Saturday, December 1, 2007

Fall 2007

The Akin House is buttoned-up for the winter, with new plywood and Plexiglass coverings on its widows and doors. Work on the Akin House Archaeology Project continues even though we have been out of the field since early August.

In September, volunteers from Brown University and the University of Massachusetts Boston returned to the site (see the blog entry of their first visit). We used a total station to record the location and elevation (height above sea level) of every unit we dug in the Akin House yards. We also benefited from another remote sensing survey.

This time, the geophysics expert conducted a conductivity survey of the northern yard. Conductivity measures the rates at which electricity passes through the soil; soils with greater moisture conduct electricity better than those with little or no moisture. He will compare conductivity results to the results of his earlier magnetometer survey of the same area. Our 2007 excavation units did not hit either of two underground anomalies discovered by the magnetometer. We hope the conductivity survey will provide a better understanding of these underground features. Analysis is not yet complete, but I will post an update here when we know what the conductivity results look like. These results will be used to plan any future fieldwork at the house.

The Akin House continues to attract volunteers with special skills. On November 23rd, Josh King of Hager GeoScience Inc. was on-site to undertake yet another type of remote sensing: Ground Penetrating Radar, or GPR. GPR sends radar waves underground from a box-like radar antenna (red in the adjacent photograph) and reads the waves reflected back from underground soils and objects. The gear is suspended from a baby carriage-like frame, which also houses a computer read-out terminal (blue).

The GPR grids were marked by red flags. This survey covered more yard areas than any others to date. Our excavation units from the summer and buried utility lines were all visible even in the raw field data, and we are looking forward to the processed results. GPR is another powerful survey technique. It will aid planning at the Akin House site.