San Marcos

 

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So there was one set of slides that I was really looking forward to getting back from my stock agent. The slides were from a 3 week shoot at an archeological dig in New Mexico back in 2000. It was the longest shoot and also the most fun I had on an assignment. The American Museum of Natural History has the bulk (read all) of the images including dupes of the ones I kept for publication. This post will have a few more images than usual.

Dave Thomas who headed the dig set up a program for local High School kids and especially native American students to work on the dig. It was great way for them to get experience in a field they were hoping to pursue. The students did not like to have their photos taken but allowed some limited photography while they were working in the field. You can see that in most of the photographs they have their faces discreetly covered. I respected their wishes.

The dig’s purpose was to uncover a 16th Century Spanish Mission and in order to get a good look at the site I was asked to photograph from a hot air balloon. Now hot air ballooning might look neat on TV but basically it’s you in a tiny basket hundreds of feet up in the air.

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It was hard holding the camera steady but I managed.

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The day started really early to take advantage of the cool mornings and it was basically over at 3PM just before a daily afternoon thunderstorm rolled in. There was one afternoon where the thunderstorm came earlier than usual and tools, tarps and tents were flying everywhere.  The first order of the day was uncovering the previous days work.

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The dig incorporated standard archeological techniques including setting up grids as well as mapping the dig floor

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It also included the use of ground penetrating radar to try to figure out the lay of the Mission Church.

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One of the techniques I found really fascinating photographically was the technique of flagging all of the large stones on the surface. This somehow gave a picture of what might lay underneath. This and the ground penetrating radar give the team a good idea of where and how to dig. Unfortunately the uncovering of the church took several field seasons and I was only able to photograph the first season. Still it was a great time of seeing and experiencing the world.

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