With the project drawing to an end, Tuesday and Wednesday were our last days of diving. These last few days we tested our skills as (future) maritime archaeologists by letting the groups work individually at the Bai Ong site. It is important to note that this was the first time that many of us experienced an actual archaeological site underwater.
The site was set-up on Monday by one of our teams who placed down a permanent baseline which marked the beginning of our site. This baseline would from then on be our fixed point from which we would be able to map all of the research that we’d conduct on the site. This is an important aspect to avoid redundancy and prevent different teams from researching the same area. Most importantly though, these measurements can be used to recreate the locations of these artefacts comparative to each other. These comparisons play an important role in the interpretation of the site.
The earthenware on this site was mostly grouped in clusters of about multiple objects, with scores of individual pieces scattered throughout the site. It was therefore decided that we would work in 1 meter by 1 meter grids placed over these clusters and measured from the baseline to accurately map as many of these clusters as we could in the last few days. Specific objects were positioned through trilateration from the baseline as well.
With Approximately 4 people per team, each person had a specific role to make the process as streamlined as possible. With one person measuring the grid, one person describing the finds, someone to draw the grid and the location of the artefacts related to each other, and another person photographing the finds, the process of recording these grids took somewhere between 30 minutes to an hour.
These clusters consisted of a number of interesting ceramics, with some pieces dating back to the 16th/17th century whereas the date of (most)other pieces is still unknown. We mapped and researched as many of these clusters as we could in the 3 days that we had left while also taking GPS-locations of certain clusters and fixed points. While we ourselves might not continue our research here, this information will be handed over to the Vietnamese institute of archaeology who might continue our research there in the future.
By the end of Wednesday, our last day of diving, we had researched a total of 8 grids. While this was a good start on researching the site, this also leaves plenty of (possible)future work for the Vietnamese institute of Archaeology, or other archaeological organisations planning any research on the Cham Islands in the future.
With the project coming to a closure, there is only one blog remaining. This last blog will be posted this weekend and will speak of the project’s conclusion.
Greetings from Hoi-An