Hitting the ground running (sort of)

Tuesday was about as productive as I could reasonably have hoped for it to be, which in reality wasn’t very. I seem to be only slightly jet-lagged (hurrah!), so I managed to get to sleep around 1 and woke up around 9. Not too shabby, I thought! I spent the morning unpacking, and finally taking a shower. Apparently the institute has been having intermittent water problems. Sometimes (like last night) there’s no water pressure, and then sometimes (like tonight) there’s no hot water. These institutes, here and in other countries, tend to be in old British imperial period houses. They’re beautiful, but definitely getting rundown, and upkeep often outpaces what a small academic institution can reasonably afford to spend, so things tend to have to fall apart completely before they get fixed. In the case of CAARI, the big project this past year has been the construction of a massive addition to the library. It’ll triple the current size of the library, which we desperately need, but there’s one catch – no one would sell CAARI more land at an affordable price, so our new library is subterranean! There’s a giant hole where the garden on the east side of the building used to be, which currently has one floor, and soon will have two floors of a library built. Eventually the garden will be put back in and the new library will have skylights. I’m excited to see what it will look like, but the fact that CAARI has a massive empty parking lot to its west that we couldn’t afford to buy makes it a bit frustrating.

Anyway, I unpacked properly, which is nice… I’m not used to being here for long enough for it to be worthwhile, but I’m here for two months, and I have this room for at least 30 days, which is awesome, because it is easily the best room in the institute! Always make friends with the administrators… the directors may come and go, but the administrators will be here forever. In this case I’ve been coming to CAARI for 9 years now, and for years I was in room 7, which is the size of a closet! I’ve stayed in room 4 once (private bathroom, but you have a roommate), and recently I’ve been in room 2, which is great… nice size, nice light. But this time, I got room 1. Its huge. It has its own balcony and 12 foot ceilings. Its hard not to feel very colonial in this place, and I feel like I should be drinking Gin and Tonics. 10 am was morning coffee with the staff and the various researchers in the institute, which at the moment is really myself, a grad student from LaTrobe, and the Fulbright (from UVA) and her husband. I made the arrangements to get into the garage, which will be my lab for the next two months, but is currently being used as storage space. Oy. I also called our contacts in the village where my dig stays when we’re working in the summer, so I could get into our storage rooms. One phone number doesn’t seem to work (uh oh) so I may just have to track down the guy who runs the storeroom where we keep all our equipment on foot, but the other number got me through to the gentleman who owns the warehouse we use as out apothiki (Greek for warehouse, but its what Aegean and Cypriot archaeologists call the storehouses where we keep our equipment and non-valuable artifacts). However he was quite insistent that I could NOT come get anything out today or tomorrow, so Thursday I have to go have coffee with him at 11, after which I hopefully will have permission to actually get it and get our ceramics. I spent the afternoon reading, dealing with email, and contacting the museum (to get access to more pottery! Sherds! How I love my sherds!). Then off to Lidl, for the acquisition of groceries. The institute is self-catering, and the kitchen is perfectly adequate, but alas most grocery stores are too far to walk easily. Apparently there’s one not too far away now, but since I have a car for the next week I headed out to stock up cheaply. Apparently the long-lived Fulbright car is no longer in this world, so there is no other car currently here at the Institute. I foresee begging rides off my Cypriot friends in the future…

But then the exciting part of the day! I went out to dinner at the Berlin Wall 2, with my friends Tim and Efthymia. They work at the museum and they are just the most lovely, fun people. Efthymia knows the family that runs the Berlin Wall, so named because it’s built right up against the wall that divides Nicosia in half, separating the Republic from the occupied North. When the Berlin Wall came down in 1989, it left Nicosia as the last divided capital in the world. Not a particular point of pride, but it certainly contributes to the current character of the city, though less-so now that the border crossings are open and more lax. We had mixed grill and lefchanicho (wine sausage, so good), and yoghurt, hummus, salad, and french fries. Delicious. I swear (and I’m Irish here, remember) Cyprus has some of the best tasting potatoes in the world! I kept Tim and Efthymia out past their bedtimes, as we went to the Weaving Room afterwards for another drink. Its called the weaving room, because it was, in fact, a weaving workshop during the Ottoman period. Its a fabulous stone building, and they’ve left the original wood balcony inside, and its filled with books and chairs, and serves cold beer, hot coffee, and delicious traditional deserts, all at a criminally low price. I predict this will make a good writing spot. Conversation was good, and roamed all over. I learned all about dynamics of modern Cypriot politics I never knew, as well as their association with the various football teams. In many ways it reminded me of the situation in Ireland… revolution, followed by a civil war that no one wants to talk about, but which had a serious impact on the politics of the next several decades. Cyprus’ experience is 50 years more recent though, so the wounds are still fresh.


