Dinosaurs, treasure and mummies

My name is Alice and I’m an archaeologist. I study a BSc in Archaeology at the University of Bradford and I’m currently working with North Lincolnshire council in the historic environment record, which is a database of reports, photographs and finds available to the public and professional archaeologists all in the North Lincolnshire County.

Unfortunately my placement hasn’t involved dinosaurs, treasure OR mummies but then again I’m not a palaeontologist or an Egyptologist. However, I have had some great times and nearly as many adventures as Indy.

I’ve been interested in archaeology longer than I can remember, so it has always been the perfect degree for me and the placement scheme offered by University of Bradford was a great way to get out into the field I love and improve my CV. Before coming to University I had a fair bit of experience with some aspects but wanted to expand in to areas I hadn’t explored.

First and second years were fantastic I learnt more and had more fun in those two years than I ever expected. Some modules were being moved around or replaced but the content was interesting, if a little challenging in places. One compulsory thing for all student archaeologists across the country is fieldwork; we have to do three weeks of excavation and Bradford offer a wide choice. I chose to spend three weeks in the Orkney Islands off the north coast of Scotland and it reminded me that even though I’d had excavation experience before, every site is different. While I enjoyed the learning process, I wasn’t sure this was what I wanted to go into.

farm overlooking sea.

This is the farmhouse where we lived whilst excavating in the Orkneys

My placement seems to have been different to others because I didn’t use any of the posts offered by the University or its partners, and will have worked in three very different areas. Firstly I went back up north to the Orkneys for four weeks and dug on a beach (not as fun as you would think, a week of shifting rocks and the novelty fades) on a site with archaeology at every turn, and I thought I was in my element.

Then, after two days of sleep, I started working for a freelance specialist in Roman pottery. I spent the time there working with finds from commercial projects analysing the pottery to see what type it is and where it was from. Here I had eight weeks of early starts, late finishes and more challenges than the Crystal Maze. I discovered it was the hardest and best thing I have ever done.


One of the beautiful pots that came through the pottery office on my second placement

Now I’ve slowed down and I’m working in a council office, having worked through all my assigned projects in half the time expected, I’m doing all the jobs nobody has gotten round to. I’m treated like a member of staff and doing projects that will benefit others and (hopefully) create an impressive range of skills I can use time and again.

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