Today we officially began work on the north shore. At the moment our team is split into three different groups. One group will excavate at Kom W, one group will excavate hearths and the NZ team will continue survey from last year. We began with two transects south of Kom W, one of which was unfortunately on a sand dune. Because the dunes have formed since the mid-Holocene, they obscure the Neolithic remains and we usually don’t sample on them because visibility is compromised. One of our tasks this season will be to map these in detail and make sure they correlate with our satellite images. Fortunately our second transect was fine. This transect is almost due south of Kom W and on the edge of Z basin, very close to Gertrude Caton-Thompson’s Camp II basin, where she stayed while excavating Kom W in the 1920s. This transect has a lot of artefacts – stone artefacts, pottery, some fish and animal bone. We recorded 700 artefacts today and will hopefully complete this tomorrow. The beginning is always a little slow until everyone gets used to the work. We had a slight mishap with our differential GPS cable breaking in the early afternoon. The DGPS is very important as we use it to locate our transects (the coordinates of which we generate in GIS maps the night before), and set our total station. Simon and I attempted to repair it with Leathermans, but weren’t very successful. Fortunately now we are back at the dig house our camp manager Hamam was able to fix it, although we’ll have to treat it with extreme care!
We have a number of tasks listed in our season strategy we write ahead of time, but until we see the field conditions we don’t know exactly what we will be able to achieve. Usually senior members and directors discuss what research questions we want to address, what tasks we need to carry out in order to answer the questions, who will do what and how much time will be allocated to each task. This year we will be doing both survey and excavation. We will continue excavation at Kom W and excavate some of the hearths in X Basin, and continue survey. Hopefully the wind won’t make all that too difficult!