Home Again, Home Again (or Another Year, Another Season)

With the turning of the seasons, so shifts the thoughts of the young archaeologist from those of books and dusty libraries to those of blue skies and pottery-filled fields. This year the season starts early for me (March! Who’d have thought??) and will run through the end of June. First two months, though, I’m here in Nicosia, at the Cyprus American Archaeological Institute, where I will attempt to divide my time productively between analyzing ceramics from the Politiko-Troullia project, studying tomb group and survey material from the area around Politiko and Ayios Sozomenos at the Cyprus Museum, and (fingers-crossed) getting some writing done in the library here at CAARI. I got in later and more exhausted than I had expected, so last night consisted of getting unpacked, eating a typically ridiculous archaeologist dinner, made of the leavings of previous visitors to the institute. In this case, a can of tuna and a can of sweet corn stirred together in a bowl. I kid you not, and before you say ugh, I’ll have you know I was introduced to this exact combination by the Bedouin (true story). They also did it with tomato instead of corn, and it’s surprisingly palatable. I didn’t have any flatbread to eat it with, but that’s alright. So today the excitement begins! I need to get ahold of some of the gentlemen in the village where the P-T project stays, so I can head out there and get into our storage depots. I need drawing supplies, bags, labels, scales… and of course, pottery!

Day 1!

The students arrived yesterday, jet-lagged and delirious from their journey around the world, so they were duly fed and distributed to their houses, and everyone was up at 4:30 for a 5:15 start. Whee!

I was in the lab today, as will be the norm this season. We have a bit of a pottery backlog, and with such a huge team (7 trenches!!) the pottery will be coming in faster than I can process it. At this rate I’ll be just as pasty white when I get back to the States as I was when I left!

There’s one poor student from Melbourne whose bag didn’t get on the plane to Doha, so it won’t arrive in Cyprus until tomorrow afternoon, so without proper clothes or shoes we kept her back at the lab. With no new pottery to wash, I set her to labeling the remains of last year’s. Not the most exciting task in the world, but she took it in stride and with good humour. She is completely green, but she asked good questions, and I pointed out to her that the best way to learn pottery is just to handle thousands and thousands of sherds. After today, she’s well on her way…

The rest of the crew went out to the site to weed and clean and string baulks. We also took down an old baulk that has fallen victim to the vagaries of time (i.e. Cyprus’ periodic torrential rainstorms and the effects of plant growth) and had partially collapsed and was serving no purpose any longer other than a safety hazard.

I read two contexts from last year – reading a context means laying out all of the diagnostic sherds (rims, bases, handles, decoration, spouts… anything that tells me something about the form of the vessel the sherd came from). The southern courtyard continues to produce wonderful things that I’m not allowed to talk about until the department of antiquities has our reports, and Area H, in the north, which I had mostly written off last year as boring, weathered, ugly sherds from utilitarian wares, is suddenly producing high quantities of fine wares with large amounts of applied decoration in a style I’ve only ever seen on some of the pottery from the cemetery at Nicosia-Ayia Paraskevi, and no where else at this site. Weird. They are, however, still ugly and weathered, which is a pity. I think that part of the site is just above bedrock, so water running down to the ravine to the west just runs right through there. Topography!

In other news, we have a Lab Cat! Who is a lap cat! He’s clearly attempting to make a strong case for his Green Card application. I’m tentatively calling him Michael, but one of the students suggested Miles, which I rather like. He spent half the day on my lap and the other half of the day asleep on my backpack, with a short break to mew adorably at everyone while we ate lunch. Our dig cat from last year, the adorable tabby and white Molly, also reappeared last night at dinner. Its definitely her – some horrible neighborhood hooligan took a hole punch to her ear and the resultant hole is distinctive, but she seems to have found a good home, as she is looking well-fed, clean, and fluffy. This clearly hasn’t stopped her from being an incorrigible beggar, though.

