Archaeology in East Oxford

Paperwork continues

Now we have just about recovered from Christmas, though my liver and waistline haven’t, it’s back to the paperwork. We have almost done the Context Checklist for my sector of Trench 1; I just need a bit of clarification on a couple of points about describing the relationships of the various contexts to each other. With layers and fills it’s fairly common sense, but when structures enter the picture it gets a bit complicated so I’m looking for guidance from above!
I have also been down to the Oxford History Centre for the 3rd time and have finished (I hope) tracing the rolled-up map; 9 sheets of A1 paper in all. It has ended up in more sections than I had hoped as not only have I had to give a bit of a gap to compensate for the problems in the lapping of the various sections of the map but it looks as if the map has been folded up in the past; it has a number of vertical cracks with bits missing which have to be checked out.
Now I have finished with this map I can start to use the bound map to fill in the gaps; luckily the joins in the rolled-up map don’t correspond with the folds in the bound map so that I have a reasonable chance of getting a good complete copy. Also as a cross-check I have noticed that the map contains the original survey lines, which I could use to align the various sections. The whole map consists of various coloured ‘layers’ (we would now call them); blue for the survey lines, black for boundaries, brown for the pre-enclosure fields, red for projected roads, etc. The survey lines are convenient in that they are all straight, so matching two displaced sections can be done if the survey lines are included, though I have left them out at the moment or else it just becomes a rat’s-nest of lines!
When I go back next week to make a start on the next stage, I’m also going to take a load of photos – they don’t need to be accurately taken (in order to reconstruct the map in, say, Photoshop) but just clearly as a reference. I use them when I’m not sure about how precisely I’ve done the tracing and also for the numbering of the field strips. This is the critical bit as it relates the strips on the ground to the written record of who owned or rented the strips – the reason for the whole exercise. With the photos and the traced and scanned map I can do the digital reconstruction in the comfort of home (coffee & music are allowed!) rather than at the Record Office.


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