Saturday, May 3, 2014

Archaeology in Patterson Park: Third Saturday, and the Kinetic Sculpture Race

Since today was the day of Baltimore's delightful kinetic sculpture race, which my children had never seen, I wanted to take them all down to Patterson Park with me for the afternoon. I talked three into coming, along with Robert's girlfriend Haley. We arrived around noon to find that a class of students had just showed up for a tour that no one was expecting, and I was pressed into service to tell them all about the battle and the history of the park. I think I might actually have given my best rendition yet of that story; sometimes it is better to be unprepared. And then I wandered down to the new southern trench, where the volunteers were digging to expose another section of the earthworks.

Here you can actually see the fortification ditch. Emily is standing on natural subsoil, digging down along the bottom of the 1814 ditch.

View from the Pagoda of the test units over the butcher's shop.

While I looked in on the progress of the excavations, my young charges wandered off in search of the kinetic sculpture race. This is a great Baltimore tradition, started by the folks at the Visionary Art Museum. Each human-powered work of "art" has to navigate a long course through Baltimore, including a passage through water and crossings of sand and mud pits. The winner is the finisher that the judges think is the coolest.

I made my way down to the sand pit, taking pictures and vaguely looking for my children, but the crowd was big and I gave up trying to find them. Here are some entries, lined up to try their luck in the sand.

So I went back to digging in the south trench until my brood reappeared. We hung around for a bit together, and then we went home. I think everybody had a great time. Above, view from the Pagoda of the filled-in trench where I worked last week, which you can see next to that little bare tree at the bottom of the picture; the trench where I worked today; and the harbor beyond.

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