This year the field school for the class of 2015-2016 of the Maritime Archaeology Programme takes place in Mukran, in Northern Germany. From the 1st of June until the 22nd of June the students will record and document a 16th century wreck of presumably Danish origin. We will keep you updated weekly on the progress!
We are staying in tents on a camping site at the Prora Jugendherberge. Prora is a beach resort on the island of Rügen, known for its colossal Nazi-planned hotels. The massive building complex was built between 1936 and 1939. If the weather allows it there is a morning and an afternoon dive team that perform different tasks like cleaning, tagging and documenting the Mukran wreck. We also have a dedicated ‘land’ team that cleans the camp and that makes sure that the change-overs go smoothly, but they also record the wreck by using a Total Station. At the camping site the tanks are filled, artefacts are documented and the equipment is cleaned and dried. There is a briefing at the beginning and the end of the work day.
This first week we did a lot of cleaning on the wreck. The wreck was covered with big stones that were put on nets, to prevent it from deteriorating further and to keep the timbers in place. Also seaweed, sand, and pebbles needed to be taken off in order to record the wreck. After uncovering the frames and planks we started tagging and describing them. Now we are going to start with the drawing of the wreck. After the first few days of cleaning, a method called Computer Vision Photogrammetry was tried to create a 3D model of the wreck. This is done by filming the wreck with a GoPro. Pictures are then taken from this video and after some processing they will be put into Agisoft Photoscan. In this software the 3D model will then be made.
Every morning we leave from Sassnitz harbour to the site. On Friday we were greeted there by the police who asked if we could help them get a dead seal out of the harbour. .
On Monday the weather was too bad to go diving. The waves were too high and it was unsafe to dive. Therefore, we all got a day off and went to Stralsund, a Hanseatic city close to island of Rügen.
Next week a small group will go to different museums to record some of the guns and other artefacts that have been found during previous excavations of the Mukran wreck. These finds will be documented using a combination of photogrammetry, drawing, photography and by describing them. You can read all about this in the next blog!
Robert de Hoop and Nicole Schoute