View Full Version : June/July Entry: Wellington Dig

07-04-2009, 05:50 PM
First, my apologies to Syt for the name of my entry being awfully close to his. I assure you that the actual spot used as a basis for my entry is a real town called Wellington in UK. The crop marks that instigate the fictional dig are real and can be seen on Google Earth at the coordinates on the form.

This entry is supposed to look like a computer-generated form with some hand-crafted elements and handwriting, in which the computer application itself is designed to be reminiscent of a blueprint.

This is being done strictly with Photoshop which, not actually being a CAD program, sometimes has some challenges pretending to be one.

So far I have the topography, river and roads done. The actual archaeological tidbits of interest remain, plus the legend for those.

I am not an anthropologist and I have no idea if there are any bronze-age settlements in the UK, though I'd guess there are, and I certainly have no knowledge of any digs around Wellington.

As always, suggestions and critcism are welcome.


07-04-2009, 10:55 PM
I know a lot of you are busy with family and friends celebrating the Independence of the United States. I hope everyone had a great day and hope the rest of the evening is equally enjoyable. My wife's mom and dad were down from The Villages and my son and stepdaughter and her boyfriend were also in attendance. We had corn on the cob, oven-baked chicken and mac-n-cheese, with mile-high-strawberry pie for desert. It was great.

The bronze age in Britain lasted from 2300-750 BC, although you can find different start and end dates if you look. The truth is, nobody showed up at midnight GMT on New Year's Day of 2301 and said "Here's bronze, knock this stone crap off." Likewise, they didn't one day put down all their bronze utensils and pick up iron implements.

Around 1500 BC, the roundhouse became the most common form of architecture in Britain. They ranged in size from five to fifteen meters in diameter. They had steep, conical roofs--necessary to help the thatch ward off rain. The construction material used in the structure was primarily hardwoods, but plenty of thatch and daub were also required.

I've added a number of roundhouses to my village, along with a few odd buildings such as a collection of sod shelters across the road from the village and a haphazard tannery by the river.

The large round structure is a palisade, used for common defense in case of invasion by unfriendly tribes.

The shaded area near the palisade is a midden, and there is another one just north of the village. The reason for using two middens was practical. The north midden was used for shells, bones and other dry trash, whereas the south midden was used for organic rubbish. This kept seepage from the south or "wet" midden from infiltrating the village and it also used the prevailing winds to blow the smell of it away from the village.

The long, narrow trench leading away from the south midden is a crude sewage system which diverts any runoff from the midden into the river. Yes, we cringe now to consider such a thing, but rivers have been used throughout man's history to dispose of sewage, and only recently have such practices become less common. Little thought was given to the impact to the village down-river, but then again, little thought was given to what the village up-river was dumping into the stream either.

Finally, I've added some images of real bronze-age artifacts found in Britain.

I'm not done yet. I have quite a bit of stuff to add to the map and a legend to create still.


Steel General
07-05-2009, 08:48 AM
This is starting to come together nicely.

07-05-2009, 02:44 PM
I've always had this vague impression that the bronze age was impossibly primitive and backward, barely rising above the bone-in-the-nose Neanderthals going around clubbing each other and chasing woolly mammoths about.

Of course, the Greeks were a bronze-age society in their pinnacle, and there were hardly savages.

Now I understand and appreciate that Britain in the bronze age was no Greece, and that I cannot use the one to assume much about the other. But bronze-age Britains, though tribal and pagan, were highly organized and had much in common with their descendants right through the medieval period.

I have added quite a bit since my last update. First, I have imagined a large palisade from the early bronze age surrounding the entire village. The structure itself is not discovered in the dig, but evidence of it in the form of post holes are found.

I have also added numerous barrows, or "tumuli" on the far side of the NW wall. One of the changes from the neolithic to bronze-age society in Britain was that the custom of large, communal barrows gave way to smaller, individual burial mounds.

I added some images of bronze-age tanning tools, and one early iron-age tool It is fascinating how metallurgy effects archaeology Iron is a far superior metal in many ways to bronze, but it decays much more rapidly.

