My Writings. My Thoughts.

Schleswig Field School Day 18

// June 27th, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig


Today was spent on tying up loose ends. A team went to Landesamt museum to clean the timbers, take samples and laser scan one of the timbers lifted two days ago. Another team stayed home at the rowing club to go through the photos taken of the timbers and to clean the dive equipment. While another team went with the boat back to the site to gather our buoys and deposit the timbers that didn’t go to landesamt, and this evening we are having a barbeque to celebrate a successful fieldschool!

Schleswig Field School Day 16

// June 27th, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig

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This day was cold and cloudy at first, but it turned out to be a pretty good day: Finally we have something in our hand à timbers! We lifted some, described, drew and photographed them and took also samples, which are going to be dendro-dated! Sawing oak is tricky underwater in Zero visibility! We are looking forward to get the lab-results!


Pictures one and two are of a corner of the North-South running timber in the North-West corner of box 8. The notch is where the pole goes though and the indents are from another timber than lies underneath it. The lighter part of the wood is sapwood which will give us great dendro-dates!

Picture three is of a pole that was pulled from a corner on the east side of the structure. You can see that it is eroded on top but the part under the sediment is fairly well preserved.

Schleswig Field School Day 15

// June 27th, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig


Today was a successful day. The calmer winds allowed us to get in four full dives. There were also people coring/probing in the western end to look for the extent. The two morning dives completed 5 box descriptions. The core crew was able to locate a full box, what is currently being called -9, that is inline with the geophysical data.

There was a small mishap in the afternoon that led to a free case of beer for everyone, well almost everyone. While Kait was trying to attach the hammer to her vest for underwater work she dropped it. And as it goes on site, if someone losses a tool they are then responsible for buying a crate of beer for the rest of the crew.


Between the accomplishments on site and the free beer it was a good day!

Photo: Niels as standby diver, a swimmer holding the prisim buoy and a team probing in the shallow water.

Schleswig Field School Day 14

// June 27th, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig


Big and ambitious plans lied ahead for this last Sunday of our excavation.

The geophysical data, showed that the structure was visible, both in the western – and eastern end of the known area. This fact, made the supervisors eager in their search for finding and describing the whole extent of the so-called Viking Age Sea-barrier.

But the schedule had to be changed, caused by the following issues:

Planning, new smart transfer-directly-program-from-total-station-to-QGIS, communication, wooden-probe-going-1.4m-into-hard-sediment, anchoring, wind with the strong and unexpected gust.

Even after all these problems the day was productive in the way,

We also concluded which methods could not be used in our field school: whistles and hand sign dances.

Photo: The days shore crew using the field computer to plot points in GIS taken by the total station.

SDU Students Go Under in the Netherlands

// June 26th, 2014 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

Agustin Ortiz takes charge of all on site drawing of lifted timbers.

Agustin Ortiz takes charge of all on site drawing of lifted timbers.

Morrison jumping into the water, while the commercial diver supervises

Morrison jumping into the water, while the commercial diver supervises

Bathymetry images of the deeper of the two wrecks. The crater is the result of illegal excavation

Bathymetry images of the deeper of the two wrecks. The crater is the result of illegal excavation

Several students in the Maritime Archaeology programme in Esbjerg are taking part in a three week excavation of two VOC shipwrecks of the 17th century in the old harbour of Rotterdam. The work takes place in a lake called Oostevernse Meer, outside of Rotterdam. The excavation is in part motivated by the reintroduction of salt water into the lake, and with it the threat of ship worm. The first ship is located at 24+ meters of depth, and students are working to draw the inside section of the ceiling planks. While others take over all the drawing responsibility on all timbers lifted. The team is consisted of students and professional divers, some who are underwater archaeologists by trade, and others who work commercially as divers, but who have a lot experience in underwater archaeology. So far its been a great experience for the students involved, and they’ve learned alot from the commercial team, who have been very enthusiastic in their teaching.

The equipment on site is almost identical to the equipment used in the commercial dive course at SDU, with some added safety features. The students have quickly adapted to the program, the dressing of the divers, and the dive protocols.

