PHD candidate at UCL
Posts by Valentina:
Excavating a Beautiful 18th Century Landscape Garden,
10 Jul 2012 in Day of Archaeology&DayOfArch2012&Excavation
My day started at 5.30am to prepare for the long drive to the site, the little inn where we have been lodged offers a large full English breakfast, which would really keep you going for most of the day, unfortunately though we are leaving too early so no breakfast, just a cup of questionable coffee ( mostly due to the UHT milk supplied in the little plastic pre-dosed container) in my room. I knock on the door of my colleague to make sure he is awake and after 10 minute we leave toward our site.
We drive for 1 and a half hours on beautiful country roads , between spells of rain, sun and blast of strong winds..so me and my colleague joke about the weather changes that saying we are time travelling and we are quickly passing through each season of the year as the kilometers go by. When we arrive on site we are greeted by our other colleague and the manager of the beautiful 18th century garden we are excavating, as we enter the garden a flock of roe deers with their babies run pass us and cheer all of us up!
The project is trying to relocate several features of the ancient garden as the Lord that owns it (is manor house is within the garden/ estate) wants to restore it to its former beauty. Suddenly a heavy rain fall comes down and in few minutes rivers of water come down from everywhere, lightening and thunder seems to fall just next to us, and being in the middle of a woodlands is not really a safe place to be during thunderstorm… Thanks god the master gardener came to rescue us and with our extreme surprise and relief he takes us to the house, he said we have been permitted to use the “posh” toilets instead of the public one, and that he arranged for tea and coffee to be served to us to warm us up, since by then we were as wet as the pond we were excavating! In order to be allowed in the toilet the maid, with a horrified face requested us that we took off our boots and waterproof gear as we are too dirty to be allowed in even if only for the toilet!! So there we go in the toilet shoeless ( they were spotless)! Though we get rewarded by been offered proper coffee and tea in one of the tea room of the house, all accompanied by the most beautiful and tasty biscuits ever! As we are terrorised to dirt or stain of mud the sitting we just all stand around (still shoeless) with our warm tea and lovely biscuits in the hand, and marvel at the fact that they gave real delicate china tea cups and real silver spoons!!
The rain eventually stopped and we got back to the real world of archaeology, muddy boots and all. After few hours we pack our tools and head back toward our little inn in what it use to be the first Saxon town ( or so the sign at the town entrance says) we time travel again for 1 and half our through the 4 seasons and eventually arrive to the inn, quick shower , something to eat in the little pub down the road and then finally to bad to prepare for another day of archaeology and hopefully more silver spoons and lovely tea cakes!!
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