Fieldschool Day 18

19 08 2009
All the tourists are gone

All the tourists are gone

… and so are we… (I thought this last impression of Prerow Beach was a fitting picture for the last day). Home to Esbjerg after a lot of cleaning and clearing up. We certainly had a great time – perfect diving, exciting archaeology, a lot of motivation and good mood everywhere and great barbecues!

So, in the name of the “University teaching staff”, many thanks to all participants for the great work and motivation!!!

We would also like to thank Detlef Jantzen and Jens-Peter Schmidt from the Landesamt für Kultur und Denkmalpflege for inviting us, the Bauamt Fischland Darss and Frau Pfeiffer in the Kurverwaltung Prerow for their support and help with our “basecamp”, the international school in Prerow and here especially the caretaker Her Schütt for all the help and support with equipment and the gym, our “site-office”, and last but not least Familie Fiedler in Richtenberg for equipping us with a full field kitchen and fridge and our trusty “handwagen” and speedwelding the UMA!

Jens Auer

Assistant Professor

Maritime Archaeology Programme


Fieldschool Day 17

13 08 2009
The Maritime Archaeology team surveying.

The Maritime Archaeology team surveying.

Today the total station arrived. We were all rather excited at camp by the idea of using the total station to get the exact location of FPL 17. Excited by the fact that the only total station knowledge we had was of using one in Thorsminde Denmark, for recording the Rudder of the ship HMS St. George. (See under Projects)

A total station can plot points and give GPS co ordinates by shooting light into a prism. The prism for FPL 17, since underwater, was attached to a very large poll so that it would sit above 3.5 meters in the water and still have the prism exposed for the total station to shoot from land.

The first (and only) divers of the day, Bente and Kostas set out on the boat and began the dive. 5 hours later, the two divers disassembled all the baselines and attained 4 datum points along the wreck. In order to do this, Kostas had to paddle his little Greek heart out at the surface to make sure the points were level with the total station that was on land (assisted by Christian), while Bente held the heavy poll steady at the stem post, the stern post and amidships between frames 350 and 207.

Of course this sounds all nice and easy writing it now on this blog, but I can assure you it took great effort to align the prism with the total station – 45 minutes to be exact. Rain and long distance from the total station on shore where not in the divers favour, but practice made perfect as they did it twice to be sure.

The last few frames of the‘4am wreck’ were measured and completed in the early hours of the day, as we sat out in the rain drawing and measuring with soggy clothing and smiles on our faces. Ironically, after all was completed for FPL 17 and FPL 77, the sun decided to greet us with its presence. So we began the interesting task of taking samples from FPL 77 for tree ring analysis. In order to do this, Christian, Sarah, Andrew, Marja, Della and I hesitantly began cutting pieces of the frames we had spent so long getting to know. Andrew teared up as he sawed away at the very frame he drew early that day. 10 samples later, and smelling a bit funny from waterlogged wood, we finished the day with Piñacoladas at the Prerow beach party.

Cate Wagstaffe

Fieldschool Day 16

11 08 2009
Jen Dredging inside the ship at the stern

Jens Dredging inside the ship at the stern

It had been raining all night and it was still raining a bit when we got up, so it seemed to be a wet day. But as the other times with rain at night, this day turned out to be a warm day afterall. The main aim of the day was to keep dredging by the mast of the ship and record what appeared with photos and measured sketches.

First dive started out with a drysuit that turned into a very wet suit because of a big hole in the sleeve. Fortunately Christian, Cate and Sarah were quickly at the beach to step in for the wet diver. A measured sketch and lots of documentation were made of the mast by Martin and Marja so it turned out succesfully after all.

On dive 2, our two professors, Jens and Thijs, were dredging by the mast and tried to find out where the mast were supported but with no luck. They decided that work should be continued on the inside of the stern where a lot of modern stuff appeared but also some worked timber pieces that were sketched and photographed on the third dive by Cate and Christian.

