Jess is studying for an MSc in Archaeological Science at Bradford university, having completed a BA in History and Philosophy at Hertfordshire University.
Your first degree was in History and Philosophy – how did you get into Archaeology?
Jess: I’ve always been interested in Archaeology. My granddad had lots of old books and artifacts in his filing cabinet, and he used to teach me about archaeology. I finally decided to turn this interest into a career because of my friend who was doing a PhD in archaeology. I used to go round to her house, and she’d have sheep skulls and things all over her kitchen. I was constantly asking ‘what’s that? What’s this?’, and eventually she just said, ‘do a masters Jess and find out!’.
This is your first archaeological dig – how have you found it? Was it what you expected?
Jess: Yes, it was just as I expected it. It’s been physically demanding but that’s a good thing. As a scientist who normally just sees the shiny end product of archaeology in the lab it was good to experience the whole process that goes into it – it’s definitely made me appreciate the shiny end product more!
What has been the best moment of the dig for you so far?
Definitely digging up the bone handle from the long gallery. That was my first ‘real’ archaeology moment – it made the dig feel real. Going from a subject like history to one like archaeology, it’s nice to be able to hold a tangible object from the past. There’s less bias involved in archaeology than in history – obviously there’s always bias in the interpretation, but in archaeology you’re making the interpretation almost entirely from primary sources, which actually brings you closer to the past.
What were you most apprehensive about coming to your first excavation?
I was most dreading the drawing because I’m not very arty normally, but I’ve actually really enjoyed it. It just shows that you should always try things.
Finally, have you got a tip for aspiring archaeologists who are wondering about getting into the field, and maybe, like yourself, had originally studied a different subject?
If you want to do it, you’ll find a way. Speak to people, because it can be difficult to get into it, and get lots of experience!
Today also saw the return of Lauren, who taught students about levelling:
Another test pit was also dug by Simon, Lily and Kate, in preparation for Sunday's open day:
|Tamsin taking a reading ...|
|... from a patiently waiting Kat.|
|The panoramic view|
|The first-person view|
|Turf being carefully removed from the test pit so that it can be re-laid after backfilling|
And Charlie's team continued to draw the ruined structure: