Sediment. Rocks. Sediment. Rocks. Etc etc

Dave's trench at PellaWednesday

Opposite: David Thomas’s trench at Pella, Jordan, with several pits. Photo taken during the 2009 season

31 July. Continued lowering the level of the probe by 10am. Big pick, small pick, an occasional stress attack that I was undercutting the correct level. Checking the sift ratio (every 15th, 20th or 25th bucket of dirt, depending on the square, is sifted for pottery). True to my Pella form, I’m continually confusing rocks for pottery. ‘Is this pottery?’ ‘No, it’s a rock.’ Imagine that repeated about 90 times throughout the day and you’ve pretty well got the picture.

Thursday 1 August. Moving to a new square and I’m excavating a pit. Pits are the bane of archaeologists’ lives. They are random holes dug in to stratigraphy by Bronze or Iron Age troublemakers who simply WEREN’T thinking about future volunteers on archaeological sites who have to scoop out every last grain of dirt from them to that you know what’s the pit and what’s not the pit.

You can get a good idea in the photo above of how pits look in a square/trench when fully excavated by a conscientious volunteer (Pella, Jordan, January 2009). (long melodramatic sigh)

It’s 5.30pm on a 37 degree day. You’re hot. You’re tired. You’re working hard. And all you want is angels to carry you away to an air conditioned mansion and serve you up iced sherbert and wipe your brow.

And then you hear the best, and I mean the best thing in the whole world.

The tinkling sound of ‘Yankee Doodle Dandy’ through a terrible sound system.


I had heard of his existence but he hadn’t been sighted for a while. Rumours were sweeping the dig that as a result of a disagreement, the Dig Director had scared him away. But no, mercifully no, he hadn’t abandoned us – it was just that his refrigeration equipment needed repairing…

Fifteen dehydrated archaeologists pushed and elbowed each other out of the way to get to the van. And man, that ice-cream was the BEST I have ever tasted, I hoovered it up in record time.


~ by margoforte12 on August 3, 2013.

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