In the camp Kostas made the curves from the UMA measurments in excell. Some curves turned out very well while others looked like bananas on a hook. The work with the ”4 am wreck” is processing and the last four frames are on their way to be finished.

Bente Grundvad

Fieldschool Day 15

10 08 2009
Dredging Operations

Dredging Operations

It wasn’t forecasted to be so, but the day began with barely a breath of wind in the air and the sea was almost perfectly calm. Dredging was continuing on the Telephone Receiver Wreck and Sarah and Kostas were going to have to dig deep.  They weren’t to know it but they would spend the most of their dive almost completely upside down. Next up to dive were Cate and Liv and they started their dredging near the main mast but they werent about to find any sails considering the mast was completely buried into the seabed.  Last but not least were Andrew and Sarah who took over where Cate and Liv finished up. They dreged even deeper and when the clouds of silt had settled shot some amazing film of the wreck.

Martin Lonergan.

Fieldschool Day 14

9 08 2009
Bente demonstrates her natural abilities with a dredger

Bente demonstrates her natural abilities with a dredger

Today we began dredging around the shipwreck.  Our plan is to make three “trenches” around the ship: at the bow, the stern, and inside the ship at the mast.  Unlike a trench found on a land excavation, these trenches are more like craters, and they have a tendency to refill themselves if the sides get to be too steep.  It is possible that the crater made today won’t even be visible tomorrow, as the sea is constantly moving sand and sediment.

The three teams made some progress with their dredging, although the sediment proved to be less than stable.  The crater did collapse in a bit, so the next day of working will be redoing what we did today.  A few draft markings were uncovered in the process, and once they have been measured, they can be used to determine where the ship came from.

After the three working dives, we filmed a few tasks for the next batch of students on the dive course.  This included removal and replacement of a full-face mask while underwater, and a rescue drill.  Owing to the professionalism of all those involved, both tasks were executed with no problems, and only needed multiple takes due to problems with the filming equipment.

We are also making excellent progress with FPL 77, the 4 AM wreck.  More planks have been removed, and we are expecting to have recording completed by Wednesday, as well as dendrochronolgy samples taken.

Andrew Stanek

Fieldschool Day 13

9 08 2009

Another day with high sun and 30º c, luckily the wind changed direction to south east and toke of in strength and the waves got smaller.

Todays tasks  was to measure the rest of the frames with UMA (Underwater Measure Apparatus) and to sketch internal structures of the wreck. We got some nice sketching done of the bow and stern and al the frames got measured as well. It was the plan of getting some underwater filming done, but technical problems with the camera put an end to that.

There was a lot of activity around the 4 AM wreck, a couple more planks were removed from the underlying frames and drawing was started. Some of them finished, others need more work tomorrow.

Some frames that came loose when planks were removed, we also started to record. The frames are being recorded from all four sides and in projection view.

Evening swims can definitely be recommended around here.

Sarah and Andrew cooked a lovely vegi meal that fitted the Saturday beer perfectly.

Fieldschool Day 12

7 08 2009
Story time at FPL 77

Story time at FPL 77

Today we were again blessed with glorious weather at the school site and the sea conditions were also favourable for diving. The aim for the first of the days diving on the ‘Telephone Reciever wreck’ (FPL 17) was to use the newly renamed Underwater Measuring Apparatus ® to capture the curve of the ship’s frames, Bente and Martin made good headway on this.

Later Christian added to the plan of the wreck site while Marja took measurements and noted descriptions of all the timbers. For the last dive of the day Thijs continued the task of timber descriptions while Jens potogrpahed the wreck. All this diving was closely watched over by standby divers and captain for the day Sarah.

Meanwhile, back at the ranch….work continued on the ‘4am’ wreck (FPL 77) with another clinker plank being removed and other loose clinker planks being carefully measured and sketched by the remainder of the team on land with a brief interruption by a group of local kindergarten children who had a story time with Jens learning about the piece and its importance.

All in all everything went according to plan today, including the ice cream after dinner…

Delia Ni Chiobhain