One Last Plan and a Final Report
I digitized the last trench plan for the Pyla-Koutsopetria Archaeological Project field season yesterday. In general, we digitize trench plans on the fly in the field directly into our GIS. This allowed us to produce publication quality illustrations (or close to it) while still excavating and allow us to make sure that we have the detail in the trench plans correct and identify problems while the trench is still fresh in everyone’s mind. This year, however, we experienced some complicated trench plans that simply defied quick digitization. So the digitizing process was put off until now, when I was finally able to digitize the last trench plan. The plan below shows a trench at the southwest corner of an annex building of an Early Christian basilica. The majority of the annex room was excavated over 10 years ago by a team from the Department of Antiquities. We excavated a trench to the southwest of the main excavated area to both clarify some stratigraphic issues and to determine whether there was more architecture to the west of the annex room.
As you can tell, this plan represents a tremendously complex trench with multiple features and a wide array of material still embedded in the soil. From this confusion, however, the excavator, Sarah Lepinski, was able to discern multiple episodes of destruction and several obvious (if somewhat careless) attempts at repair. In addition to this final trench plan, we now have digitized plans of every stratigraphic unit removed from this trench and these will serve to illustrate many of the episodes in this buildings history.
This plan will be inserted into the final reports that we produce at the end of each field season for distribution to the various organizations that fund our project. Our ability to digitize on the fly directly into our GIS program means that our plans are accurate both to themselves and on the face of the earth (i.e. to other plans on the site). The technology and the cooperation of a great group of trench supervisors has allowed us to produce high quality digital images almost (almost!) instantaneously. The fact that the last trench was digitized in November (rather than years later as is not uncommon) is a testimony to our trench supervisor’s diligence and the remarkable pace of technology.