Field School 2019 – Week 7, Part 1
Griffin Bentzel — St. Mary’s College of Maryland
“All Aboard Maryland Dove“
After the field school team wrapped up the site on Saturday, we mustered at the docks to board Maryland Dove at 3:20. We met the crew and boarded the ship. Maryland Dove is a re-creation/replica of an early 17th-century English trading ship and is named after one of two ships which made up the first expedition from England to Maryland. The first step to becoming expert 17th-century sailors is to learn the literal and figurative ropes. The field school students were split into four groups assigned to different crew members to learn the basics of sail tending. Maryland Dove is a two masted ship, so the main sail and the forward sail both needed to be positioned for optimal wind usage. We were taught how to undo the lines, make them secure, redo them, and finally coil up the remaining ropes for a tidy easy-to-handle deck area. Although there is a steep learning curve, these basic skills repeated over and over control the direction of the ship by keeping the sails in the correct direction to catch the wind and propel the ship forward. While the ship was getting ready to depart the docks some of the brave field school students were able to climb the rigging, with proper safety equipment, to let the sails down.
The Dove left smoothly into the river and was out for around two hours. We slowly tacked (change course by turning a ship’s head into and through the wind) around for awhile before making our way back to the docks. On the way back I was lucky enough to be able to help wrap up the sails. So up I go after being fitted with a harness, and while it doesn’t look very high from the deck, it feels much higher after climbing the rigging to go hold onto a horizontal mast piece with nothing but a harness and a rope under your feet. However, the view and the breeze were both so amazing. Huge thanks to the staff and crew that made this experience happen! We at the field school are all super appreciative for the experience.
The rest of the week was great as well! The units are looking good and will soon be able to be photographed and mapped. Skye Stellone found a cool quartz projectile point at the site, all while we are gearing up and excited for the coming Tidewater Archeology Weekend. When you visit the site, we will be running tours and will have tons of dirt to sift. Try your hand at finding artifacts and join in the archaeology fun! Everyone is welcome, come out and visit the Calvert House site on July 20 and 21.