With great good fortune, a Flinders University archaeology field school enabled me to undertake some early field work at Baker’s Flat recently. The site is big, extending over about 170 acres (70 hectares). And in a bid to understand it better, the focus during the field school was to use survey methods to identify the locations of any building remains, artefact scatters, a purported dance floor area and the original entrance way.
A GPS transect survey was carried out and recorded the remains of at least eight buildings, several artefact scatters, the compacted dirt dance floor, and the entrance way. The survey took place across 25 metre transects using 13 students, and covered about 20% of the site.
You probably can’t tell from the photo above, but the one below might give a clue – it was very hot and sunny. This can be a bit of a trial for those of us from the northern hemisphere. The days ranged from 34 to 38 degrees Celsius, and everybody developed coping strategies. Covering up of course – hats, long sleeves, long trousers, boots. Drinking lots of water. But the technique I found most effective was to soak as much of my clothing as possible in water, and use that as natural air conditioning for the ten minutes it took to dry out – this provided temporary but welcome relief.