Tag Archives: Scotland

Photo Journal of Project SAMPHIRE: The First Five Days – Oban to Rasaay

By: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch

Project SAMPHIRE is now in full swing as the team island hops along Scotland’s Western coast and islands aboard DVS Kylebhan (Figure 1). The team travelled from Oban, mainland Scotland, to the Isle of Rasaay in the first five days, conducting archaeological surveys both above and below the water and spanning Mesolithic sites to nineteenth Century shipwrecks.

Figure 1. DVS Kylebhan is a 20 metre (67 feet) trawler converted to a dive charter boat. It can accommodate 12 passengers and is very comfortable for the SAMPHIRE team of six plus the two crew (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch)

Figure 1. DVS Kylebhan is a 20 metre (67 feet) trawler converted to a dive charter boat. It can accommodate 12 passengers and is very comfortable for the SAMPHIRE team of six plus the two crew (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch)

This year’s Project SAMPHIRE has six potential archaeological sites slated for investigation, however other sites were and are still being located during the course of the field work and added to the Project’s mandate. This blog is a photo journal of the first five days of Project SAMPHIRE’s journey and archaeological investigations.

Day One: Oban to Tobermory (Isle of Mull)

Figure 2. The steam Northwest to Tobermory, Isle of Mull from Oban on mainland Scotland.

Figure 2. The steam Northwest to Tobermory, Isle of Mull from Oban on mainland Scotland.

Figure 3.  Prof. Kurt Lambeck (Australian National University, Canberra) presenting his lecture on glacial rebound in Scotland at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 3. Prof. Kurt Lambeck (Australian National University, Canberra) presenting his lecture on glacial rebound in Scotland at the Scottish Association for Marine Science (SAMS) (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 4. A ‘surprise’ unknown wreck at Tobermory, Isle of Mull, and our docking area for our first night (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch). Figure 4. A ‘surprise’ unknown wreck at Tobermory, Isle of Mull, and our docking area for our first night (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Day Two: Tobermory (Isle of Mull) to Isle of Eigg, then to Canna

Figure 5. Our travels by sea to Eigg then Canna.

Figure 5. Our travels by sea to Eigg then Canna.

Figure 6. Prof. Karen Hardy from ICREA, Barcelona (far right) showing SAMPHIRE team members Bob MackIntosh (far left), Drew Roberts (middle-left), Chelsea Colwell-Pasch (middle-right) lithics found on her coastal survey of Eigg (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 6. Prof. Karen Hardy from ICREA, Barcelona (far right) showing SAMPHIRE team members Bob MackIntosh (far left), Drew Roberts (middle-left), Chelsea Colwell-Pasch (middle-right) lithics found on her coastal survey of Eigg (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 7. Galmisdale Harbour on the Isle of Eigg where the first site survey for Project SAMPHIRE was conducted (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 7. Galmisdale Harbour on the Isle of Eigg where the first site survey for Project SAMPHIRE was conducted (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Day Three: Canna, Loch Bay, Dunvegan and Uig.

Figure 8. The steam North from Canna to Loch Bay, the site of the second wreck, Dunvegan the planned night dock and Uig the actual night docking area.

Figure 8. The steam North from Canna to Loch Bay, the site of the second wreck, Dunvegan the planned night dock and Uig the actual night docking area.

Figure 9. SAMPHIRE divers Drew Roberts (right) and John McCarthy (left) preparing to dive in Loch Bay on the second project site (Photo by Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 9. SAMPHIRE divers Drew Roberts (right) and John McCarthy (left) preparing to dive in Loch Bay on the second project site (Photo by Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 10. Chelsea Colwell-Pasch in Uig, Isle of Skye at 22:30 with daylight still visible (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 10. Chelsea Colwell-Pasch in Uig, Isle of Skye at 22:30 with daylight still visible (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Day Four: Uig, Loch Bay and Portree, Isle of Skye

Figure 11. The steam from Uig back to Loch Bay, then the long steam to Portree, our port for the night.

Figure 11. The steam from Uig back to Loch Bay, then the long steam to Portree, our port for the night.

