In Need of a Time-Turner (Teaching Osteoarchaeology)

For what seems like an eternity, I have spent the majority of my time behind a desk for archaeology (ha, it’s actually only been two and a bit years). It’s brilliant stuff, don’t get me wrong. I love my PhD (really, I do). I basically get to play the Sims all day… but with medieval plague victims. However, four weeks ago I took temporary leave from my PhD studies (*gasp*) in order to take on a contract as the osteoarchaeologist at the Poulton Research Project field school for the summer. And I LOVE being back in the field. The following is what I did today, on Friday the 11th of July, 2014… the Day of Archaeology.

#dayofarch (I made a HASHTAG using our site photo board - be impressed.)

#dayofarch (I made a HASHTAG using our site photo board – be impressed.)

I woke up one minute before my alarm this morning: 06:44. It’s actually not that early a start for fieldwork – although it was a bit of a shock to the system after my somewhat relaxed PhD schedule. Before I leave the house at about 08:00 there are a number of things I have to get ready, which mostly include eating a decent breakfast, making sure my lunch is packed, that I have plenty of water, that I’ve applied the first lot of sunscreen, and most importantly that I’ve fed my bunnies. Oh… and that I’ve checked the traffic.

The site that I’m working on this summer is about 35 miles (that’s about 55km) from my house, so if I set off about 08:00 I usually get there about 08:50 or 09:00 depending on the traffic. I don’t actually mind the drive. I listen to the radio and attempt to sing along to songs that I don’t really know (but I probably will before the next eight weeks are up, since they play the same ones every day).

On arriving at site I have to go through our security gate off the main lane (I’m on good terms with the security folk by this point – they even comment on what’s on the radio some days when I buzz through), down another long lane that is absolute torture for the poor little Fiat 500 that I drive (not the car that most screams ARCHAEOLOGIST, but hey), past the cows, the crows, and the corn. From there, in order to get to our site you have to drive along a WWII RAF bomber track (which is the centre of many an archaeological discussion on site, as I’m sure you can imagine) and park up outside the cabins.