Ever wondered what sort of person becomes a ceramics specialist? Or why anyone would spend their life examining soil? Well, you’re in luck, because this week we’ve run out of finds to show off we’ll be starting a new series of posts introducing the various characters who make up our team!
It takes a diverse bunch of people to get an excavation of this scale operating smoothly, and everyone has their own story, so to get the ball rolling we’ll start with… Us! The shadowy internet trolls who operate this blog.
There are two of us who do most of the writing; Jess and Owen. We’re both professional archaeologists who spend most of our time down in the trenches (hence the sometimes sporadic posting), but who have found an excuse to occasionally emerge and sit in a heated office for a while.
Jess is a Site Supervisor; one of the most senior archaeologists on site (more about that role later). This is despite ours being only the third large scale MOLA site she’s worked on, but a Masters degree and eight years in professional archaeology have to count for something!
As a supervisor Jess is needed on site almost constantly to direct work, solve problems, and make sure everyone knows what they’re doing. Unfortunately this doesn’t leave much time for her to do any actual digging, so Jess has to be content with the buzz of watching someone else make a great discovery. Luckily, Jess also likes seeing other people get excited about the things we find, and working on the blog is a great way to make that happen!
Owen meanwhile is a run-of-the-mill trench monkey (more about what that means later), having spent just over a year in commercial archaeology, most of it with MOLA. He has plenty of time for digging and ample opportunities to make the next big discovery… although it hasn’t happened just yet.
Aside from the aforementioned heated office, working on the blog is great for Owen as it provides an opportunity to research into what we’re finding and really understand what the objects and structures can tell us. That, and it’s a great excuse to be nosy in the finds hut.
Neither of us have any experience or training for this part of the job, but (we hope) all you really need is the enthusiasm to want to learn more about what we’re finding, and an desire to get the public excited too.
We’ve both taken circuitous routes to get here; Jess’s Masters degree was in finds, but it wasn’t long before she realised that she preferred the thrill of discovery down in the mud pits. Owen specialised in Medieval Archaeology for his masters, and spent much of his life hating the Romans for pushing other time periods out of the limelight – oh how things have changed, and we now both think that this is the best site to be working on.
It also seems that we both got into archaeology the same way: watching too much Time Team (seriously)! Having both spent our childhoods trying to convince people that this is a proper job and not just something people do on TV, we found it isn’t always as good as it seemed. But whilst we may not always be digging in glorious summer sunshine, and we don’t get to leave after just three days, neither of us intend to pack it in just yet.