Photo on 6-2-14 at 4.55 PM

The Calm Before the Storm

Its actually cool right now. I know it won’t last, but the illusion is lovely, and so I choose to revel in it. The directors have driven down to Larnaca, where they are meeting a chartered bus and 19 field school students that are flying in from Melbourne, via Dhubai. But right now, it is cool, and the only sound in the lab is the occasional typing by the registrar or the faunal analyst as they go about their business, and the pitter-patter of my preparing this note. Outside the birds are having a gay old time, and somewhere in the village a cat is mewling in hopes of some discarded souvlaki.

The buckets and tools are stacked by the entrance to the school, the dinner tables and chairs are out, the sunshades for afternoon pottery washing have been erected, and I should get back to inventorying the pottery drawings from previous seasons.

But right now its cool and quiet.

I give it about 2 hours…

Byzantine iPad?

The excavations at Yenikapi, the location of the old harbor of Byzantium, have continued to amaze archaeologists for years now with the fantastic preservation of organic materials at the site, from the particularly poorly known periods of the Late Roman and Early Byzantine Empires. I’ve actually written previously on this blog about some of the work Cornell University’s Dedrochronology Lab has done with all the wood from ships and piers that have come out of this amazing archaeology site! But today, we’ve got something really different!

Tablet bilgisayarin atasi kabul edilen not defteri

This particular artifact has made a bit of a stir, first because its genuinely very very cool, and second because some archaeologists or journalists have decided to pithily compare it to the modern laptop. This kind of comparison isn’t all that unusual in archaeology today – its a technique pioneered by Prof. Ian Hodder of Stanford who referred to trade of Neolithic obsidian blades at Çatalhöyük as being like the invention of the credit card. (Bonus: In the comments, tell us what you think about this sort of aggrandizing behavior in archaeology!)

But before you scoff at this seemingly ridiculous comparison between a some strange pieces of wood and our modern marvels of aluminum, silicon, and plastic, step back and you might realize that it could actually be an interesting and useful analogy. This artifact is a more complex version of an object we know from other, earlier, excavations of ships. In fact one of these, a diptych, was found on the Bronze Age (that’s 2000 years before this one!) shipwreck at Uluburun. The pages of diptychs or triptychs (depending on whether they had two or three pages), consisted of wooden frames and backs into which wax was poured. Once the wax hardened, you had a book that you could take notes in with a wooden stylus, erase, and reuse, to record information you only needed for awhile, or to save until you had a chance to write it down properly somewhere. No fiddling about with ink or charcoal or paper, which one can imagine onboard ship was particularly useful.

This particular notebook is even more interesting than others we know of though – in addition to multiple pages, rather than just two or three, this one has a sliding compartment in which weights would have been stored, which would have been used for calculating purchases and weighing coins! So, notes, measuring, and computing, all in one small convenient package that you can hold in one hand! Its practically an iPad! Okay, maybe that’s stretching it a bit…’

Image Credit and News Source: Hurriyet Daily News

Hadrian’s Underground Slave City?

This is SO cool, and proof that you should never stop poking your nose into places it doesn’t belong, both metaphorically and physically speaking!


You see, the tunnels under Hadrian’s Villa at Tivoli were recorded by the archaeologists working at the site over a decade ago. But it’s a team of amateur archaeologists, who happen to also be avid, skilled spelunkers and speleologists (people who climb in, and study, caves), who have mapped out a network of underground rooms, passages, and even roads the likes of which no one had imagined would exist!!

Its a veritable underground city, covering hectares… possibly the entire 296 acres of the archaeological site, and possible even further. It’s even been suggested that there may be underground tunnels linking the entire underground complex at the Villa to other underground complexes such as those known to exist below Rome itself, over 18 miles away! The cavers were able to enter the underground warren through light shafts scattered around the fields surrounding the archaeological site, where they’ve found subterranean streets wide enough for ox-driven carts. Some of the spaces are filled with dirt collapsed from the roofs, so now robots have been called in to explore some of them, and excavations may follow.

This “chthonic city,” as one article refers to it, is hypothesized by the archaeologists to have likely been the habitat of the slaves, considered sub-human, who provided the manpower to run the mighty estates of the emperors, as well as the most meager households of common citizens. But by being underground, these subterranean sites have also been preserved in a way that those on the surface have not, and are increasingly recognized by archaeologists and amateurs alike as providing a wealth of knowledge about Roman society that otherwise would be lost to us. They may, of course, be a source of information about the lower, servile classes, who worked and possibly even dwelt hidden from the presence of the wealthy and powerful, and they also may shed light, despite their own darkness, on the operations of the cities and estates where the movers and shakers of Roman society lived and did business.

