Friday morning was a bit overcast, but the sun was promised. Off to site and armed with 50m tapes, drawing boards, pencils and two dumpy levels and staffs the students were given their next assignment. They had to learn to set up the level and do transects through the site. But first the rudiments of surveying had to be explained along with the principles of understanding ordnance datum, setting up a temporary bench mark (TBM) and reducing levels. After much head scratching and puzzled faces they all finally had their eureka moments and settled down quite happily to work in the sunshine.
Great progress was made and it was decided that having toiled away recording the lumps and bumps of a long vanished friary, that a visit to something more substantial was in order. So we took the afternoon off and headed out to Bective, the second Cistercian Abbey to have been built in Ireland in the mid 12th century. There we met Dr. Geraldine Stout who will be directing the excavations for the fieldschool at Bective in July. She was supervising the building of a fence by the OPW, leading from the road to the Abbey, and gave the students a lively tour of the Abbey buildings and a rundown on the findings of last year’s work. The site is beautifully located on the banks of the River Boyne, and contains the only medieval image of St. Bernard of Clairvaux in Ireland!
So finally the students got to see what a cloister was, and a chapterhouse and could start to put some shape on the humps and hollows of Black Friary.