The first two weeks will be spent on the deeper wreck, while the last week is part of the official RCE (the national cultural agency in the Netherlands) fieldschool is at a shallower wreck, c.15M. The SDU students on site are currently learning from the methods employed by the commercial team and organising the last week of work on the second wreck.

You can follow the work (in mostly Dutch but some English) at the maritiem programma’s blog, where the students have each written entries.


Schleswig Field School Day 13

// June 22nd, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig


We have had some days that not everyone was working all day but found out more info last night and we are now back at square one, kind of. Geo survey proved fruitful showing that the marks we shot on the barrier seem to be right on the timbers. It also shows that the wall continues past what we thought, and will be moving the searches further to the east and west. Due to the weather we took the afternoon to see Haithabu. The Haithabu Viking museum was very cool, all the stuff that they found in the area and the recreated houses and boats were great to see.

Five days left let’s see if we can as a group push to get as much accomplished as possible.

Photo: View of the Haithabu viking reconstruction.

Schleswig Field School Day 12

// June 22nd, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig

This morning we woke up again in a windy and cloudy day, but that fact didn´t stop us at all!! The first dive team was headed by Jens and the two divers Doug and Björn (the new recruit in the team) were able to record more parts of different boxes. In addition, we took the first wood sample!

The second team, headed in this case by Kostas, faced a weather that was increasingly getting worse. Nathan made a nice dive but however we had to quit the archaeological work when Katy was just starting the recording of a new box.

Despite the complications, step by step we are getting closer to know all the details about these incredible underwater remains.

Schleswig Fieldschool Day 11

// June 20th, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig


It was a blustery day! We woke up this morning to high winds so we drove over in the van to check out the dive site. The diving looked reasonable but the transit in the red boat looked very wet on the way back – and it was! So we decided to go and do what we could. Carlos made one dive and was able to begin describing construction details of the intersections of the timbers in one of the boxes of the structure. The red boat returned to base and we headed off to the Landesmuseen-Gottorf museum in Schleswig, custodians of the Nydam boat.

Schleswig Field School Day 10

// June 19th, 2014 // No Comments » // Uncategorized

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After finding the extent on both the western and eastern side of the structure geophysicists of Innomar used a parametric sub-bottom profiler to look what is under the seabed. Most interesting will be both ends of the structure where we found a huge amount of timbers lying horizontal on the seabed, which we for now called ‘platforms’. Another goal achieved was looking for a structure west of Reesholm where no wooden structure or loose timbers were found.

As usual, research creates more questions than answers. Was the submerged structure a Viking Age wall ending in two platforms? or did it extent further to the east and west and were these platforms just ‘stops’ in the structure? which would imply the rest of the structure has completely deteriorated or destroyed? Hopefully more research and the results from the sub-bottom profiler can solve more questions.

Photo: Peter from Innomar setting up the eqipment on the SDU red boat.

A big thanks to Innomar for coming out and teaching us about their equipment and collecting some new site data for the project. You can find them on the web at:

Schleswig Field School Day 9

// June 19th, 2014 // No Comments » // 2014 Fieldschool Schleswig


Today’s objectives were met with few problems. This morning at around 0840, one mishap occurred to a fisherman who got his engine from his boat entangled with our buoy; which was dropped on the site near box 21 on the previous day.

Due to the mishap, we had to take some time from our day to find the point where the sinker was and put it back in its correct place. The first diver wasn’t in until 0940.

The dives themselves were productive. During the first dives; the morning ones, the divers found more timbers, bricks and poles on the easterly side. We also asked them to bring back up one brick so we could see whether it’s a modern brick that might have been dropped few years ago accidentally or whether it was a brick that dates to the medieval time. It turns out that they were in fact modern bricks and thus not related to the structure.

The second dives; the afternoon dives, were also productive and informative. The divers found few timbers and poles and came back with more bricks. Those finds might have been related to the previews finds from the morning.

The land team were also productive taking points using the total station and registering those points via HyperTerminal to the QGIS.

It is believed and hypothesized that the easterly wall might have been the end of the structure. But that is a hypothesis until we come up with concrete evidence that it is or not. It might have been destroyed or accidentally moved by a dredger because part of the structure is close to the traffic channel.

All in all, today was a good day for both the land team and the diving team even with small mishaps.

Photo: Dressing Carlos, our afternoon saftey diver for the day.