Digging Into the Past

A few hours ago Ed came back from his archaeological dig. It was only in Sedgeford, a measly fifteen minutes away by car but I was still not able to see him for a week, which felt weird, considering I was still staying in his house, with his family.

Sedgeford offers a ‘BERT’ course for archaeological beginners to gain the Basic Excavation and Recording Techniques, for a week, which is what Ed was doing there this week, but of course as part of the programme they also have to do presentations to the public on a Friday. Jem, Pookie and I decided to go and see. I personally was looking forward to seeing Sedgeford as I had dug there two years ago and was eager to see how it had progressed since my being there.

“We’ll leave at three o clock.” Jem said. But really what I learned is that when someone says a time they’ll leave at they really mean fifteen minutes later. The thing that stalled us was that Pookie had left her school bag at school and needed to go back and get it, which added ten minutes to the leaving time already. However. At quarter past three all the schools are done for the day and there’s an abundance of cars picking up kids and taking them places that we got stuck in traffic coming out of town. We decided it must be because the schools are done either for summer, or for the weekend that everyone is going off to the beach (doesn’t help that today was meant to be the hottest day). The traffic was so awful it was at a standstill so we didn’t even get out of town until twenty seven past three, just three minutes before the presentation started.

We were frantically trying to call and text Ed to say we were going to be late and to see if he could stall the presentation a little bit, alas no. The presentation has already started. Luckily, the traffic eased up considerably once we left the town and we were quick enough getting there, even if we were twenty minutes late. But it was fine. We made it JUST in time for the BERTs to speak. Ed was first.

The presentation was great. Though the funny thing is that Ed did just about the same thing I did. He dug a trench that was the shape of a quarter circle on the edge of the trench and found…….

nothing. Just a sliver of bone near the top.

Two years ago I also dug a quarter circle (I’m very sorry, my archaeological lingo is a bit rusty at the minute) on the edge of a trench and found nothing but a shard of bone. The only difference is that Ed didn’t lose his bone.

(On my behalf it was not MY fault I lost it. We were called to lunch just as I found it and I asked what I should do with it to which they told me to leave it on the bucket of a lid next to my trench as they couldn’t get a finds tray at that exact moment, and when I came back from lunch the lid, and the bone, was gone. It was fixed, however, because the supervisors told me to write on the context sheet that it went through to enviro because then there’s a scapegoat)

It’s funny though, that Ed and I are dating, and we have done our digs on the same weeks (or just about) that he is two years younger than me and is doing his dig in the same year of school as me and has ended up digging the exact same hole (sort of) and finding next to nothing. However, none of the other BERTs found anything either, unlike when I dug and the people next to me where uncovering cow skulls and bits of metal working.What was the conclusion about the area the BERTs were digging this year is that a lot of it is just natural features from the glacial period (approx 12,000 years ago) which, even though not as cool as a burial or anything is still exciting. Ed did theorise that, because a lot of the deposited rocks were iron rich thought that perhaps it was actually an iron deposit or somewhere in which iron would be dug up and worked which would explain, partly, why there is a settlement.

However, in the next trench (or context, as we like to call it) they found what looks like a house. There was a hearth with what could be a clay floor, some hook thing that they suspect is a door latch and post-holes. Empirical evidence that there is a house. However the coolest find was a piece of daub from a wattle and daub house which had an imprint of the woven wattle on one side and the hand-print of a seven year old[?] on the other. HOW COOL IS THAT! I can’t say it’s every day that mud used to build a house in the Anglo-Saxon period survives.

Of course, while I was there I wanted to find my hole and go through nostalgia, but I think I may have missed that part of the tour. Of course, just being there and seeing familiar people made me nostalgic over Sedgeford, and I think being there again made me realise exactly how much I miss being there and how much I miss digging, and now I am itching to join one again (if I can wrangle some money out of my family Ed and I were going to try and come back as volunteers some time this summer- *hinting towards mum*).

What’s more, is that Sedgeford are actually publishing a book about the archaeology there, called “Digging Sedgeford – A People’s Archaeology”, which is an editorial on the site, which reflects and input on all who have been associated with it, so you never know, you might be able to see my name somewhere, again, HOW COOL IS THAT! The book si being published on the 15th of August this year and will be available in bookshops as of that same date for £19.95 which really isn’t badly priced for an archaeology book. And you can also order it online. They, I believe, are currently doing a pre-publication offer to those who order before the publication date at just £15, and can be delivered outside of the UK too. I’m very sorry if this promotion has bugged you, but you see, Archaeology is a passion of mine and Sedgeford is a site that will remain dear to me for as long as I live, so I would like to share these things with you.

Afterwards we went home, and bought Ed back with us, who is now very happy to be back in a normal bed and have a good shower in a more private setting, and then we went to the beach for fish and chips and to make ourselves even more muddy, probably making this day perhaps one of the nicest I’ve had in a while.


You Can Stand Under My Umbrella…If I Had One.

