Recording an orlop deck

// July 15th, 2010 // Fieldwork Projects, Other archaeological projects

Extreme Total stationing on the orlop deck of Vasa

This summer MAP students had the unique opportunity to spend two weeks at the Vasa Museum, working on recording the Vasa’s orlop deck.

After a sleepy drive from Esbjerg to Stockholm, we were met at the museum by Dr. Fred Hocker, the Director of Research. We were to stay on the icebreaker Sankt Erik and the minesweeper M20. Bright and early on the following Monday morning we were divided into two teams to work in the bow and stern sections. Our team -Team Fred- worked in the forward part of the orlop, while the other team -Team Jens- worked in the bow. Both teams were recording the deck with a combination of drawing and total station.

Working on the orlop deck was a challenge, as the low headroom and compartments made using the total station difficult. Each team found themselves sub divided into total station and drawing teams, rotating every day. Three people worked on the total station, and unlike Team Jens we did not have the luxury of a laser pointer! Despite the lack of headroom, lack of handy laser and continuous repositioning of the station, Andrew, Marja and Sara of Team Fred broke the record for the most number of total station points taken in one day. The rest of the team drew the interior of the bow compartment and Amanda got the challenge of recording the cupolas of the quarter galleries.

The remaining four paired up to draw and measure to supplement the digital data, especially as we were conscious that we might not have time to cover all areas with the total station, and some, like sections inside the bow compartment, could not recorded at all other than with drawing and measuring. We all acquired new skills and techniques, especially ducking, sideways walking, early mornings (we are students, after all…) and Swedish total station menus!

We would like the thank Fred Hocker (and Jens) for making the field school possible, and for the privilege of being able to work on the Vasa – even if the bruises on our skulls are not so appreciative! We all got the opportunity to use skills learnt in the programme and learnt new ones. We had a great time in Stockholm, which was both pretty and interesting. The boys definitely want to thank Fred for his hospitality on the night of the football match as well!!!

Sylvia Bates & Maria Lindberg

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