I added number labels to all of the parts of the map. I then put descriptions into the legend. The type is tiny but the words are not gibberish, at least not within the context of my fictional dig. I encourage you to read it.


07-05-2009, 08:44 PM
The variations in this challenge are, I think, very cool. Each submission is considerably different. Mine is kind of a fantasy-tinged exploratory deal, yours is a much more realistic, present-day kind of implementation, I'd say Syt's is post-apocalyptic...the differences are neat.

Great work so far!

07-06-2009, 02:38 AM
First, my apologies to Syt for the name of my entry being awfully close to his.

No need for apologies. :)

I love what you did with this realistic approach, it looks (from a layman's point of view) very professional.

The only way I could think of to make this even better (and that's my personal taste showing, not criticism of your very cool work) would be to:

- use a typewriter font for the descriptions on the top right, making it look like the sheet was in the archeologist's typewriter; maybe add a corrected typo or two

- add the finds that you have as bitmaps on the bottom right as photos or photo clippings (attached with a paper clip like the aerial photo on the top left, or just "lieing" on the paper with a slight drop shadow)

07-06-2009, 07:09 AM
Solid suggestions Syt. I will try them on for size later.

07-06-2009, 09:06 AM
Great suggestions, Syt! And Great work, Imm!!

07-06-2009, 09:09 PM

This is kind of what I'm aiming for in my entry, only, you know, absolutely awesome.

Where's the aerial photograph from? Did you generate it from the landform on the map, or is it an actual photo from which you derived the ancient village?

The only thing I can suggest, and it's pretty paltry, is the scale; the smallest divisions in feet comes out to 2.5, which is not bad; the smallest divisions in meters is 1.25, which is kind of weird.

But man, this is really great.

07-06-2009, 10:29 PM

I really liked your suggestions, and started off by changing the type. I found a hoard of good fonts demonstrating a wide variety of key degradation, and selected one that I liked called "Underwood Champion". It was lucky that I hadn't rasterized the old font already. Of course the new font was completely different in character and required about an hour of adjusting lines. That looked good, but while I was experimenting with ways to make correction-tape type impressions, my wife pointed out that if someone typed on the form, they surely did not type in blue. Point taken.

I started out in the typing and document world back in 1981 when I joined the United States Air Force. I learned a lot about white out, correction tape, IBM Selectrics and the like. Getting any kind of a good effect was frustrating, until I happened up on the idea of using a layer behind the type and actually typing slightly off-white letters with the smallest of drop shadows. That worked out good, and with a bit of low-flow erasing after the fact, it turned out okay. There are probably forty corrected typos in there.

The photos were simply a matter of properly sizing the artifacts to go with each other, and arranging to type. It really does look a lot better this way Syt, and I have nobody but you to thank. Oh, I found a website that would take your type and convert it into an old Dyno label maker labels with tape of your choice (http://www.acme.com/labelmaker/), so I used that rather than one of the several label fonts out there. I think the off-beat color hints a little at the eclectic taste so often expressed in universities. Most people had either black or medium red tapes.

Time to hit the rack. Thanks again.


07-07-2009, 01:35 AM

glad to hear you liked my suggestions, and to be honest, this is a fabulous bit of work, looking very real; I'd see this as something in an adventure computer game or as a movie prop. The labels on the photos are really the icing on the cake. :)

07-07-2009, 05:23 PM
Where's the aerial photograph from? Did you generate it from the landform on the map, or is it an actual photo from which you derived the ancient village?

I went buzzing southern England at tree-top level with Google earth, looking for crop marks that were suggestive of something beneath the ground. The picture you see was taken directly from Google Earth. If you have that application on your computer, you can put the coordinates from my submission into it and you'll see the place and can look around.

If you don't have Google Earth, I highly recommend it. It will give you a new perspective on a lot of things, especially zooming in and out over certain terrain types and seeing how things like mountains and rivers actually look in the scale that your'e doing a map in.

07-09-2009, 08:59 PM
I made a few last adjustments since Friday is the final day. I added a clip to the tannery photo and abused all the pictures a bit.