A while back I managed to purchase a new umbrella, it was something I had been meaning to do since the start of the year and I finally did it, only for it to sit on my windowsill for days and days as it was too sunny here in Reading to even think about using an umbrella. But today I finally got to use it as it rained for an hour or so. This rain made me wary about tomorrow as I am in London for a concert and I don’t know if it’s indoors or outdoors, and if Reading is experiencing rain then perhaps London is too. So I went on a hunt to find some comfortable and waterproof shoes that I can walk around in without my feet hurting. 

The problem is that all of my shoes are mostly EITHER waterproof OR comfortable and also a lot of the time it’s neither so I felt like I needed these, in case the weather was crazy. 

In town I got a few compliments on my new umbrella, which made me happy. It was a cute umbrella featuring little white fluffy clouds and rainbow coloured rain-drops. It’s always nice to get a compliment anyway. It stopped raining at some point and I took my umbrella down and carried it in my hand as a bottle of body-wash took up the space in my bag (the Boots self check out machine didn’t have any carrier bags) 

This very same day I lost my new umbrella. I was carrying it around in my hand, so I don’t really know how it happened but I presume I must have left it in a shop. I would be comfortable with this theory, however I couldn’t remember what shop I had left it in, how long I had been without my snazzy umbrella, and I didn’t even remember putting it down. How could I not notice an umbrella leaving my hand!?!?!?! It’s a mystery to me. 

I admit I was a bit sad. It was a good umbrella, even if it did come from Sainsbury’s. I didn’t know whether to replace the umbrella or go looking for it in the shops I had visited. The problem was I had gone into a lot of shops, and I didn’t know how long I was without my umbrella. It could have been anywhere and the shops were shutting. So I decided to replace the umbrella. If it was my purse or my keys it would have been a different story, but an umbrella is replaceable. 

I went into Sainsbury’s. Found the same design and went to the checkout to buy it. The funny thing is when I scanned it the machine said it was £6 instead of £8 and looking at the machine dumbfounded (But the label says £8!) I saw that it was actually on sale. I laughed, it seemed as if the world had listened to me mourning the loss of my snazzy umbrella and decided to make it up to me, by giving me the spare money to go and get a chocolate bar. Yay! 

Who knows, perhaps one of the people who complimented me has found it in wherever I left it and decided that they wanted to keep my snazzy umbrella, to which I saw they can keep it, then we can go singin’ in the rain together. 

It’s funny how some things work.

Little May-time Showers

Bambi – Little April Showers

Theoretically I should love spring. I adore the ducklings, lambs and bunnies that are brand new into the world in spring, and daisies that are coming up around this time of year are my favourite flowers. I should love spring, but the weather sort of ruins it.
In spring the weather changes quicker than a teenager on a mood-swing. One day it is gloriously sunny and you have to wear shorts and sunglasses to stay cool. The next it’s raining all day and you find yourself digging your winter coat back out from your closet. This has been the case all week across Britain, as mum has been experiencing something similar back in Norfolk. I’m going to take up the stereotypical British stance and complain about the rain as if that will change it.

Yesterday it was sunny, the day before it was even sunnier and I got to walk around in dresses and shorts and feel like summer was figuratively just around the corner. Today Zeus, or God, or the weather fairies from the books I read as a kid decided that too much lovely weather was unfair and today has been nothing but rain and damp. Of course I don’t have an umbrella, since a strong gust of wind bent it to a 90 degree angle in January and I haven’t bought one since, so when it rains I have to put up with it, letting my hair get frizzier and frizzier by the second to the point where even my frizz-fighting shampoo doesn’t do the trick! Of course the university decides that they don’t sell umbrellas, but if you’re looking for a coaster or snowglobe then you’re in the perfect place, so if I did want to get an umbrella I would have to walk in the rain for forty minutes and get sodden. Of course I could take the bus, but that would be too sensible and then I’d have £2 less to spend on an umbrella.

It’s not just the frizz that’s the problems it’s finding the suitable clothes. The other day I looked out of my bedroom window and saw that the sun was radiating down on the planet in glorious rays of sunshine. There was no sign of clouds, and the skies were blue. Perfect! I thought I can wear my favourite velvet shoes with my new dress! Alas it was an unwise move. In my excitement over warm weather I went out in my shoes and everything was good. An hour later I was squelching my way back home through mud and puddles and my shoes were sopping wet. The clouds had descended and spat their water at me as if they had planned to make me cold, wet and sure I would catch the flu. This is one of the reasons that I want to get to Italy. It barely rains in Italy, and even if it does it’s too warm for it to matter.

The song in Bambi got it right (which is linked above). The weather changes rapidly in spring and it can be horrible and make us want to hide at home with our duvets and hot chocolate and wish that it would go away. What Bambi got wrong however, is that it never happens in April. This year it only rained once in April for me. Instead the little showers happen in May. Drip drip drop little MAY-TIME showers. I think Disney should re-release Bambi with this alteration.