dinsdag 12 april 2011

The archaeologist´s blues

A week´s work in trench F
You think archaeology is about exotic places and sensational discoveries? Well, sometimes it is. But it is also about working from early morning to late at night, living with colleagues 24 hours a day, being far away from friends and family and trying to adapt to local food; all of it in the name of science. Most of the time, we do it with joy. Except when, instead of sensational discoveries, nothing is happening at all. 
Looking at an empty trench for days, the archaeologist gets the blues. And this is just what happened to us last week. Everyone has its way of dealing with it: bath for Annika, massage for Johannes, long talks for Kilian and Patrick. In these moments, anything is good to take. The discovery of a modern nail becomes a moment of intense satisfaction, something that breaks the day´s monotony.  The nail is then numbered and classified as the most precious object.
Johannes in his empty trench
In the evening, though, we have time – at last – to fill all those forms we are asked to fill by Dominik. Office work takes a more and more important place during excavation.  Besides making photos, drawings, plans and sections, we also have to fill in locus sheets (for every archaeological layer), ceramic collection labels, small find labels, lists of finds, locus lists, sample sheets, field diaries, ceramic description sheets  and, of course, to enter everything in the database. Although this might not seem exciting, documenting the excavation as precisely as we can is a necessity. As any first year archaeology student learns it: excavating is destroying; hence the importance of documentation.   Let´s just hope we´ll soon have something else to document than modern nails.

Break time in trench F

Annika at the spring

In helps Johannes to relax
Working at home in the evening