Figure 12. SAMPHIRE diver Bob MackIntosh diving in Loch Bay on the projects second site investigation (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 12. SAMPHIRE diver Bob MackIntosh diving in Loch Bay on the projects second site investigation (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 13. Dolphins ‘bow-riding’ our vessel Kylebhan on our way to Portree, Isle of Skye (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 13. Dolphins ‘bow-riding’ our vessel Kylebhan on our way to Portree, Isle of Skye (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 14. At dock in Portree, Isle of Skye after a long steam from Loch Bay (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 14. At dock in Portree, Isle of Skye after a long steam from Loch Bay (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Day Five: Portree, Isle of Sky to Clachan Harbour, Isle of Raasay

Figure 15. The steam from Portree to Clachan Harbour, Isle of Raasay.

Figure 15. The steam from Portree to Clachan Harbour, Isle of Raasay.

Figure 16. Clachan Harbour on the Isle of Raasay where the SAMPHIRE team was investigating the area for submerged prehistoric sites (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 16. Clachan Harbour on the Isle of Raasay where the SAMPHIRE team was investigating the area for submerged prehistoric sites (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 17. Snorkel survey of Clachan Harbour, Raasay for Mesolithic occupation by SAMPHIRE volunteer Chelsea Colwell-Pasch (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

Figure 17. Snorkel survey of Clachan Harbour, Raasay for Mesolithic occupation by SAMPHIRE volunteer Chelsea Colwell-Pasch (Photo by: Jonathan Benjamin).

We are not even halfway through our field work around Scotland’s Western Isles and already Project SAMPHIRE 2014 has been a huge success. Stay informed by following the Project on Twitter (#SAMPHIRE, @WAScotland, @WessexArch, @CColwellPasch) and by checking out the daily posts on the Projects Blog page: http://blogs.wessexarch.co.uk/samphire/

Maritime, Travel and Clyde-built Ships

By: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch

My name is Chelsea Colwell-Pasch and I am a post-graduate student studying maritime archaeology at Flinders University. I am in Scotland this June and July to conduct research for my thesis as well as partake in Wessex Archaeology’s Project SAMPHIRE as a volunteer research assistant. The exciting opportunity to partake in Project SAMPHIRE came about when Dr Jonathan Benjamin, formerly of Wessex Archaeology and current Co-investigator for the Project, took a lecturer position at Flinders University this past January. Dr Benjamin then became my thesis advisor and we began discussing the numerous resources and connections available in Scotland for someone in my position of studying a Clyde-built ship that wrecked in Australia (see Figure 1). The initial idea of a research trip to Scotland for thesis research then grew into a professional development prospect and an opportunity to cultivate a research and industry relationship between Flinders University and Wessex Archaeology. The international cooperation allows an excellent opportunity for professional, academic, volunteer and student involvement. Plus, maritime archaeology is an international discipline with trans-boundary elements and the obvious aspects of transport and travel throughout time.

Figure 1. Chelsea Colwell-Pasch reading an original Lloyd’s Register of Shipping at the Glasgow University Archives in Glasgow, Scotland (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

Figure 1. Chelsea Colwell-Pasch reading an original Lloyd’s Register of Shipping at the Glasgow University Archives in Glasgow, Scotland (Photo by: Chelsea Colwell-Pasch).

I am halfway through my final year of study and well into my chosen thesis topic which is a multiphasic vessel biography on the wreck of Leven Lass employing the BULSI (Build, Use, Loss, Survival, and Investigation) system. The brig Leven Lass was built in Dumbarton, Scotland, by Denny & Rankine at Denny’s Shipyard number two, in 1839 (The Clyde Built Ships 2014). A brig was a two-masted sailing ship with square rigging on both masts and was commonly used as couriers on coastal routes (Encyclopaedia Britannica Online 2014). Leven Lass had routes between Limerick and Glasgow and then between North America (Canada and West Indies) and Glasgow. It was then sold on 16 September 1852, by Paton and Grant, and sailed from Scotland to Melbourne, Australia on 1 October 1852 by Captain Sholto Gardener Jamieson (1818-1882), arriving in 1853 (Glasgow Herald 17 September 1852:8; Lythgoe 2014; Wilson 2012). It spent the majority of its time in Southeast Australia as a post carrier between Adelaide, Melbourne, Hobart and Sydney and was considered “a remarkably fast sailer”, see Figure 2 (Glasgow Herald 17 September 1852:8).

Figure 2. A Glasgow Herald newspaper article from 1852 calling for cargo applications for Leven Lass’ voyage to Melbourne (Glasgow Herald 17 September 1852:8).

Figure 2. A Glasgow Herald newspaper article from 1852 calling for cargo applications for Leven Lass’ voyage to Melbourne (Glasgow Herald 17 September 1852:8).

