Monday, October 15, 2007

Field photos du jour Still at the site of Kom el-Hisn for these. Today's lesson: one way to draw site architecture.

Background: Most of the mud brick architecture -- Old Kingdom, First Intermediate(?), and Middle Kingdom, is pretty near the surface. All we had to do was scrape off the top 5-10cm and there it was. In 1988 we excavated using walls as our boundaries. That is, we excavated room by room, or whatever structure-like boundary of mud brick we decided to cal a "room". We didn't excavate every structure we found, but we tried to do everything within a few areas and left other structures (walls) sitting there. So, in the end we wanted a full map of the architecture. There are a lot of ways to do this, from freehand drawing by a professional artist to making each excavator within a grid square draw their own. We settled on a slightly different method.

First step (this was done near the end of the season so the whole grid system was already set up and staked out) was to go to each 2-meter square and clean the top to expose any features or intact artifacts that were present:

Full image here.

Mostly it's a matter of scraping away a bit of sediment, recognizing any bricks in this case, and outlining each brick with the tip of your trowel. That way if it dries out before you can get to drawing it, you'll still have the outline to work from.

Next, we had a 1-meter square grid that we laid on top at each corner of each 2-meter square:

Full image here.

After aligning it at the corner you bend over so you are looking straight down at each 10cm square within the larger square and draw what you see:

Full image here.

It works quite well since you don't have to do a lot of measuring like you do when drawing a profile. And since you're just drawing small sections at a time even a person who can't draw to save his life can be proficient at it. Michael, of course, would go over all the drawings again and check for accuracy, but it was a pretty efficient way to do it.

Hey, I even have one of me doing it:

Scruffy young chap.