Sunday, April 5, 2015

Towards a Model of Qualities of Physical Measurement of Historic Properties

Concerning the theme of project management that I've been developing, this week, here at my DSP42 tech web log ('blog), there's a type of project that I have been endeavoring to to avoid illustrating with any too convenient of manner of anything like neon signage. Simply, it is a project I'm developing in a manner of structural archaeology. Although, personally, I cannot aspire to convey any great amount of content about the broader discipline of archaeology, and even the single ebook that I have found, about the topic -- Clive Gamble's Archaeology: The Basics (2nd. edn. Routledge. 2007) -- that, in itself, does not address methods of field archaeology, but simply in turning my own internal steam engine about the project, I've managed to develop a handfull of concrete ideas, this evening.

One of the concerns that I face in endeavoring to not too clearly illustrate what is the object of this project, it's in that the project is not itself guarded by any single team of convenient morlocks. The facility is an older lumber mill, originally constructed to process pine conveyed from the Sierra Nevada mountains, constructed -- to my best estimate -- constructed, certainly, sometime in the early 1800's, and it is a family property moreover. My own grandfather was a sawyer at that mill.

As I have learned, to this day, the facility has been subjected to theft and vandalism, over the years. I do not want to see it subjected to any more of the like, if I would draw any attention to the facility whatsoever. In its present state, the  mill has a nondescript outward appearance, so it cannot now be easily spotted from passersby. Nonetheless, I would not want to hang a neon sign over it, online, Originally, it was a fully functioning, steam operated. manually fed lumber mill.

One of the concrete ideas that I've been able to develop, this evening, is towards a matter of measurements for the remnants of the facility. There is one profoundly notable remnant of the facility, namely the  centerpiece of the mill's original steam system, the original water reservoir. Once upon a time, I had made some photos of that object, for a photography course. This evening, considering some simple qualities of the physics of the item, I have arrived at an idea that there is a way to measure the item's exact dimensions, using at least two measuring implements: A laser-operated distance measurer, such as would be used in construction projects, and a vinyl measuring tape of a certain maximum measuring distance, such as I recall from track & field. Both items could be applied to measure the total dimensions of the item, to begin to construct at least a diagram of the mill's original construction.

Certainly, that item was not the only object of the mill's operation. Offhand, I remember a photo I had made of some of the piping there -- a motor would have existed, at some point in time, to make a fully functioning steam engine at the property, namely to drive the mill's original sawblade and other elements of the mill's physical system. There were also the chain feeds on which the felled trees were fed up to the saw blade. Separately, of course the felled trees would have been transported originally from the mountains -- whether all the way by a carriage, or by flue and carriage -- likely, down the original traces of the old road grade snaking up into the Sierras.

Personally, I have found an old book about the history of the region where this property is located. That book discusses many aspects of the old mills, and the old hydroelectric projects of the mountains, as well as some historically entertaining but nonetheless practical matters of the well-known old families of the area. Whereas that mill, itself, has existed for nearly two centuries now, I suppose I'm of an old family of the area, too -- though I don't expect we'll ever see a school or  road named after us, in all of our family's heritage of rustic engineering.

Insofar as that it is a project in a manner of structural archaeology, but I am not formally familiar with any sort of archaeological field methods, so of course I can only try to sort of find the shape of the hallway in the dark, so to speak, to the next grand idea -- or the next simple task, rather  -- for discovering when and how that facility was constructed, and by whom, and by what methods of construction. The concern about measurements -- that will aid that aspect of the project, substantially. Perhaps a museum of historic lumber mills may sometime be aided with this small effort, as well.

Insofar as that, personally, I am at least informally familiar with some aspects of formal ontology, that knowledge is proving to be of some use, too -- as that a time ontology, a persons and agencies ontology, and a geographical features ontology could all be of use in this project. Albeit, this being an ad hoc manner of archaeological project, I will not be scaling it up overnight to raise any sort of a linked data barn about it, but I think it does behoove an interest about linked data, insofar as archaeology, if not insofar as further manners of projects in investigations of histories, perhaps in journalism and in legal studies moreover.

At this time in my life, I am able to make an in-depth study of that aspect of the family's history. I am told that a stage coach once stopped by where that historic property is located. Though I myself may not have enough of a soft brush for geneaology -- and my own family tree is shaped quite like a broad grove, as I understand -- but the nature of structural archaeology, though I have not arrived to this concept until ostensibly my middle years, I think it is a compelling concept, even insofar as of the family's history.

An acquaintance had once inquired of whether I ever participate in archaeology digs. I had answered to the negative, at that time, but now I recall that -- in fact -- I have been on a dig, once. On the other side of my family, before there was a managed waste transport service, we used to dispose of items in a dump pit. I have seen some historic bottles, metal cans, and even a glass electrical insulator from the first archaeological dig I was ever set on about. That was of family history, though. We don't show off a lot, my family.