Landscapes, Olive Sieves, Tiles, and Pallets

Another week in the landscape of the Western Argolid brought another little assemblage. This time we discovered four or five olive sieves in a group. An olive sieve removes leaves and twigs from the olives making it easier to prepare the olives for pressing or curing.

They’re little studies in design and improvisation with bike wheels, snow fencing, chicken wire, and rebar attached to improvised frames and boxes. 

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We also checked out a few small houses that dot the olive groves. Most of them look pretty recent in date, but they have collapsed roofs and tile scatters. 

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And, of course, landscapes:

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Oh, and pallets!

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My Bakken Research in 14 Mediocre Images

If you’ve been following my blog over the last couple of weeks, you’ve perhaps noticed that Kyle Cassidy has been working overtime to get us media coverage for the Bakken Goes Boom: Oil and the Changing Geographies of Western North Dakota.

His photo essay on the Bakken has appeared in Slate, Fast Co. Design, and the Daily Mail. It’s really good.

Since I just finished putting together a group of photographs and illustration with rather detailed captions, I thought I’d try my hand at a little photo essay. I’m not Kyle Cassidy, but here goes:

Figure 1FINALFigure 1: The thick line delineates the Bakken formation, and the vast majority of oil related activities take place in Mountrail, Williams, McKenzie, and Dunn counties in Western North Dakota. 

Figure 2Figure 2: Map showing workforce housing in the Bakken. Dots represent camps recorded in an inventory of “temporary workforce housing establishments” in the western part of North Dakota. The stars are our study sites in the region.

Figure 3Figure 3: A kite photograph of a Type 1 Camp outside Tioga, ND. Note the regular arrangement of units, the elevated walkways between units, and the small common building with a flat roof in the center right of the image.

Figure 4Figure 4: The alley between two rows of units in a Type 2 Camp outside of Williston, ND. The alley provides space for the electrical masts, water and sewage hookups, and for storage. It also provides access to buried pipes that sometimes require maintenance.

Figure 5Figure 5: The haphazard arrangement of RVs in a Type 3 Camps near Tioga, ND. Without the constraints of electrical masts or water and sewage hook ups, in this instance, a Type 3 camp used this flexibility to create common spaces. 

Figure 6Figure 6: Man camps tend to cluster around the edges of existing settlements to leverage concentrations of existing infrastructure, and to avoid jurisdictional complications associated with being within city limits. 

Figure 7Figure 7: The use of extruded polystyrene foam around the base of an RV provides insulation. Note the use of wood braces for the foam, the insulated sewage pipe, and the wood box over the water and hookup.

Figure 8Figure 8: Well-constructed wood framing to support extruded polystyrene insulation around the base of the RV. Note the panel removed for access to the underside of the RV.

Figure 9Figure 9: A rather typical mudroom set atop an elevated platform with a small deck. Note the tar-paper roof, the modest efforts at decoration, and the plants set into Wal-mart pails.

Figure 10aFigure 10a: External platforms are among the most common architectural interventions in the Bakken. They provide a defined space elevated from mud, dirt, and snow. Note the use of a standard shipping pallet as a step.

Figure 10bFigure 10b: This is a common assemblage associated with the demarcated and elevated space of a platform is unsecured, and includes (a) grill (b) cooler (c) camp chairs (d) propane cylinder (e) camp table (f) shipping pallet (g) deck.

Figure 11Figure 11: This is an elaborate example of demarcated property. The placement of the RV on the border of the lot forms one border for private space that is here defined by a flimsy fence, some impermanent landscaping, an elevated platform, and the personal touches including a “Brad and Brenda” sign.

Figure 12Figure 12: Free weights along with elaborate grills contribute to the hyper-masculine identity present in the Bakken. Weights are often left unsecured and then abandoned when residents move on. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

Figure 13Figure 13: The two grills visible outside the mudroom of a pair of RVs in the Bakken complement a typical, if elaborate assemblage of objects associated with short-term occupation: tomato plants in planters, platforms made of shipping pallets, children’s bikes and toys, cinderblocks, and a rubber trash can.

DSC 2050 copyBonus Photo! (From Left): Richard Rothaus, Bill Caraher, and Bret Weber at the site of an abandoned man camp. Photo by Kyle Cassidy.

Images from the Bakken

I don’t usually just post pictures (oh, wait, I guess I do), but I thought I would today as I recover from a few days of Bakken adventures.

An abandoned man camp near Tioga:

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Another near Wheelock, ND:

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An abandoned “dry” camp:

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Pallets:

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I know we shouldn’t call them “man camps”:

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Communal space:

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Work and flares:

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Another reminder that we’re not the first newcomers on the northern plains:

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Photo Friday on the Western Argolid Regional Project

Now, I’m almost entirely sure that there is only one more week of full on field work. This past week was cooler and slightly less exhausting, but we still have two weeks to go before we wrap up the first season of the Western Argolid Regional Project.

This morning, I did some field walking for the first time this year. As we filled in a few units that the survey teams missed, Dimitri Nakassis and Stephanie Steinke check the GPS unit to make sure that we are in the right spot.

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The sheep are out in the field first thing in the morning:

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The day before I hiked up to the rock shelter fort for the last time this season to fill in a few points on our plans and finish one drawing. It was a cool opportunity to think about how archaeological field work shapes how we hold our bodies.

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I continue to document the things Greeks hang from trees:

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I’ve also been drawn to other agricultural equipment in the field. For example, I liked how these irrigation heads looked in a klouva and the alternative:

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Sunrise over the survey area.

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And some high-tension electrical wires:

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The survey area from the north:

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And a field selfie for kicks:

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Photo Friday on the Western Argolid Regional Project

After another week of the Western Argolid Regional Project, I’m once again prompted to ask whether this is over yet. This isn’t to suggest that I’m not having fun, but to say that this has already been a long field season!

But we’re hard at work. As you can see, Scott Gallimore, one of the directors, is hard at work documenting the upper reaches of our survey area on Mt. Braimi south of Lyrkeia.

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This one is from one of our team leaders, Machal Gradoz. Her field team is lined up in a field of wheat:

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A selfie of myself in the reflection of water in a cistern: 

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Red fruit crates in a green apricot grove:

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A less welcoming sign hanging from an olive tree:

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The Argive Heraion is one of the top three sites in Greece for the clarity of the archaeological remains, the archaeological (and political) questions it has inspired, and, above all, the view:

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Dawn on the way to the survey area. It almost makes that 5 am alarm sound sweet:

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The walk to dinner last night:

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My after dinner constitutional:

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Photo Friday on the Western Argolid Regional Project

It’s the end of the first full week of WARP, and I am glad we only have a few more days of field work left this season. 

So I stepped up my efforts for photo Friday in celebration of our vigorous activities.

First, I’ve been trying to capture the “essence” of survey archaeology. For me and for most of our dedicated team of field walkers, intensive pedestrian survey means forms and maps:

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The look is familiar to most survey archaeologists. The head is inclined over a form:

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I have also been trying to capture the range of things that Greek farmers hang from trees:

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Finally, I’ve been working on some photographs of fields that convey the range of different textures and soils encountered in a field day:

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