Graduated with an MA in Archaeology from Sheffield in 2006, then worked for Wessex Archaeology for a couple of months. In 2007 I moved to Hungary, where I worked in rescue Archaeology for another year. Started a PhD in 2008 at Budapest. In addition I am also a trainee in the Hungarian National Museum, Department of Archaeology.

Digging a Tell

On the 29th of June I was digging in Százhalombatta (Hungary) in the middle of a Bronze Age tell, where there has been continuous habitation from c. 2200 BC to c. 1800 BC (Nagyrév and Vatya cultures) and a 4.5 m deep stratigraphy was formed.

It is a training and research dig and although I am a Roman specialist, the site director invited me, together with other more experienced diggers, to take part in the season.

So what was my day like? I have spent my day in the 20 x 20 m trench and delicately excavated and recorded a 1 x 1 m grid inside a Bronze Age house. I have only removed a couple of cm, but in a tell like that, this is a usual amount of work you can do within one working day.  Also there was a lot of sampling, and we sieve every bucket, we are even collecting every pebble!

The dig will run till the end of July, and you can find out more information here.

A Trainee’s Day in the Museum and After

Today I have spent my day in the Archives of the museum. We have been working on a catalogue of objects with enameled decoration for months. So far I have managed to collect every objects from the storage racks (that was actually quite a long process, had to check about 30 000 objects and pick up all with enameled decoration) and photograph them.

Most of them have been drawn, but today’s job was to draw the rest of. I have nearly finished, about 10 pieces left for Monday. The  job is basically to make a section drawing of the pieces (mostly brooches) in 1:1. Since the artifacts are usually 2-3 mm wide and about 30 mm long, it is quite a delicate job to do, but sometimes the results are rewarding.

However, this is not the end. The raw photos and drawings need to loaded into the Photoshop (the drawings are scanned) and has to be edited. The frontal photos will be put next to the back side photos and the drawings. Basically this is what I will do tonight. Later I need to correct the drawings as well with Photoshop but that’s the job for next week in the  museum, because I need to see the objects for that.

So that’s about the museum day. But since I am also a PhD student I have other things to do in Archaeology today. I am over the halfway in the dissertation (but at the very end of the stipend period…) so tonight I’ll also do some reading and writing. Anyone interested about Late Antique mausolea in Pannonia and Dalmatia? Well, you need to wait a little bit, but soon you can gain some information from my thesis (hopefully…). Going back to the practical side, thesis writing is not just reading and writing, but lots of drawings, as well. I have some drawings in various quality, size and angle and I have to make them look right and also bring them on the same scale. So since I don’t have Corel Draw I also use the Photoshop here, which actually helps a lot.

So what is the conclusion? The most important tool of an Archaeologist is the Photoshop…

Zsolt Magyar