Weekend No. 1

We have been digging for 5 days; the weather has been mixed but fairly good. Progress on site has been steady. I think everyone is settling in now. I like to see how people who arrived just under a week ago, nervous and apprehensive, are now sporting sunburnt knees and noses and wearing their archaeological dust with pride! People are already attached to their own little bits of soil – and already I can pick out those who are natural field archaeologists…who I will see here again in seasons to come.Saturday was actually quite a quiet day…..no real problems or worries to detract from the archaeology.

The treat of Sunday is that we begin at 10am…..when I sit in the Cook’s hut for my breakfast of muesli and balck coffee (thank you Jean and Maisie!) I review the events of the previous night’s party with Jon, my site manager. These parties are an integral part of dig life – they usually involve dressing up – and everyone dances to a wonderful contraption of car radios rigged up in the marquee….a Heath Robinson contrapation which blares out 80’s hits. As you might imagine, these parties can form the basis of lasting relationships (I think Silchester has spawned 4 marriages…that I know of)…or not. But it is part of dig life in a field in Hampshire. And the 10am start on Sunday is very welcome. On Sunday I noticed a few people painted bright blue…..the remnants of the ‘Alien’ party theme apparently! Sunday, for me, is a day of lists for the forthcoming week….I fix the teams for the next week, finalise the teaching timetable, prepare the Visit’s printout…of who is visiting us and when….In between lists, Nick and I walk the site, looking at the areas, talking to the Supervisors and preparing the strategy of the next week. It really has been a good week.

By 5pm I am waiting for the new arrivals – new arrivals for Week 2! We have very few people leaving – only 7! Key amongst them I must mention Sam Cole and Rhys Clark – both at Silchester for Work Experience (both doing GCSE’s at Hurst Community College) – and both so enthusiastic and willing to learn. They were a credit to their College and I was sorry to see them go.  New arrivals number 30 – people of all ages and backgrounds – all a little nervous about the forthcoming week. It is hard to join a team of 100 strong who have known each other for just a week – but already have the Indiana Jones swagger! I do my best to put them at their ease and Matt and Rob turn out an immaculate barbeque with Maisie at the helm! They campsite is very full n0w, and there is a sense of anticipation about the week ahead….

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