03 April, 2008

First week's (or almost) impressions

So, its almost been a week now. I've done four days so far of hard work...well, most of the work is climbing that mountain we like to call a "hill". But anyhow, I come home everyday sunburnt and dirty and I couldn't be happier. Sure, sometimes its sllloooowwww going but it was that way even in Perú and I remember that with a lot of fondness. I'm not excavating as much as I had hoped, but then the Feinmans told me that back in December.

Much of what I'm doing involves that yellow maching in the picture with me. That's a total station or transit unit, basically what surveyors use, and we archaeologists use it to take elevations, locate center points for mapping, finding the northing and easting of units and artifacts, and a whole host of other things. It's so important to what we (tehe, I can say we now!) do. While I'm working the machine one of our Mexican trabajadores--I should say trabajadoras as its mostly the women that do this--hold whats called a prism rod. The person with the prism rod stands with it or places it on top of the object for taking an elevation and when I press the "read" button on the screen the unit shoots a laser beam at the prism rod which is reflected back at the machine and a "reading" is...um...taken.

Other than that, I help a lot with mapping the units--which involves setting up this strings or hilos and using measuring tape to measure the distance from the strings to certain objects in the units, such as rocks or walls or other artifacts/features and using those measurements to make a drawing of the unit for maps. Its confusing at first and takes a second but thats fun as well. I'm also a general assistant to the Feinmans, particularly Linda, and what's really awesome about that is I am learning a lot about the business and practice of archaeology--something I miss out on in Perú because it was all in Spanish and no one was particularly interested in actually teaching us.

So all in all I'm very happy to be here. All ready we have found some cool things, so I can't wait to see what we will uncover in the next 7 weeks. Oh and Mexico rocks!


DBR@or/inChicago said...

I want one of your laser pointer things...damn...sounds like fun.

Oh well, I'm riding the train to South Bend tomorrow night to hang out with a bunch of close friends, I'll be sure to get into some ill shit...and I'll love every minute of it.

Remember, if you get a chance, swipe me a finger bone :-)

Your former employer might be closed tomorrow, some major power issue happened under under the street in front of the building, and so all power is off tomorrow in the AM, we have to call in and see if we need to go to work or not. I tried to bribe JP to take down the phone system intentionally, but no go...

Any Ways. Take care of you. And you better attack some Mestizo Emo's for me.

Anonymous said...

Hey from the Oregon Country! Sounds likes you're having fun.


Chicago said...

Love that pose with the surveyor scope. Caption should read:
"Oh, yes I do know what this does, mother f*****?!"

Anonymous said...

Oh yes, we're all very well acquainted with that nefarious device of yours. What do you call it again, "total station machine"? Yeah, right, more like indigenous soul-sucking device from the capitalistic netherworld, that's what! :)