Sunday, May 24, 2009

Digging after the rain.

We are back at work after an evening of record-setting rain.  We had to quit a bit early yesterday as some thunderstorm cells moved over Parowan.  Most of the crew went up to camp at about 3:45 as the storm blew in.  Jessica, Guy and I stayed behind to wait out the rain with our volunteers.  Kirk, Ester, and India Henrichsen came down to work with us yesterday and their work went beyond the call of duty when they shoveled and screened through the rain.

This morning is beautiful, as shown by this picture of Frank at the screen.  The only camp problem brought on by the rain overnight concerned poor Renée, who cheerfully announced to the rest of us that she now has a waterbed in her tent.

Renée and Samantha are finishing their drawing of the kiln, now fully exposed and cleaned up in their unit:
Yesterday while everyone was digging, I spent some more time with Chuck Young's magnetometer maps.  I scaled his maps and plotted Renée and Sam's discovery on top of it. In my drawing, the black box represents their 2x2 meter excavation unit.  The white circle represents a general guess about the kiln size.  The point of my efforts was to try and figure out how well the geophysical map captured what we have found in the ground.  This type of effort is generally called "ground truthing" in remote sensing:

As you can see, I think we have a remarkable match between the image and the discoveries.  Keep in mind that the red and blue colors are the opposite poles of a magnetic field (the north and south).  If you were in school and even did the experiment where you shake iron filings onto a piece of paper with a magnet underneath, you can imagine the blue and red as the two different sides of the magnetic field that become visible in the filings.

Chuck Young is still working on the data, refining his initial map that I used above.  He has sent me a draft of the new map, which I rescaled and drew upon.  You can see the magnetic field of what is probably a second kiln just north (below) of the current kiln on the plot below:
So my current theory is that there are two kilns, side by side on the north-south axis here, each with blue-red poles.  In order to find out if the map really shows the location of another kiln, we put in units to the north of Renée and Samantha.  Pictured here:
The Henrichsens helped us shovel-scrape the plowzone yesterday during the rain.  Michael is working in these units now and he will start excavating 1/2 of these three 2/2 meter units.  We hope that he will come across the top of the second kiln.

I'll try to write more later today about the other excavation units.  

We enjoyed a BBQ last night as Parowan residents kicked off the holiday weekend.  Everyone back in the Midwest will be glad to know that the cook prepared some excellent brats along with lots of other delicious food.  The students were grateful to be graciously hosted for such a terrific dinner.  I hope that everyone from dinner comes out to the site soon so they can see what we are doing in the heart of their town!

We are in the process of signing up the students so that they can write entries for the blog.  Hopefully we'll have that set up before the holiday is over.

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