On Thu, 8 May 2003 10:08:45 +0200, Paul Barford <[log in to unmask]>
Am I alone in having committed such a heinous
>archaeological crime in my youthful innocence and enthusiasm?
Damn, got me, I'm as guilty as sin on that one, and the additional sin of
pestering site directors to let me on 'just for a quick go' and when that
failed getting my parents to pester for me.
>I suggest that the main reason most of the people who registered for the TT
>'big dig' did so was a desire to learn "how to do it properly" and I expect
>some of them will understand the reasons why they could not take part and
>accept it with good grace. Others will try to do something by themselves,
>but then, the main harm done will probably not be to the archaeology in
>hundreds of suburban back yards but the wasted opportunities of hundreds of
>people who wanted to use this scheme as a way to learn more about this
>fascinating subject called "archaeology" in a practical 'hands on' way but
>were prevented from doing so.
Your're almost certainly right about the lack of damage to sites and the
disappointment of those turned down; but I know of at least one important
multi-period site local to me which is situated in the middle of a small
housing estate. Test-pits (and excavation in the gardens of some) have
shown that c. 0.2 m of relatively undisturbed stratigraphy survive in the
gardens, very rare on an (ex)rural site up here. The site's not scheduled
and there's nothing to stop anyone interested having ago themselves in teh
remaining gardens. Doubtless numerous washing lines, roses etc. have been
planted in it over the years, but I don't see the sense in us encouraging
additional disturbance to sites like this, particularly when we're so keen
to stop metal detectorists digging unsupervised holes.
>I think however its worth noting that there were enough archaeologists who
>DID volunteer their services over this weekend to visit at least twice (it
>says on the website) some 1000 test pits all over the country. That is
>encouraging, and let us hope that this fact is noted by those who
>but were ultimately disappointed, lest thy form a false impression of our
>discipline and its attitudes to contact and interaction with the wider
I don't think anyone's suggested contact and interaction with the public is
a bad thing, just that this isn't perhaps the best way to go about it.
>By the way, we do not know that "10 000" people actually did register in
>the first place (which is the origin of the "9000 holes" idea). Does anyone
>have the figures?
Don't know, but I'd like to see them too.