Its NOT about “looking good for the fellas”

Time for some good Sexism-Shaming on this week’s episode of Girl Snarkaeologist!! The American Schools of Oriental Research, normally a respectable institution and invaluable resource for archaeologists work in the Near East, decided to share this article about the discoveries at the Neolithic site of Boncuklu Höyük in Turkey today on their FB page: Keeping up with the latest fashion trends of antiquity
with the brilliant comment “Tale as old as time… excavations in the Central Anatolian province of Konya have shown women, even 10,500 years ago, went to great lengths to look good for the fellas.”

To quote my brilliant fellow girl archaeologist Kathryn O’Neil Weber’s reaction to this post, “Oh. My. God. No. In so many, many ways: No.”

from http://boncuklu.org, the official website of the excavations at Boncuklu Höyük, a site whose name literally means "beady place hill"
from http://boncuklu.org, the official website of the excavations at Boncuklu Höyük, a site whose name literally means “beady place hill”

I could rant for several pages about how much this article and the support of it by ASOR pisses me off, but for the sake of brevity let me just state, women do not wear jewelry and modify their bodies exclusively for the pleasure of “the fellas.” We don’t now, and we probably didn’t 10,000 years ago. There are many many explanations for women wearing jewelry. Maybe they liked it. Maybe they’re expressing their identities – family, clan, political, or religious loyalities, for example. Maybe they’re indicating their wealth to rival groups, or to the gods, or maybe they were even just buried with loads of bling to remove it from circulation, thus increasing the value to the bling that remained with the living!

And finally, archaeology fans, question, and question heavily, any conclusions that assume that behaviors in the past had the same reasoning behind them as behaviors in the present. Especially when the authors’ understanding of present behavior is so patently wrong. And seriously, ASOR? You should be ashamed of yourselves.

Secrets beneath the Highways

Hi, everyone! GirlArchaeologist’s Facebook Page is going strong, but I’ve heard from some of my faithful Twitter followers (hi guys! Love you!!) that some people don’t like Facebook pages, and lets face it, even if you do use Facebook, those algorithms they’ve been using lately that decide for you what you do and don’t get to read sometimes decide to sweep archaeology under the carpet, and we will not stand for that! So, I’ll be cross-posting my Facebook posts over here, and hopefully getting into some longer format stuff as well. So, onwards! For SCIENCE!

Screen Shot 2013-08-19 at 11.39.15 AM

Between 2000 and 2010, Ireland constructed its new National Road Network (Americans, think of the Interstate Highway System), and all of that roadwork was preceded and accompanied by the work of archaeologists, to the tune of €250 million, representing one of the largest archaeological programs in the world!

Many of the sites excavated as part of the project were previously unknown, and would likely have gone undiscovered and unresearched without the impetus and funds provided by the highway development.

Finds included:

a cillín, an unconsecrated graveyard for unbaptized infants, used between the 15th and 18th centuries, along the course of the M6 in Co. Galway, and and others in Co. Westmeath and Mayo.

fishtraps and baskets, up to 10,000 years old, preserved in bogs, as well as a late Roman monastic mill with well-preserved timbers near Ballinasloe

an entire deserted medieval village under the M9 in Co. Kildare

an Anglo-Norman farmstead in Co. Wexford

And what archaeologists say may be most important about the work does in the past decade are the insights they’ve gained into the Bronze and Iron Ages (ca. 2500 B.C. – 400 A.D.). Studies of lipids from Bronze Age pottery shows that milk may have been an important part of the diet, when previously cattle on Ireland were thought to have been primarily used as a meat source, burnt mounds known to have been cooking sites may also have been used for bathing, and shaving may have been practiced, but reserved as a marker of elite status. Particularly cool is a double row of wooden post holes that mark out the path of a 30 meter “ritual” avenue, whose alignment has caused archaeologists to hypothesize that it was used for driving cattle down on Nov. 1st, prior to slaughter and feasting.

There’s loads more, too! I hope to highlight some of these and other amazing finds and the high quality research that has been done in Ireland in coming weeks and months so keep your eyes on this space!

All of the artifacts are now held by the National Museum, while most of the human remains have been, or will be, reinterred. Similar research occurs associated with construction projects in other countries, but don’t receive so much national attention. Why do you think that’s true? Do you think your local archaeology should be better advertised? How could archaeologists go about it? And why don’t public archaeologists and academic archaeologists work together?? (that last one is purely rhetorical, but honestly, am I the only person this annoys the crap out of? Sorry. Also rhetorical.)