As a consequence of my research, I wanted to understand how they deemed Leven Lass to be ‘remarkably fast’. The way they calculated the speed of a vessel was with the ‘measured mile’, which was a nautical mile marked by two pairs of markers. A nautical mile is 6080 feet/1.852 km in length, as opposed to the land based statute mile which is 5280 feet/1.609 km in length (White 2003). A ship would work up to full speed on a steady course, the markers would be in transit (in line with each other) and the time noted then noted again when the next set of markers lined up (White 2003). Usually the average was taken between two runs to allow for wind and tide changes (White 2003). Near Dumbarton where Leven Lass was launched, there is a run that is actually two consecutive miles with three sets of markers (see Figure 3). Ships speed was given in knots, not knots per hour as a knot is one nautical mile per hour (White 2003). This is but one facet of the research I have conducted while in Scotland. My trip has taught me the importance of primary research and how much can be gained by travelling abroad for my research. This trip has been more than useful and the result is a much more in-depth study, without which my thesis would have been limited, or even superficial.

Figure 3. The three sets of measured mile markers on the Isle of Aaran to the SW of Dumbarton (RCAHMS 2014).

Figure 3. The three sets of measured mile markers on the Isle of Aaran to the SW of Dumbarton (RCAHMS 2014).

Leven Lass was chosen as my thesis topic after the 2014 Flinders University Maritime Archaeology Field School conducted at Phillip Island, Victoria this past January (see Figure 4). The field school was centred on a wreck that was determined to be Leven Lass by a previous Flinders masters student who worked on the wreck during the 2012 Maritime Archaeology Field School (Wilson 2012). While the focus of that thesis was more on maritime cultural landscapes and shipwreck identification, my thesis is looking at the vessel’s life cycle or career, from design inception to archaeological investigation, and its broader implications for shipwreck studies, Scottish maritime diaspora and nineteenth century post-colonial Australian seafaring.

Figure 4. A Flinders University Maritime Archaeology Student, records the Clyde-built Leven Lass during the 2014 field school on Phillip Island, Victoria. Another field school is scheduled for February 2015 (Photo by: J. Benjamin).

Figure 4. A Flinders University Maritime Archaeology Student, records the Clyde-built Leven Lass during the 2014 field school on Phillip Island, Victoria. Another field school is scheduled for February 2015 (Photo by: J. Benjamin).

I have only been in Scotland a little over a week, though I have already visited the Glasgow University Archives, RCAHMS, Historic Scotland, the Mitchell Library, University of Edinburgh Library, and the Scottish Maritime Museum (Irvine) and met with various industry professionals. While these investigative avenues have been fruitful, any and all information that may be of value to my thesis research from the public would be appreciated and welcomed. Any information about Denny & Rankine shipbuilders would be especially valuable as there is little data available about them in the archives. I look forward to the rest of my Scotland adventure and to the valuable experiences to be gained with both Wessex Archaeology and with the communities around Scotland.

The SAMPHIRE team and I will be blogging and tweeting (as signal permits!) and we will keep progress reports as up-to-date as possible via the project blog. Please follow this year’s fieldwork (#SAMPHIRE) with Dr  Jonathan Benjamin (@jon_benj), Wessex Archaeology (@wessexarch), and me, Chelsea Colwell-Pasch (@CColwellPasch).

The project blog link: http://blogs.wessexarch.co.uk/samphire/

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References

Encyclopaedia Britannica Online 2014 “Brig”. Retrieved 3 June 2014 from: http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/79477/brig.

Glasgow Herald 1852 “At Glasgow – For Melbourne, Port-Phillip”. 17 September: 8.

Lythgoe, Darrin 2014 Shetland Family History. Retrieved 23 May 2014 from: http://www.bayanne.info/Shetland/getperson.php?personID=I11228&tree=ID1.

RCAHMS 2014 Canmore: Isle of Aaran Measured Mile Markers. Retrieved 3 July 2014 from: http://canmoremapping.rcahms.gov.uk/index.php?action=do_advanced&list_z=0&sitename=&classterm1=MEASURED+MILE+MARKER+&sitediscipline=&idnumlink=&mapno=&site=&councilcode=&parish=&regioncode=&districtcode=&countycode=&ngr=&radiusm=0&collectionname=&bibliosurname=&biblioinits=&bibliotitle=&bibliodate=&bibliojournal=&submit=search.

