Typically English Heritage have sent back the data search by the afternoon which means I can then be entering the data into a known archaeology. This is the first step in being able to prepare figures which will accompany reports. Depending how much data is sent back this can be quite an enjoyable task (other not so much which there are 100s of pages of data although this is very rare!) as it beings to give me a snapshot about the archaeology of the site I’m working on.
The rest of my afternoon is spent much like my morning; researching sites and collecting more information. In most instances I undertake a local archive and library visit in order to supplement my research of the site. Organising these visits can take some time as some archives require appointments to be made in advance or are only open at certain times. Having some volunteering experience cataloguing archives I actually quite enjoy trawling through the relevant archive catalogue picking out items which would be useful to my research. Such items can include OS maps, Enclosure and Tithe Maps, old estate plans and anything that might be relevant to the history of the site.
Although what I’ve told you about so far is a typical day, doesn’t mean every day of the week is always like this. I can also spend my time reviewing drawings or maps of archaeological data, looking at aerial photographs or helping in the writing of Written Schemes of Investigation (WSI).
Granted, my Day of Archaeology so far has actually sounded a lot like the typical day in the life of a historian but all of this research will eventually filter down in a desk-based assessment or chapter in an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA). Both reports use the information collated to assess the potential for unrecorded archaeological remains and suggest any mitigation measures for archaeology which may be present within the site boundary. Such is the life of an archaeological consultant, whether this is at AECOM or any other consultancy.
Finally, my day ends with a frantic tidy up of my desk. I’m one of these super organised people who cannot stand to leave my desk in an utter chaos even though it gradually descends to such states throughout the day! A quick final check that I haven’t missed a vital email and then I’m on my way home!