Sources: Independent.ie @ http://ow.ly/o3HWb
and: National Roads Authority @ http://ow.ly/o3L12

Photo Credit: Richard O’Brian, inset: JCNA, LTD. Originally Published in Seanda, the NRA archaeology magazine, 2011 Issue 6

Archaeology, Briefly

I really do intend to get back to writing these blogs, but grad school has a funny way of devouring every spare moment and then some. I dealt with this in a way I suspect is typical of modern youth (or any age for that matter)… I was spending way too much time on Twitter and Facebook. I have, however, repurposed these horrible time-sinks, and made them a Power for Good (TM) or even my small contribution towards Decreasing World Suck(TM)!*

What I’m saying is Girl Archaeologist has a Twitter feed, where you will hear all the up-to-date archaeological news that is worth hearing (and some that isn’t) in 140 characters or less, as well as the occasional fan-girl squee over Star Trek, technology, or British dramas. But really, it’s mostly archaeology, and we’re nearing the 2000 follower mark!
Here: https://twitter.com/GirlArchaeo

Girl Archaeologist has also just inaugurated her very own Facebook Page. A Page is more than a Group, but less than a Friend. Or something. Basically, “Like” the page, and keep hitting “Like” or post a comment whenever FB puts one of our posts on your Wall, and you’ll continue getting 2 or 3 fun and enlightening archaeology posts a day. If FB stops sending you the Page’s posts, just visit the page again, and keep Liking stuff – Facebook, as I think we all know by now, doesn’t exactly have the most user-friendly predictive algorithms. But the Facebook Page format lets me post things that are more substantial (and illustrated!) than the tight constraints of Twitter, but don’t involve the time commitment of a well-crafted blog post. Archaeological news, objects, and sites, with just a little bit of snark: https://www.facebook.com/GrlArchaeologist

And I will be returning to this site, but reserving it for my longer-format endeavours.

*please go watch the VlogBrothers on YouTube, John and Hank Green, if you don’t get these references. I can honestly promise you that Nerdfighteria is a place you will be glad you discovered. Also check out their educational channel, CrashCourse, where John Green teaches World History and Literature and Hank teaches Science. These guys are my heros. Pity they aren’t girls, but no one’s perfect.

Drawing Pretty Pictures of Broken Pots

The single most ubiquitous artifact type for archaeologists working on most time periods is ceramics. The wonders of chemistry and physics have resulted in a materiel that once produced is nigh well indestructible. Ceramics can be used to produce all sorts of different objects from electrical insulators to building materials like roof tiles and pipes, but the form we find most frequently is pottery. Pottery vessels are used for carrying liquids, storing dry goods, cooking, even as burial repositories. And they break with astounding frequency, and thousands of years later, the pieces are still around, sometimes even in the exact same condition they were the day the pot was dropped. Archaeologists rarely find intact pots – unless we’re excavating tombs, when people would intentionally place whole pots, perhaps filled with some sort of mortuary offerings or with the remains of a funeral feast, with the body of the deceased. But most of the time what we find are sherds… the detritus of pots broken during daily use or after they were discarded for other reasons.

Now the uses of pottery to archaeologists can’t begin to be overstated. Pots can allow us to study social organization, political developments, economic strategies, exchange of ideas, movement of populations, and any number of other topics. Because of the ways in which new styles are adopted, developed, discarded and replaced, pottery can be used for establishing relative, or even absolute, dates. A lot of these things though, require us to know what the pots looked like, not just cataloging the dirty sherds that come out of the ground. So, what does an archaeologist do with all these thousands of pot sherds?!

Well, first we wash them! But after that, we count them and we record them. Recording a pot sherd usually just involves determining what kind of clay it was made from and how it was finished and fired – different wares are made of different clays, that are treated in different fashions – think of the difference between fine china and earthenware. However, if a sherd has some sort of decoration, or if its part of a pot that is recognizable, we call it “diagnostic.” This is sort of like being a symptom that lets you diagnose the disease. Well, a diagnostic sherd lets us diagnose something about the pot – what shape the pot was, what kind of decoration it had, or maybe whether it was made a special way.

