Just checking in again. Today I finished the presentation for the Underwater Archaeology STEM program. I was responsible for putting together a brief presentation for the museums on Underwater excavation and a few of the excavations the Underwater Archaeology Branch of the NHHC (aka the group that I'm interning for) was a part of. It really was a great learning experience. For instance, I learned that I don't think I'd ever want to volunteer for the headache that is underwater excavation. Besides the fact that there is no air down there, visibility is poor, you have to worry about the local wildlife a bit more, and by the way, YOU CAN'T SEE ANYTHING.
After turning in the presentation, it was right onto another project. This one is still dealing in the same section. With each presentation is an activity. I'm currently working on the excavating activity, geared towards high school students. It's pretty cool. Basically we're trying to simulate a dig in any way we can. Excavation teams of students have to "dive" and document three-four different artifacts from a "ship wreck". They need to document their location in the wreck, give a thorough description, provide measurements, and even make a little sketch.
But here's the catch. They can only "dive" in pairs and trios, and only for 5 minutes at a time. That's all the "oxygen" they have. Also, their forms aren't waterproof, so they have to take notes on "waterproof note cards" and bring them back to the surface to document each piece and draw the item from memory.
Because of the time constraints of an excavation season, their season will only be thirty minutes long. So they're not racing each other, but they are racing the clock. And the better and more thorough the data, the easier time they will have identifying the ship they were excavating later on.
Pretty cool, huh? I thought so. The only thing is, I'm a little uncertain about the difficulty. These are high school kids (like honors program high school kids), so I wanted to make it challenging, but at the same time it's difficult to judge what is challenging for someone who isn't an archaeology major. This activity might be difficult for me. If that's the case, then it might not be possible for the high schoolers. I'm going to have to run some sort of test. The good news is, I'm not making them set up their grid system in shifts. That's something I'm recommending they do beforehand with the teacher so that they have a nice and easy grid to work with on their plans. Their grid and their scale already set up, they can focus on the artifacts and documenting them. Grids always take forever anyways.
Tomorrow I get to start researching which artifacts I'm going to include. We want to use examples of actual ships, but we can't just take an artifact out of a museum case. So we're thinking photos of the artifacts, maybe blown up and cropped so they can see the details. It's supposed to be, essentially, a more durable, two-dimensional version of the actual thing. Might seem a bit lamer than the real deal, but I think museums would appreciate it better.
Just one more thing before I sign off for the night. Today on my way to work, I had the fortune of running into an acquaintance from school. You know who you are if you're reading this. All I've got to say is that it is indeed a small world and we should get together some time down here in D.C. Shoot me a message.
Nighty night folks!