The Adventures of Transect Awesome – Gabrielle Sexton

Our view each day.

Our view each day.

As we set out bright and early on the morning of Tuesday February 5 for our first proper archaeological survey at the Port MacDonnell Lighthouse, there was a mixture of sleepiness and excitement in the van. I sat next to Ella and Bridget, stuffing my face with lollies and waking myself up with Slipknot’s Psychosocial. We arrived at the site, yawning and surreptitiously checking our phones as there was finally some reception. Many of us had been expecting a full lighthouse, but instead we were looking at the 30cm high wall where a lighthouse had once been.

Soon we explored the site and chose our spots. Ella, Bridget and I decided on our picturesque spot quite quickly, calling it Transect Awesome. With a 14m long baseline and artefacts either side, we were set for the day. What we hadn’t counted on was the army of biting blowflies that became so irritating that we started threatening their entire species. The sun didn’t help. Despite copious amounts of sunscreen, long sleeves, high collars and hats, we still managed to get burnt, sometimes through our clothes, which was confusing. The backs of our hands were also a sensitive spot, becoming lobsters. It taught me in particular that, having spent several months inside, it is important to cover up completely when braving the evil sun.

We worked well, each doing our individual jobs, consulting each other and quickly finding solutions to any problem. It was a successful survey, in which we learnt a lot about our methods, and how to improve our work in the future. It would have been nice if there was a bit less wind, but you can’t choose the weather. Overall, a worthwhile trip.

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