A Career in Ruins?

I’ve reached the end of my current contract- a ten week stint, my first job since Christmas and I don’t really know where the next job is coming from. (Yay!)

I generally work in commercial archaeology and work does flux. For the uninitiated when an area is up for development for building houses/offices or roads/rail there’s an assessment of its archaeological potential. My line of work comes in towards the end of a complex process:

Say Company A wants to build some new houses the go to unit 1 for an initial assessment of what might be there, this may lead to them asking unit 2 how much trial digging (if any), passing the trial digging onto unit 3, passing coming up with the report for this to unit 4. Assessment of costs for open areas may be passed to unit 5. The open area excavation may go to unit 6 and the report write up to unit 6 or something like that. (You won’t always get so many changes of unit but with so many units trying to undercut each other for the money it can.)

So, when it’s been decided that the best way to explore and document what’s there is to dig. This can be either trial pit/trenches or larger scale open area excavations (a large area is stripped by a digger). This is naturally developer led so no new development = no jobs.

There are of course research projects but once again funding and therefore work is limited. My current project was research into the archaeological potential of Wiltshire. Apparently there’s been very little development in this county and so English Heritage decided to take a look. I’ve been advised that I shouldn’t actually blog/ Facebook/ Tweet about the project as English Heritage has a carefully crafted public image. But I’ve seen other blogs on here about it (even from my supervisor!) and have taken this a guide as what is allowable.


This was part of the National Archaeological Identification Survey (NAIS) and one of the aims was to see how reliable aerial and geophysical survey can be. The results will be published in time but it raises the question as to if we’re trying to use passive methods more and more as 1. We might not get research funds to actually look at it. 2. Developers may never go into these areas (or if they do there will be limits on what we can do).

As for the day I was sieving and sorting through samples- apparently a thankless task according to one person who passed by (for the record we were thanked by the environmental and finds supervisor).


We went on a tour of the newly trimmed Fort Cumberland…


And the new luxury staff toilets.


And on that delightful note I hope that you all had a good day.