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Archaeology and England
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mahart
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 5:44 pm    Post subject: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Hi Elizabeth,
Following on from Mike's History lesson. Check out this double grave cut.



An archaeological experience.
This picture taken 1997 of later grave being cut into an earlier burial, we uncovered at a multi period site in Poulton just outside Chester, England. Occupation ranged from prehistoric through Roman up to the Civil War. It is still ongoing.
Funny Elizabeth when you asked me regarding my job I’d realised I had not given it much thought on a personal level for sometime, don’t get me wrong I’m always having to talk about it because people are interested in it but for some reason I have detached myself from it in more recent times.
Anyway I started out specialising in Prehistoric archaeology but in truth I worked with later periods a whole lot more. I think the practice is very similar here as to USA but I think in the UK there is more professional paid archaeologists (but don’t quote me on this). In the USA I think a lot of excavation is university funded whereas here it is also part of the town planning process, which has been coined Rescue Archaeology. Basically if a development affects potential archaeology then the developer pays and they bring professional archaeologists to do it (sounds rosy but it is far from the truth, time is money etc).
Anyway I have worked in that process for years now. So the relaxed University pondering type dig went out the window for me many years ago.

What have I found of real interest? I’ve only ever worked in the UK and Ireland I once found a pair of 5th century Roman sandals, many Roman and a few Saxon and Norse coins. Jack of arms (think that’s what it’s called) from the civil war, a large 14th century elephant tusk form Chester (medieval fair). Naval cannon from an old church yard, Pottery galore from all ages, the list is endless. But a few years ago I ripped my knee (also specialised in the computer/digital side of Post Excavation) so stopped getting my hands dirty and ended up in the boring archaeological management side of things, in fact next week I’m to have my third operation on the same knee.
I’m holding out to one day dig in Italy but turned 40 in January and my body is paying me back for all the contact sports and outside work I did when I was younger so I’m starting to wander if it is just a pipe dream.

Anyway I really enjoyed Mike’s history lesson it did make me think of experiences in England but I have to tell you this I was brought as a catholic boy and studied evolution and managed to find a place for religion and the evolution theory in my head I kind of partitioned my mind bit like an hard drive (C & D). Don’t think I’m mad but there is truly some sort of magic here as well, not hocus pocus stuff but something real and old, down in the area of Stonehenge (I’m sure you have all heard of it) other places like Silbury hill and especially Avebury with its stone causeways and monoliths are all part of this prehistoric landscape. I have listened to some tourists say ‘Is that it’ when they look at Stonehenge but I feel sorry for them because they are not getting to see it in relation to the whole surrounding prehistoric landscape, it is truly incredible and Avebury well it gives you that feeling as if someone has just walked over your grave if you know what I mean. It took me back to my first confession I recited nine Hail Mary’s and 5 Our Father’s.
I will stop there because I’ll just go on an on, except to say if you ever come to England do the background reading to these places go and visit and then feel the magic.

I think I will finish this with saying what I like about archaeology similar to genealogy is it is more about understanding everyday events of ordinary people than that of kings and queens.

Mark

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BillieDeKid
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 6:59 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Mark -

Thank you so much for posting this. I find archaeology fascinating and I love history. I guess, as you say, you do this every day and don't give it a second thought - I think you're one of the luckiest people in the world to have a job like this. You're right, most of the digs in the USA are done by universities students of archaeology and the projects are usually government grants that the universities get.

I can't believe you found a pair of 5th century Roman sandals!!!! Everything else you listed is great too but the sandals......WOW! I was raised catholic also and studied evolution in school, I think all of us raised catholic did what you did (C & D drives).

I would love to visit England sometime. I have friends that were born, raised and still live there (met them while they were working in the states) that I'd like to visit (one Ilford in Essex and two others in London). There is so much history there and I think all of it sounds magical.

Don't give up your dream that one day you'll dig in Italy. You can still make it happen.

I love your closing - it's more about understanding everyday events of ordinary people rather than that of kings and queens - I think that sums it all up as to why we search.

Thanks so much for posting and if you have anymore photo's or stories please post back. I'd love to see a photo of the sandals or anything else you may have shot. The double grave photo is outstanding.

Thanks again and don't give up the dream.

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carnie
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 9:11 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Thanks Mark,
I too enjoyed reading about your occupation, if we don't learn from history then we are in big trouble. I was lucky when I joined the Army as an apprentice (Boys service) I was posted to Carlisle for three years at Hadrians Camp the CO at that time was interested in Roman archaeology and we uncovered some Roman settlement findings on the outskirts of the camp itself. I have also been lucky enough to walk on Hadrians wall, plus one of my favourite places to visit now is Beamish, I know it's recent history but a great place to visit on how we used to live.
Last year I did have a total knee replacement like Emmy, but I can honestly say it's been well worth it. Your photo's were of great interest the documents are akin to all of us searching family history.
Thanks for posting them.
Mike.
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Cathy
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PostPosted: Thu Mar 19, 2009 11:48 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Mark,
Thanks so much for posting this fascinating story. I don't watch much TV but I do watch the History Channel and my favorite shows are about Archealogy.

