Mar. 16th, 2012

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It was a pretty lousy day today.  It rained most of the time, which wasn't helpful. 

Archaeologists are pretty well used to rain.  But sensitive survey equipment and expensive cameras aren't that keen on it.  It started off damp and dreich, then when we went back to the van for our teabreak, the damp dreich weather got worse and a downpour ensued.  We waited a little longer, to see if it lessened, but it didn't, so we went for an early lunch in the hope things would improve.

It did, slightly, but we still had to venture out into the rain, and take a large sample bag out to use as a hat for the total station.  Since we were doing well for time, The Great Surveyor gave me my first tutorial in How To Use The Total Station.  Normally, I limit myself to the GPS and the dumpy level, so this was stretching my normally luddite instincts to the limit.  But it was actually quite exciting - I learned how to set it up properly (like a dumpy, but even more precise).  Once you've levelled the machine, you have to make sure the laser is centred over a nail in the centre of a wooden pen beneath the tripod, and then level the machine again, before doing a final fine-tuning to make sure the EDM is really, really, REALLY level.  Then you have to work out its height, input this, and ensure you've either added the grid reference or entered an arbitrary grid reference.  She was going to progress onto Level 2, Actually Taking The Reading, but my brain was already in a whirl at this point, so I thought I'd better quit when I was ahead.

Needless to say, the rain stopped enough for us to complete the survey, take all the photos of the elevations and complete all the accompanying notes.  There's a plan to be taken next time we're out there, and after that, we'll be leaving the stairs in the market garden behind us and heading off to survey the rustic arch.

Though next time, we'll maybe have to take the weather into account...

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