Archaeology Exposed: For The RecordFebruary 8, 2012 Archaeology, Archaeology in Action, LAARC, LAARC VIP, Volunteers
Archaeology. What’s the first thing that comes to mind when someone says this word? Digging? Trenches? Objects? Well yes, all three of those are certainly an important part of archaeology. However, they’re not the most important bits by any means. So what is more important?
In particular the hundreds of pieces of paper that are used before, during and after an archaeological investigation. These pieces of paper could be the research that takes place before there’s even any sign of a trowel, or the sketch of the posthole that’s just been uncovered or the detailed analysis of the thousands of fragments of pottery that make up a section of the final publication. Without these pieces of paper, without these archaeological records, everything else becomes a bit redundant.
With this in mind, Archaeological Records was another fundamental aspect of our 10th Anniversary Celebrations that we definitely wanted to include in our 10th anniversary celebrations. Every Friday, you can see the original documents from 1975’s incredible excavations at Newgate Street. These include the original correspondence between the site directors and the Corporation of London; the original context sheets detailing aspects of particular features that were dug; original photographs from the site including some of the skeletal remains; x-rays showing hidden objects; the phenomenal stratigraphic matrix which shows how each part of the site relates to each other; the finds reports written by the specialists once the site was completed; and the final publications sharing the results with the world.
There’s also one other thing that was crucial to all of the above. The site director.
Like a conductor of an orchestra, the site director makes sure things run smoothly and gathers everything together to produce the final results. And the site director for the excavation we’re working on during our 10th birthday celebrations is none other than Alan Thompson. And as we’ve got the records for the site out on display every Friday, we’d thought we’d ask him to join us too. Back as a volunteer having retired 9 years ago, you can meet Alan and the records he helped create every Friday for the next 6 weeks in Archaeology in Action from 10.00 – 16.00.