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nuccia
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 4:31 am    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Wow Mark! That is such an interesting profession. As for turning 40...most of us have already been there and totally understand what you mean! Keep us posted on the surgery.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 12:23 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Great Stuff mark! I teach a HIST 101 course from Prehistory to the Renaaissance, and i'm constantly urging my students to pay attention to the archaeology in order to grasp a better understanding of the ancients.

Maybe one day you can lead an excavation to one of the many prehistoric sites in Puglia! Perhaps, "il pulo" in Molfetta!! Don't worry about your knee, i have a little bit of experience and 'll help with the trenchwork.
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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:34 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

I'll volunteer too Mauro and Mark. I can handle a shovel and don't mind getting dirty. Just say the word.

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 6:58 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Uhmmm...I can come and take pictures ?????? Embarassed

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PostPosted: Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:45 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Come on along............this can be a themed dig.......................Gente "Digs" Archaeology. ha ha ha

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mahart
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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 5:19 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

I'm liking this Mauro,
I remember you said you dug in Rome, so yer let's get it on. We coufd get project funding from universities by taking students on, or go professional and becoeme a subsidory archaelogical unit to Gente. As anyone noticed the english spelling discrepencies, do we go with the UK way or the USA way, Do Canadian's spell arch{a}eology or archeology, finer details ha! can I get paid in US dollars as the UK pound is not worth the paper it's wrote at the minute. I'll settle for payment in Pinot Grigio or Sicilisn Chardonnay, and a bowl of olives please.

Picking up on what Mike said about being stationed on Hadrian's Wall. Has anyone heard about the Vindolanda letter's.. Tablet's discovered recording what life was like living at the wall, if not Google it and learn how Roman soldiers and auxileries lived stationed on the wall. I'm presuming that their will be stuff online not actually googled it myself but if so very interesting stuff.

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PostPosted: Sun Mar 22, 2009 11:20 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Mark,

I googled the Vindolanda letter's and have spent the last hour reading. I think I got in to the wrong business when I was young (should have been an archaeologist). Thanks for sharing.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 12:16 am    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Fascinating thread! As for the dig...I can be the water girl! lol Or would it be vino girl? I guess I'll have to buy a pair of shoes without heels!

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Carole
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 10:36 am    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

I have loved archaeology for many years,though have never taken an active part in any 'digs'.... now I wonder why I never did?

My own interest began when I was about 10 and I found a (very worn) muddy silver coin in our back garden. I washed it off and set about trying to find out what it was. It was wafer thin and clearly showed the date 1566. I discovered that is was an Elizabeth I silver sixpence and I still have it with various other coins I've collected over the years.

I was fortunate when I lived in England to live near to >Fishbourne Palace< the roman site discovered and excavated near Chichester in Sussex. Then later to live only 7 miles from Canterbury, with all that conjures up with history and archaeology, plus of course the murder of Thomas a Becket in the Cathedral itself.

A couple of books I have enjoyed reading several times, and I still have them, are by Edward Rutherford - one about the history, through the ages, of five families in the Salisbury/Stonehenge aerea. That is called 'Sarum' - the Roman name for Salisbury. The second follows, basically, the same timescale but is about the place we now know as London, but in ages past,was little more than a small ferry crossing. That is called London - The Novel and is very good. Both are written as novels but are based on the historical events of each area. I see they have them on Amazon and quite reasonable too.
>Sarum and London<

Of course I now live in the heart of the Alps and 'Otzi', the famous Man in the Ice was found not too far from where I now live >Otzi the Man in the Ice<
It makes me wonder what may lay (besides a load of granite) beneath my garden!

I wonder if you ever get to see a UK Channel 4 programme 'over there' called 'Time Team' - that is very good too... there may be some bits of that on You Tube - who knows.

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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 4:47 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

Carole

Thanks so much for the great links. I guess after my trip to Italy to visit family I'll be planning a trip to England. I really enjoy this!!

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Elizabeth
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PostPosted: Mon Mar 23, 2009 7:32 pm    Post subject: Re: Archaeology and England Reply with quote

I too have read both Sarum and London as my ancestors met and were married in Sussex. Rutherford can certainly weave an interesting story. We have always wanted to visit England, alas, I fear we've waited too long.

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