Foot of Avebury Down Dig – Day 10

We had a little boost today because the weather was so fantastic! Trench 9 (in the wheat field) is coming along nicely in the same chequered pattern as before; there’s a few possible features already appearing and the same type of flint flakes coming out, but, interestingly, at a slightly lower density.


In this trench was Courtney Allardice, a first year archaeology student at the University of Southampton who is our guest blogger for today…

‘Hello Reader, as a mere first year I cannot rattle on about the technicalities of it all, nor can I even attempt to convey the complexity of the foot of Avebury down. What I can offer however, is insight into archaeology and why working in a cold, rainy, muddy field is better than that of a warm cosy office.

‘At first glance,  Archaeology is a profession that consists of getting very dirty as well as explaining to the public why you get excited about flint and soil. Completing one of my first excavations, I joined the dig dreading the rain and thinking of nothing but the absence of wifi for the next three weeks.

‘Rounding off my second week, Avebury has given me the sheer joy and excitement that spreads through the ranks of the newbies right through to the professors. Doing archaeology with archaeologists is one of the most rewarding work environments to be in. Whether it is your first piece of worked flint or your thousandth piece, the awe of being the first human to have touched that piece in several thousand years fills everyone with the love for material culture we all share.


‘Though I ache throughout my body (using muscles I never thought would be needed), watching  the lecturers huddle on rainy nights over surveys and go wide eyed at the sighting of a chisel or piece of Peterborough Ware, has made me realise that the passion that is so entrenched in all of us only continues from here. Learning to get ‘your eye in’ on the presence of worked flint or changes in soil density may seem tedious for the onlooker but it is this contact with the past that drives Archaeology forward (and of course the finds and lecturers and all the technical aspects).

‘Ending the penultimate week has allowed me to explore channels of museum work and archaeology that is simply not present in the text books or lecture halls. A career in archaeology seems one of excitement that I cannot wait to get stuck into. As a reader hopefully you have seen a tiny slice of the beauty that is working in archaeology and perhaps volunteer and share a little slice of this somewhat addictive profession.’


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