You dig okay, Ponyboy

#57. Do an archaeological dig.

Today is the last day of my two week archaeological dig at Vindolanda, a Roman fort near Hadrian’s Wall.

Since I’m doing my MA in Greek and Roman Archaeology and all, I thought it would be a good idea to finally put my trowel where my mouth is. To get my hands dirty, literally. Though, apparently this is not a prerequisite to being an archaeologist as there are many who never do any digging at all and sit around talking about archaeological theory (the bane of my existence last semester.)

The first week I loved it. It was incredibly painful for the first two days. I didn’t know I even had some of the muscles that were hurting the next day! But once that passed, I was so excited to get back in the dirt and start finding things. Walls, nails, tons of pot sherds.

I’m glad I did two weeks. Last week, I was on a physical activity high and decided that I could actually do archaeology as a job. This week, I’m exhausted and I’ve realized that even though I do enjoy it, it will have to be an occasional thing for me because it’s just too tiring for an everyday job.

I had a really good time, though, overall. The people on the dig were great. The volunteers are all ages, from all sorts of places and have all different levels of experience. It would have been a really long two weeks if it weren’t for my trench buddies.

The highlight of my dig? On Tuesday I found a bronze (or copper-alloy!) Roman door knob! It was the only thing I found to get its own small finds bag.

And now… if I never touch another wheelbarrow in my life, I (and my poor wrists) will be very happy.

Wishing I was a hotter archaeologist, like Lara Croft.

Number 57 is the newest addition to my list, because I found out last year that I’d miscounted and forgotten it! So I got to add something a little more related to what I was going to do with my life.


  • By Eleni, April 15, 2010 @ 8:50 pm

    Cool! Any idea as to how old the door knob is?

  • By Hezabelle, April 15, 2010 @ 8:51 pm

    The excavation director said probably 3rd century AD!

  • By Faebala, April 15, 2010 @ 10:33 pm

    Ooo AWESOME! That’s so cool you found something!

  • By Wangari M., April 16, 2010 @ 4:35 pm

    This sounds amazing. going on a dig is something I always wanted to try. Did all the volunteers have your background?

    ps. thanks for your lovely comments on my blog :)

  • By Hezabelle, April 16, 2010 @ 4:42 pm

    There were some other students like me, some people who had never studied archaeology but had been digging there for years and some who even had PhDs in archaeology!

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