Thursday, September 27, 2007

A Mapping We Will Go

We spent the day out at Port Tobacco but did not dig a single hole. Instead we used the total station to lay in six datum points and get three dimensional coordinates for hundreds of surface features, buildings, and vegetation.

There are several goals to all this mapping.

First is the creation of an accurate site map that documents where we have excavated. One of the areas we mapped today was excavated by avocational archaeologists approximately 15-years ago. Without a map of their excavations we cannot determine the extent of their efforts until we re-excavate there. The photo above shows one depression they left behind.

Second, a site map that documents the locations of buildings, trees, paved roads, and other obstructions provides visual explanation of why certain areas were not excavated.

Third, we are documenting the 2007 version of Port Tobacco that may prove useful for future historians, archaeologists, planners, etc.

Lastly, an accurate digital map of Port Tobacco can serve as base map over which the various maps of the late 1800s town can be laid. Computer software can be used to stretch compress, or rotate the historic maps until they fit with the base map. For this process our most important refernce points are the corners of the Burch, Chimney, and Stagg Hall, houses as they are the only structures that are depicted on all maps.


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