Week 2 at the Maritime Archaeology Programme’s fieldschool to archaeologically record the Mukran Wreck, Northern Germany brought us a change in instructors, some bad weather days and a greater focus on artefact recording. On Saturday we were all pleased to be joined by Thjis Maarleveld and Athena Trakadas and having a larger team of instructors allowed us to make plans to divide the students into two teams; the idea was to have half of the students continue the diving and recording at the Mukran site, whilst the other half would visit the storage facilities of the regional archaeological department (Landesamt fûr Kultur und Denkmalpflege Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) in Schwerin to catalogue and record some of the associated guns and artefacts that have been brought up by previous investigations into the wreck.
Diving continued as normal on the Saturday but bad weather conditions cut the day short on the Sunday. Monday saw our first trip to Schwerin with a larger group of students than had initially been planned due to a continuation of bad weather.
On arrival in Schwerin we visited the first location where two guns from the wreck were being stored. The lifting of the guns from their vats was an arduous task but was executed successfully and the initial round of photographs for recording and photogrametry purposes were taken. Next we visited the Landeamt’s main facility, where the smaller artefacts and some timbers from the wreck are housed. It quickly became evident that there were many more artefacts in storage than had initially been expected and the recording team set about creating a catalogue of what was there.
The Tuesday saw a change in teams and the students that had not been able to go to Schwerin on the previous day were given the opportunity to go and see the finds from the site. Using the catalogue from the day before they started the recording process of photography and descriptions and selected a number of artifacts to bring back to camp for more detailed recording and scale drawing. A final trip to Schwerin happened on the Friday with the majority of the students making the trip and a small dive team sent to the Mukran site for the whole day; this worked well and the artefact recording was brought to a conclusion whilst the archaeology on site continued.
During the week diving was limited due to bad weather conditions but normal diving days were resumed on the Wednesday and the diving teams focused on continuing the timber recording and creating scale offsets with a particular focus on the midships cross-section and recording of the N. bow portion of the wreck. During the diving we were joined by a research team from the German Maritime Museum in Bremerhaven, who brought with them a T.V. crew who were filming for a documentary on their research: Hanseatic trade in the North Atlantic. The Bremerhaven team also conducted some lectures on their own specialisations which provided us with a greater insight into how the Mukran wreck is able to contribute to their project as a whole.
Meanwhile during the week two sternpost timbers and a “rudder” were brought to camp, wrapped in plastic – these are from a 15th century wreck that sunk in the vicinity of our site. A pleasant surprise came when Athena realised that the “rudder” was, in fact, a swivel gun! The students that were at camp set about recording the timbers and gun using photography, drawing, descriptions and the Total Station.
Unfortunately this week we also said goodbye to Jens Auer and Kostas Alexiou, who returned to Esbjerg.
Next week we will continue with the recording of the Mukran and will start our sampling process for dendrochronology, so check back to find out how we get on in our final week!
Lesley Dalgleish and Virginia Chailkiadaki