tripod minus total station in sand storm

Well it’s blowing sand and wind and even rand (sand/rain) out here with a mighty fury! It started to pick up yesterday morning as we drove out to the field. We groggily noticed the clouded nature of our surroundings and as the sun rose we came to realise that the clouds came with a sand filled wind… At first we tried to complete the analysis of X1T38, with some of us nailing out artefacts and labelling them with their unique ID; others were analysing these artefacts, recorded using our netbooks. The Leica Total Station was also beeping around recording the spatial provenience of each artefact. All the while the horizon grew darker and closer. We strapped down the Total Station to prevent her from falling over and sat braced on our seats while continuing analysis.

trudging back to the land cruiser - if only we could see it!

By second breakfast (10am) the wind and sand picked up to such a speed that we had to cease analysis and shooting lasers with our TS for fear of the abrasive sand destroying all our electronics. After huddling in the rocking car to eat second breakfast it was decided that the least we could do was redraw the transect lines (now covered by a layer of sand) and survey the rest of the transect with coloured nails for different artefact types. We managed to do this until 2.30pm (usually we finish at 3pm) with another attempt at analysis and TS recording, but the wind and sand resumed its fury well into the night.  Sleep was a little difficult, with some tent-walls blown up from where they were buried in the sand, leaving their hosts shivering and sandy throughout the night. Waking up this morning I realised it was decidedly colder than yesterday and if it’s cold at the house then it’s colder in the field!

camp - check out those date palms for wind force/direction!

The team pulled their thermal underwear on (some didn’t and some forgot their gloves >.<) and we attempted another day of freezing (-10C), windy, sandy (did I mention windy and freezing) work in the desert. We managed to push through from 6.30am to 11am, the mornings seem less sandy so we were able to analyse, shoot-in and log the artefacts in X1T38. Once again second breakfast gladly took place within the shelter of the rocking Land Cruiser and the sand began to lift. It’s become a constant force of wind and sand since. I’ve just come in to the house from shovelling more sand on to the outer base of my tent walls (just in case)…

…Now for a hot cuppa and some desktop work. Let’s hope tomorrow will be merciful and field work a little more productive :/


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