Hi there. I’m Shelby Millard and you’ll see me around DigVentures for the next year. I’m currently studying archaeology at Bournemouth University and am here on a one-year placement to get some experience before the world of work swallows me up. In this day and age you need a job to get experience, but experience to get a job! It’s a bit of a vicious circle if you ask me.
Speaking of asking me, what do you want to know? Well, I cut my teeth (or should I say trowel?) on Durotriges Big Dig. I would have absolutely no fieldwork experience yet if it wasn’t for Bournemouth University, which is just one of two universities that provide a mandatory dig for students at the end of first year.
Durotriges is an eight-year project. As so often happens in archaeology, we found everything except what we were looking for! There was a post-Roman mausoleum, a Bronze Age depositional ditch and a sunken feature building (or SFB in archaeoslang), but evidence of the Iron Age peoples we were looking for? Nothing.
For most of the dig, we were under blinding sunshine and clear blue skies, which frankly lead to a lot of migraines and a lot of sunburn (my tan has only just gone!). In fact, we were only rained off for one afternoon.
When it comes to what I like, I’m a sucker for ceramics. Luckily, we had loads of Black Burnished Ware (BBW) come up at Durotriges which kept me happy – some bits were almost top to base and quite large in size. Some terra nigra also popped up. Granted, it was the only bit we found but at least it was something different to the BBW.
As for DigVentures, they’re a company that I was interested in working for because they do things a bit differently. Archaeology and archaeological projects are not a static process; each needs a different approach. Leiston Abbey is going to be incredibly fun, but challenging as well. I’ve never camped for as long as I will be doing for this project!
While I’m here, I’ll be writing reports, blogging about our discoveries, and helping everyone who comes to dig with us to settle in. I may be wearing bright pink trousers and a leopard print sunhat, but don’t be afraid to say hello – if you need me on site, at least you know I’ll be easy to find!
Keep up to date with Shelby’s adventures and follow her @IamShelbzM!
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