02 August 2017
Today was another rainy day, so we found ourselves enjoying civilisation back in the lab. If one can call an archaeology department civilised. The tutors set up a quiz for us, sort of like a pub quiz, without the pub. They split the class into teams according to the project each person is part of, and then pitted the project groups against each other. Faunal, Lithics and Calcrete fought it out for the ultimate prize: chocolate.
The quiz came in four parts. The first was a set of questions on some readings about Duynefontein and the previous excavations done at the site. This went smoothly enough, and when this section was done each group moved on to one of the three remaining tasks. My group, the faunal group, decided to tackle the total station challenge next. Now, because of the top secret tactics that each group employed for this quiz, I can’t speak for the other groups. However, in our case, setting that total station up over a previous datum is harder than it sounds. And we were working on a carpet instead of the uneven ground out there in the real world. One has to get the tripod centred over the point, then get it level, then centre it again, then level it again, centre it again, and around here is when one starts praying. After numerous game plans, the lithics team took the best time for this challenge. We still don’t know how they managed such a fast time, but Alex (a.k.a. fountain of total station knowledge) advised us that sometimes you just get lucky.
Onto the lithics task. Identifying the kind of rock the rocks are, never gets old, and then we had to do some technical drawings of them. Remember, no sketching! I really put in a solid effort with the stones, but the general consensus from my group was that my drawings looked like a site map. Then it improved to looking like a golf course. At that point, I realised that I am probably just as glad as the lithics group that I’m not actually in the lithics group. Needless to say, my self-esteem is soaring.
The last task was the GPS plotting. A set of coordinates was put into a little GPS handheld device and we had to follow the arrow down the route on the screen across campus to find the point. I can only imagine we must have looked like real archaeologists because no one stopped to question us. Then we were sent to plot the coordinates of the corners of a building and the former Rhodes statue. Upon returning to the lab, the tutors tallied up the scores and announced that the lithics group were the winners. They would be getting lit tonight (have we already made that joke here?). Hey but in the end, it’s not about who wins, the important thing is that we all had fun. Right?