Diagnostic sherds receive special treatment. We carefully measure them, record details about the fabric (the clay and other materials the pot was made from), the finish (firing methods, burnishing, slips, glazes, painted, inciside, or relief decoration, etc.), and what part of the vessel they were. Sometimes from all of this information we’re ale to tell exactly what kind of pot the sherd came from! And then the sherds are drawn and photographed. As a pottery analyst, drawing pottery is a skill I had to learn, and trust me, I have no innate artistic talent! I’ve been doing it for long enough now that my drawings are acceptable, but there are many (if not most) archaeological illustrators out there who put my drawings to shame. Still, I do all right, and I thought I’d give you guys a little look at how I spend some of my days…

To start, I have to get all of the tools of my trade. Here you can see some nice heavy tracing paper, taped down to a smooth, flat table, over a sheet of graph paper. This way the graph paper can be reused, and the lines don’t have to be removed when the drawings are scanned into Adobe Illustrator and inked, but the grid is still there to help with the drawing process. I also have an architect’s ruler, a triangle, a profile gauge, a set of calipers, a rim gauge, my favorite mechanical pencil, and the pot sherd that I’m going to draw with its ID tag.

Here’s a clearer shot of the sherd in question as well as some of my earlier drawings so you can see what the goal is. This particular sherd is the rim, and a significant chunk of the profile of the body of a hemispherical bowl, a very common form in the bronze age on Cyprus. Specifically, this sherd is a variety of Red Polished ware local to the Pafos region in the SW of the island, dating to the Early or Middle Bronze Age.

The trick to being able to reconstruct a vessel from a single sherd is being able to orient the sherd correctly so you can figure out what the profile of the sherd would have looked like. Normally this requires having a rim, or at least a significant part of it. IF the piece of rim is to small, you can’t tell what angle to hold the pot at. In this picture I’m holding the sherd at close the correct angle. If a piece of pottery is well-made, then the rim should be even, and if the rim is even then if you hold the sherd so the rim is flat, you’ve figured out the correct angle that the sherd should be at! Another way to do it is to place the sherd on the table rim-edge down. You lean the sherd back and forth until you find the angle where no light is passing under the sherd – this means you’ve found the correct angle where the rim in lying flat against the table. Once you have this angle there are a couple important measurements you can take.

First, you can use a rim guage to figure out what the diameter of your pot’s rim was. Here you can see me using the rim guage, holding the sherd so no light passes under the rim (i.e., the rim is flat, and I’m holding the sherd at the correct angle). I slide the sherd in and out on the gauge until I find a rim diameter that matches the curve of the rim on my sherd. Voila! I know how big around my pot’s rim was! In this case, 14 cm…

Using this rim measurement, I’m able to sketch in this T. Basically the cross bar is the rim, and the upright is just the axis of reflection (i.e. the other side of the line will be a mirror image of whatever I’ve drawn). By aligning my sherd at the correct angle again, this time on the T, I’ll be able to measure how high the sherd is and how far in it reaches. I’ll do this using the graph paper underneath and the architect’s triangle:

These measurements allow me to mark the bottom of the sherd on my drawing. The trick now is figuring out the curve between the edge of the rim and this bottom point. And the way we do that is with the profil gauge. These are also tools used by carpenters and other craftsmen. The metal pins push in easily, but remain in place horizontally. By pressing the gauge up against any object (even your face, but its kind of uncomfortable), when the pins push in you get the curve of the profile of the object you’re measuring. Good profile gauges also have built in rulers, allowing you to measure the distance between different points in your curve, which is great if its a complicated curve (like your face). In this case, though, I’ve got a pretty simple curve, so I can just put my sherd on the table and press the gauge down, being careful to press the guage in at an angle that would point towards the imaginary middle of the pot.

This last picture actual skipped a step (whoops!). One I’ve gotten the profile of the pot in the gauge, I line that profile up with the edge of the rim on my T and with the bottom of the sherd which I marked after measuring with the triangle. This lets me draw the curve of the outside of the pot. For the interior curve I use the calipers to measure the thickness of the sherd at various points. I marke these distances in on the drawing, and then basically connect the dots: instant inner surface!

Now, using the grid paper as a guide, I draw in the mirror image of the profile on the other side. Little conventions like a broken rim line tells us that the rim is incomplete, and extension lines at the base of the sherd show the sherd is broken here and would be expected to continue in a certain direction. Then I label the drawing with the project abbreviation and excavation year, the trench and context numbers where the sherd was excavated, and my initials and the date the drawing was completed. Done!