This is Nicolle Grieve, 20, Cardiff University 3rd year student studying BA joint honours Ancient History and Archaeology.
Although I had originally entered university to study single honours Ancient History, the archaeology modules provided an opportunity to study the ancient Egyptians and a chance to get physically involved in the process of excavation.
Last year I took part in an excavation of a Neolithic site at Brodsworth. It was a brilliant experience and, although the work was hard and the thought of living in a tent for a month wasn’t appealing, I found I really enjoyed my time on excavation. I returned healthy (very tanned), I met a lot of great people and the Wednesday night BBQ was always something to look forward to.
This year however, I wanted to experience the other side of excavation, the post-excavation work. At Cardiff University we are looking at what happens with the material found after excavations. As a group of six students we have looked at material found at Cosmeston. We have been sorting and marking the pottery found in each context. Each sherd of pottery is marked with the site code and context number (where it was found), so if lost or misplaced it can be reconnected with the area from which it was discovered.
My main job though has been writing up the Cosmeston context sheets, and following this, scanning in the photographs taken during work in the 1980s to cross reference them with the catalogue to build a digital archive. This is very important because post excavation is about organising and ensuring the material and information is preserved. With the completed digital archive it not only makes the work of archaeologists studying the finds of the 1980’s easier but it allows us as archaeologists to find patterns within similar sites and find links in which we can form theories. The overall process of post excavation is the most time consuming part of archaeology but the final stage, cataloguing the information ready for publication, is in some ways, the most rewarding part in my opinion.