Returning back to fold, Joan Sutherland tells us why she’s re-joining the team again at Leiston Abbey this year.
‘I took my first tentative steps into practical archaeology in 2012 when I joined DigVentures for their first dig at Flag Fen for two days, the result of a birthday present from my family. Despite the rain and having a tiny tent, which I could hardly sit up in, I was hooked. I had an amazing time. The DigVentures crew and my fellow diggers were so welcoming that I immediately felt part of the team and almost like a real archaeologist, even if only for such a short time.
In 2013, armed with a bigger tent and a luxury-sleeping mat, I signed up for a week at Leiston Abbey with DigVentures. What a fantastic and truly magical week that was. Fantastic weather, wonderful food, great company, as well as plenty of archaeology. I was having such a great time that I ended up staying for the 2nd week, as I couldn’t bear not to know what was happening in the trenches or miss the end-of-site party! I learnt so much about archaeology – planning, sectioning, processing finds and not forgetting, the all-important troweling. The staff were endlessly patient and so keen for us to learn to do things properly. I met some amazing people and made some good friends from far and wide, and I came home even more determined to learn more. I joined a local archaeological group and have been digging test pits in a nearby village, and I also spent a week in September on a dig in York.
I’m really looking forward to going back to Leiston in 2014, meeting up with the DV crew and old and new fellow diggers, learning even more about what a real excavation is all about, uncovering more of the history of the Abbey and, of course, having a great time.’
Fab stuff Joan – see you in sunny Suffolk!
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