The Clyde Built Ships 2014 Leven Lass. Electronic document. Retrieved 23 May 2014 from: http://www.clydeships.co.uk/view.php?ref=14432.

Wilson, Dennis D. 2012 The Investigation of Unidentified Wreck 784, Phillip Island, Victoria: Applying Cultural Landscape Theory and Hierarchy of Time to the Assessment of Shipwreck Significance. Unpublished Masters thesis, DEPT Flinders University, Adelaide.

White, Tony 2003 Polperro Cornish gem: Nautical Measured Mile Markers. Retrieved 3 July 2014 from: http://www.polperro.org/measuredmile.html.

Who Gets a Tan in Alaska?

Celeste Jordan

I write to you from the depths of Western Alaska, along the Bering Sea in the large (by Alaskan standards) village of Quinhagak. It is a coastal community of about 700 people (City-Data 2011) that has a long and rich history.

The Quinhagak archaeological site is located right on the coast, about 6.5km from the village itself. The site is under serious threat from coastal erosion and lead investigator, Dr Rick Knecht, says that it all could slide into the Bering Sea with one major storm (Rick Knecht, pers. comm. 2013).

Quinhagak, Alaska. (City-Data 2011)

Quinhagak, Alaska. (City-Data 2011)

With 3 excavation seasons in the last 4 years, the site has produced some amazing artefacts and yielded unexpected information. The site was occupied between 1350 AD and 1630 AD, pre-contact (1820’s for Quinhagak) (Knecht 2012:21). The 1630 AD occupation period ended abruptly when the village was attacked by a neighbouring village in what is known as The Bow and Arrow War (Knecht 2012:23).

(White tent marks the site locale. Knecht 2012:34)

(White tent marks the site locale. Knecht 2012:34)

Over the last 10 days, 19 people from Scotland, the US, Canada, Lithuania and Australia have been working on two separate areas of the site: area A and area B.  Samples of fur, hair and seeds are being taken in most contexts. Below the tundra sod level, broken pottery, animal bones, mask fragments, labrets (cheek and lip plugs), broken shafts, dolls of various sizes, a toy bow and arrow, and lance and harpoon points are being excavated regularly.

De-sodding the site. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

De-sodding the site. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

The focus of my Directed Study is to understand the maritime subsistence and settlement pattern of Yup’ik culture through artefact study from in situ remains, and site and material culture analyses. This will help not only in my understanding of Yup’ik culture but also, with further investigation, the Quinhagak community in understanding their heritage as well.

So far, last Saturday has been the most exciting day. After many days of removing sod, beautiful artefacts emerged including:

  • An entire and complete bowl
  • A decorated labret
  • A carved ulu handle with what looks like 2 Palraiyuks either end
  • Several dolls
  • A fish and seal mask attachments
  • Mask fragments

These artefacts are a good indication that we are now truly down into the cultural layers—Finally!

Today was beautiful and sunny. Most of us worked in t-shirts, except when the mosquitoes (that are the size of small semi-trailers) and ‘no-see-ums’ (midges) forced us to wear sleeves. I’m anticipating coming home with a tan! We mainly focused on moving through the contextual layers with carefully excavating and screening.

A glorious day on site. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

A glorious day on site. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

Only the north part of area A produced anything of note today and boy did it produce! In quick succession this is what was excavated:

  • A small wooden box
  • A big wooden transformation doll – female to wolf
  • A labret
  • An almost complete mask
  • Snow goggles
  • Fur
Snow goggles in use by excavator Chas Bello. Photo: Colleen Lazenby 2013

Snow goggles in use by excavator Chas Bello. Photo: Colleen Lazenby 2013

Transformation doll with excavator Chas Bello. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

Transformation doll with excavator Chas Bello. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

Transformation doll with excavator Chas Bello. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

Transformation doll with excavator Chas Bello. Photo: Celeste Jordan 2013

Other artefacts were recovered today, but nothing like what was excavated in north area A by Chas Bello, one of our most experienced archaeologists. We still have 11 days left of excavation. Who knows what amazing artefacts still await us in the dirt?

There are blog posts everyday at http://nunalleq.wordpress.com

References

City-Data 2011 Quinhagak, Alaska. Retrieved 8 August 2013 from <http://www.city-data.com/city/Quinhagak-Alaska.html>

Knecht, Rick 2012 Introduction to the Nunalleq Site. Presentation given to field crew, Quinhagak, Alaska