Friday, June 13, 2014

Thirteen on the Thirteenth

This meeting of the Loyal Order of the Tree Frog will now come to order, Chairperson Mimi presiding.

Mimi revels in the wind, while Alice has a Bad Hair Day
Friday the 13th spent in the Bermuda Triangle, with a full moon... seems like a bad day for 13 of us to take a boat ride from one end of the island to the other. (Our thirteenth member is Matt Lenoe, my U of R history department colleague, out to try his hand at archaeology.) But we tempted fate and embarked this morning for the Bermuda National Museum in order to tour its exhibits and archaeology lab. We got to experience near-gale winds on the top deck as the fast ferry sped us to the Dockyards. En route, I gave interested students their Medic exam, which involved hypothetical cases of our various dig members experiencing severe traumas (everyone passed!).

 We arrived and battled our way through the hordes of cruise ship tourists milling about to reach the NMB moat and gate and then entered the grand splendour of the museum grounds. Museum Curator Elena Strong took us on an excellent behind-the-scenes tour of the museum's new Shipwreck Island exhibit.
Elena explains the complexities and importance of
conservation for marine artifacts


After that, we played a bit on the museum's new playground - a climbing frame in the shape of a moray eel with a very steep slide running down from a St. David's Lighthouse model - before heading up to the Corange Archaeological Conservation Lab.
 We first saw a cannon from the 1619 wreck Warwick (see my 2012 blog entry) slowly losing its concentrated chlorides in a tank outside and then went in to see various items from the museum collection and excavated sites undergoing treatment. We ended the tour in Commissioner's House, where Dr. Harris (of Harris Matrix fame) made a cameo appearance in the Hall of History. After that, the students explored their own particular historical interests within the museum's many exhibits (and I harvested ripe prickly pears for the students to try - a type of fruit that grows on the cactus, which Richard Norwood praised lavishly in his 1617 account of Bermuda).

After a quick lunch at The Buzz, we hopped a bus to my favourite beach in Bermuda - Church Bay - where we did some quality experiential learning about the natural appeal of Bermuda to 21st-century tourists...






After our safe return home to St. George's from the alien wilds of Somerset, we tallied up the week's achievements, wherein many students doubled their previous point totals. Team Jim pulled an upset victory to win the second Gelato Cup, with a score of 645 to Team Leigh's (weighted) 606 points. And while everyone has advanced from Amateur to Dirt Bum, Sam M and Mimi have ascended to the lofty rank of Digger. Well done, everyone!

We are now finishing up Oven Site and transitioning to open new excavations at three other areas: Cotton Hole Bight, Smallpox Bay, and Cave Site. Stay tuned for our latest discoveries at Oven Site and the beginnings of three new investigations over the weekend.

View obscured by a cruise ship? Nothing a double-shotted 32-pounder can't solve...





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