of turf is quite a bit of work, so much so that the director bought us all beers at dinner. A can of beer here goes for about $12, so buying them for 15 people is a real treat, even when the weather was so nice.

By the way, we are not working at the former longhouse of Snorri Thorfinnsson as expected and mentioned earlier, but at another site just across the road and up the valley side a ways. I'll post exaction location tomorrow with a link to Google maps so you can see us.

Anyway, after we cleared the turf they dragged the GPR unit over the area in some 20-30 passes, going 25 cm over each time. This allows the construction of a grid showing what's down there, and we'll excavate a little to clear the stone and turf walls to prove the methodology.

Tomorrow it looks like we'll be deturfing another trench perpendicular to this one, across the mound, but not as long, in order to make a good cross-section test of the procedures.

(By the way, the airline says they know where my missing bag is: still in Boston!)

Pop quiz time:

You know the next month's going to be a good one for fieldwork when the topics of discussion at lunch (not started by you) are:

a) What Lord of the Rings characters best match to each person on the project

b) What's your favorite episode of Star Trek

c) Nintendo games

d) Your favorite fantasy books and authors

e) All of the above

Answer: E


Making our own turf wall from the turves we removed.

Project director discussing GPR with his students.

Our smallest GRP unit, called "Shoebox," doing its thing.

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