… and all the other things that need to be done

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My role is to support Kristin as she leads our group, mostly by being the “institutional memory” for this project since its’ inception in 2012. In the summer of 2013 we made our first trip to Iceland, thanks to the help and generosity of Kathleen Affholter (geology, Pellissippi State Community College). We returned to Iceland on our own in the summer of 2014, and to Nicaragua in December, 2014. On each of the trips we work with and as computer scientists, physicists, biologists, geologists, archeologists, agronomists, and cooks and bottle washers. So far I have been organizing lists, completing financial reports, and looking for funding.

And so they begin…

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September 7th, 2015 marked the beginning of our preparation for our trip to Iceland in the summer of 2016. Four alums to the project, Charlie, Tara, Deeksha, and myself, and four newcomers, Nic, Eamon, Erin, and Ben met in the Hopper lab in the new Center for Science and Technology, excited and eager to get started on the projects for next summer.

There’s lots to be done before we can go off to Iceland next summer. There are a number of projects that the members are working on, a summary is below with the name of the person/s working on them in parentheses:

  • Bird nesting site survey at Skalanes (Erin, Ben)
  • Field Science Android application development (Kristin, Charlie, Nic, Tara)
  • Soil Platform (Tara)
  • Environmental monitoring/sustainable energy (Erin)
  • Visualization Tool (Eamon, Deeksha)
  • Wet Lab work (Nic, Erin, Tara, Deeksha)
  • Data Model (Deeksha, Eamon, Everyone)
  • Archaeology site survey (?)
  • Archaeology species survey (?)

Archaeology Site Survey

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I’ve been doing research on the archaeology site survey project — trying to determine where the sites are at Skalanes, without having to excavate the site. I’ve determined that people do what’s called a ‘Geophysical Survey’ which is a non-destructive way to determine where their are sites.

There are differents methods:

  • Electrical Resistance
    • Using (usually) four metal probes stuck into the ground measuring electrical resistance. Many archaeological site characteristics will have different electrical resistance from their surroundings. For example, a stone wall structure might impede the flow of electricity, and organic materials in soil might conduct electricity more easily.
  • Electromagnetic Conductivity
    • Measuring the conductivity of the soil. A magnetic field is created underground by sending a current with a known frequency and magnitude. The currents spur a secondary current in underground conductors that is picked up by a receiving coil. Less sensitive than resistance meters.
  • Magnetometers
    • Measuring the gradient of the magnetic field of the Earth ( gradiometers), provides resolution of small near-surface occurrences. Magnetometers react very strongly to iron and steel, brick, burned soil, and many types of rock, and archaeological features composed of these materials are very detectable. It is often possible to detect disturbances in organic material.
  • Ground Penetrating Radar

Android, Android, oh yeah and some more Android

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The past week, I worked on a variety of things — setting up the wordpress, researching archaeology surveying techniques, and setting up our field science application with Android Studio.

In previous years, the IDE that we used for Android was Eclipse. As of earlier this year, Google is no longer supporting Eclipse as the Android IDE and has switched to Android Studio. Things are different in Android Studio and I’ve been working on trying to set up Seshat and get it working. I’ve been running into errors about gradles and builds and libraries, so I’m trying to figure out what’s going on there. I had it working, but realized that I needed to update the YoctoLib library, and when I did that things went down the drain again. Once I have it working I’m going to create a document that will explain what to do.

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