Week 1: Mapping the site, first test excavation and photographs


Rea Garden week 1

The first day of the residency was a gloriously sunny Friday. After meeting with Arlene and Leon and some brief discussion of the schedule (and a bacon butty) I started mapping the site. Below is a sketch plan showing all the appropriate measurements, my failed attempt at trying to use Pythagoras’  theorem to calculate whether one of the corners was a right angle, and the locations of the area where pieces of records had been found and the first test excavation. (click on the image for more detail)

I chose the location of the first test hole fairly randomly, at a distance of two metres from the area that shellac pieces had already been found, to a depth of about half a metre. At first the dig was disappointing as no more pieces were present, but there were some nice pieces of machine cut metal, mostly rusted, some fairly large pieces of slate and a chunk of very rusted iron about 20cm long.

Excavation 1, Week 1: equipment

Equipment and first excavation. I used an eighteen inch speaker grille as a kind of sieve to shake through the unwanted soil.

Found objects from first excavation

Dark room trays with the objects found in the first hole. On the left are the pieces of slate, on the right the bits of metal and glass.

Though initially disappointed with the find I intend to use the objects in some way. Current ideas are to make some sounds with the objects and to make a resin record containing the pieces of slate as a visual object (which may also be playable). I catalogued the found pieces in evidence bags and brought them back to Manchester for future use in the studio.

The final image shows the excavation with a protective string fence, to avoid accidents. I’m also considering playing some sounds from within the test holes. Hopefully I’ll be able to upload some more drawings from my sketchbook too when I can get access to a scanner.

Excavation 1, Week1 with fence

Next week I’ll be on the site for two days so more test excavations are planned and hopefully lots more interesting objects.


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