Sunday, July 09, 2006

It's off to work we go

One reader of this blog (yes, it does have readers other than yourself) commented that there seem to be a lot of people watching while one person or less is actually working. Let's nail this rumour that we are idling about.

First, although the professional archaeologists are often observing rather than digging, this is some of what they are supposed to do:
  • ensure that we are working safely, not stabbing each other with trowels, falling into trenches full of water or puncturing gas mains
  • keeping the work scientifically accurate, for instance making sure earth, and therefore finds are not falling from modern layers to mediaeval layers, thereby losing the proof that it is a mediaeval layer.
  • working out what to do next based on what the features might represent, and what we might find by digging out another layer in this particular corner.
As for the volunteers, they are not working because
  • they are learning how to do something
  • they are listening to the archaeologists debating a hot concern about dating or identifying gatehouses from cesspits
  • they are tired from this unfamiliar manual work
  • no one is paying us, we'll stop when we damn well like!

This particular group were watching one volunteer work because they were posing for a photograph, which is another frequent occurrence.

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