As a student of Archaeology currently at Bournemouth University, I thought I had a fair idea of what being an archaeologist involved – or I thought. Even from two years of education in this field from lecture halls to fieldwork experience this had not truly prepared me for the world of working. When people think of archaeologists they generally think along the lines of Time Team or digging dinosaurs (grh!). They don’t tend to think of all the behind scenes and day to day life of an archaeologist which I am still learning about. Since starting my placement year at Oxford Archaeology East two weeks ago I have only just dipped my toe into what it means to be an archaeologist.
If people do have an idea of what an archaeologist does its usually based around digging and I’m not going to lie that is a fun but tiring (and in this country likely wet!) part of the job. Whilst based here, I have had a good mixture of field and office-based work revolving around a small excavation in Fulbourn. From week one, I was involved in the excavation side; digging, section drawing, context sheets and photography, but from week two I got my first proper glimpse into the report writing side which previously had been nothing more than ‘a report will be written’ as if it’s as simple as that!
I have been involved in; inputting the field data (from context sheets) into a database for further analysis, creating queries that have been exported into useful tables. The last couple of days, I have been using site plans and the queries created to write an early draft about the features found on site (explaining what we found and how it relates to the rest of the site!)
There many other sides of this job which I have yet to explore such as finds, environmental, geomatics, outreach, graphics and archives. There really is something here for everyone in the world of Archaeology. From exciting research digs and interesting lectures to commercial digs and extensive post-excavation work.
Meghan French is a placement student from Bournemouth University currently based at Oxford Archaeology East’s office in Cambridge. For more information about Oxford Archaeology‘s volunteering and training opportunities, visit our website here: https://oxfordarchaeology.com/community-training/volunteeringhttps://oxfordarchaeology.com/