For some reason yesterday I decided to look for my trowel. Said tool brought in late ’80’s (I think) and lovingly worn mostly from finding Romans on York’s waterfront (Yorkshire, UK). Last seen in the dining room, last used on a rather nice medieval moated site in Cheshire in 2013. Failed to find it for a day I spent helping/ hindering (your choice) on a community archaeology excavation in Edinburgh in June. So why do I want it now? Well I don’t need it but because I can’t find it then this takes on a whole new urgency. For years it sat lovingly on my work desk alongside a leaf (plasterers/ archaeologists tool for the uninitiated & rarely used) to remind me that 1) I used to use it all the time, 2) it was always there to help on community excavations (or days I took off to keep my ‘hand in’) as a local government archaeological officer 3) more recently to remind me that I know I can still use it!
I have temporarily given up looking for the hallowed old trowel now. Today I have been following up some contacts from a flurry of networking during Liverpool’s International Festival of Business (IFB) 2014 – a splendid opportunity. I’m a freelancing archaeological consultant providing archaeological planning advisory services to the development sector. Sometimes this feels like being ‘Daniel in the Lions den’ but like troweling skills – this takes practice and a bit of persistent enthusiasm. ‘Hello my name is …. and I’m an Archaeologist’ is usually cause for excitement or bafflement, or fear – but at least its going to get some reaction. At one recent networking event a property consultant delighted in telling me that he’d advised a builder in the 1970’s to concrete over some burials to hide them and not tell anyone. He was somewhat surprised to hear that he could have done worse.
I have learnt much from the IFB and picked up new language being thrown about the place ‘green infrastructure’ (Ok, we know this is landscaping/ natural environment, ‘blue infrastructure’ ( this is wet stuff/ water bodies) and ‘grey infrastructure’ ( actual buildings). What’s been interesting is to go to events where the ‘green and ‘blue’ are recognised as important economic opportunities as well as creation of a better environment.
Now where’s my trowel?