view of Nemea Valley


a website sponsored by
the National Endowment for the Humanities
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It is amazing to think that we are already in our 2nd week of excavation!

This week we began  to dig the new test trenches with a large machine called a frontloader.  The machine can dig up all the dirt above the bedrock.  Then, archaeologists can look at the rock below and see if there is any sign that there might be a tomb nearby.

On the first day, the frontloader removed about 120 meters of soil and found no trace of a tomb.  After that,  people on the team began to worry that we might not find anything at all this season. 

Then, yesterday, the frontloader discovered 2 places that probably are part of chamber tombs!  We are now clearing the dirt around these areas to make sure they really are tombs.  We hope to begin digging by hand soon.

It has been quite hard to work this past week because there is a heat wave in Greece right now.  Yesterday it was 46 degrees Celsius (that is about 115 degrees Fahrenheit), while today it was 100 degrees Fahrenheit in the shade.  We all hope things will cool down soon.

I'll write more next week.


test trench spray paintingTEST TRENCH

When we dig test trenches, we first figure out exactly where they will be.  We measure it with the Total Station, and then spray paint its shape on the ground.

Dimitri, the foreman, watches as the frontloader digs a trench.
test trenchTEST TRENCH
This is what a test trench looks like.  They were usually about 80 centimeters wide, and could be as long as 45 meters!  Here the workman are sweeping up some dirt that fell into the trench.  
Stanley measures test trenchesMEASURING WITH THE TOTAL STATION
Dan is using the Total Station to measure the size of the test trench.  He is aiming the machine at the prism that Stella holds in the next photo.  Angela is writing down the information.
Stella holds the prism pole, so that Dan can take measurements with the Total Station.

In the top photo, Angela is sweeping out one of the cuttings that might be part of a tomb.  In the lower photo, you can see the two parallel lines that may mean that it is part of a dromos.

Test trenches

Here is a map of all the test trenches that we dug this week (striped grey fill). You can see the shape of the field (outlined in black).  Using the scale on the bottom right, can you figure out about how many meters long the field is?


Copyright © 2007 Johanna Best