In response to COVID-19, we’ve put loads of Safe Dig policies in place, which are carefully designed to keep you, our staff, and the local communities we work with, safe and healthy.
All of us here at DigVentures are really looking forward to getting back outdoors, doing some fantastic archaeology, and making loads of exciting discoveries together in 2021 – safely.
We’ve officially been certified Good To Go by Visit England and partners, and our digs are categorised as an ‘educational, community or team activity which has been organised in such a way as to minimise the risk of anyone contracting or spreading COVID-19’.
While news of a vaccine gives us hope that we will be back to normal in the not-too-distant future, we know that we still need to be extra vigilant while we wait for it to be rolled out. We remain totally committed to protecting everyone who joins us on site.
Please make sure you read the following information carefully; by choosing to join our Dig or Finds Team, you are agreeing to abide by our Safe Dig measures, so here’s what you need to know, do, and bring:
We are adapting many of our on-site practices and programming based on social distancing, cleaning and sanitisation best practice.
We have also introduced Safe Dig rules, which are more rigorous than those you might observe in other outdoor public places, but with good reason; they are based on very careful consideration of the specific kinds of activities that take place on archaeological sites, and the amount of time we will all be spending together as a team.
Everyone on site is expected to:
- maintain social distancing (2m+)
- wear gloves and facemasks at all times within our excavation areas and in the Finds Room
- make sure any shared tools, surfaces, or equipment are sanitised before and after use
In addition, we are also:
- reducing the total number of people on site at any one time
- assigning everyone their own personal, pre-sanitised Dig Kit
- implementing one way systems around the excavation areas and in the Finds Room
- assigning everyone to a ‘Dig Pod’ to break things down into smaller groups and minimise the number of different people you work with
- ensuring we have contingencies in place should anyone not feel well or notice signs of illness
- updating our bookings policies (see below)
- staying informed about COVID-19 risk levels in the areas we’re working in, and any local government guidance
- training our staff to ensure we all know how to take good care of our Venturers and respond to any COVID-19 issues
- adapting some of our programming (e.g., shorter experiences and smaller groups for DigCamp)
Staying safe is a team effort! As a member of our team, please make sure you bring all the essential items on the Safe Dig kit list, and read the Safe Dig rules that we expect you to follow very carefully.
By joining our Dig Team or Finds Team on site, you agree to:
- Bring all the items included on our essential Safe Dig kit list, especially a facemask
You will not be allowed to enter the excavation or finds area if you are not wearing a facemask
- Wear your facemask at all times when you are within the excavation or finds area (even when more than 2m away from others)
This includes while excavating in the trenches, or taking part in any other group archaeological activity, like surveying, sieving, recording, or cleaning finds. Think of it like wearing pants – don’t take them off in public!
- Wear your gloves when using any shared DigVentures equipment, or handling artefacts
- Stay at least 2m away from others wherever possible
You can form a Dig Bubble with friends or family members that you are travelling or sharing accommodation with. Outside of that, we will always try position you 2m apart from the nearest person. However the nature of archaeology means that there is a lot of movement within the trenches, so please help us by staying alert to where you are in relation to others
- Minimise your contact with / exposure to others whenever it is not possible to stay 2m apart
This might include specific instances like handing over finds for examination, or receiving instruction on how to excavate a specific feature
- Do not share your personal dig or finds kit items with others as far as possible
You will be given your own dig kit or cleaning kit to keep for your personal use during the day. Or you can bring your own (see the Safe Dig kit list).
- Sanitise all surfaces and shared DigVentures equipment before and after use, especially before passing to anyone else
This includes mattocks, spades, shovels, wheelbarrows, pens, drawing boards, cameras, tables, finds team chairs etc.
- Sanitise your hands when entering or leaving the trench
Remember to sanitise your hands regularly!
- Abide by any additional Safe Dig measures given when you arrive on site
This list is not exhaustive, but a summary of the main things you’ll need to do
When filming or taking photos, you agree to:
- Maintain social distancing
As tempting as it is to try and get a close-up, or bunch together for group photos, cameras do not grant you temporary immunity 😉
- Check your images for any breaches before posting publicly on social media
We would prefer to personally remind anyone involved on site, rather than have you, or anyone else pictured, face a social media backlash
If you are travelling from overseas, you agree to:
- Check whether you need to self-isolate on arrival in the UK
If you do, please make sure you have self-isolated for the required period before arriving on site to join our team
Please remember that although our Safe Dig measures are more rigorous than in other outdoor public places, they are based on very careful consideration of the specific kinds of activities that take place on archaeological sites, the amount of time we will all be spending together, and respect for our team and everyone who is joining us on site.
And finally, repeat after me… FACEMASKS ARE LIKE PANTS – DON’T TAKE THEM OFF IN PUBLIC!
These are items which you won’t be able to take part without
😷 Facemask and visor (you may find one or the other more comfortable or appropriate in different situations e.g., a facemask may be better when it’s windy, but a visor may be better if you’re using a mattock. Therefore it is adviseable to bring both, but if you can only bring one, bring a facemask)
🧼 Personal supply of hand sanitiser, tissues / paper towels
🧤 Work gloves, like Polyco Matrix P Grip Glove (if you’re on the Dig Team)
🧤 Disposable gloves (if you’re on the Finds Team)
🥾 Sturdy boots (like hiking boots, or Dr Martens)
👕 Clothes that you don’t might getting dirty
☔ Waterproofs and weather appropriate clothing
☀️ Sunhat and sunscreen
💧 Drinking water
These are ‘comfort’ items that we cannot provide for you this year, but which you might want to bring
🥪 Lunch and plenty of snacks (most of our sites are local to plenty of cafes, but queueing times may be longer than usual and we cannot guarantee that they will be operating as normal)
☕ Any soft or hot drinks, including your own mug, spoon, and sweeteners (most of our sites are local to plenty of cafes, but queueing times may be longer than usual and we cannot guarantee that they will be operating as normal)
💺 Camping chair for break times (again, most of our sites are local to somewhere you can sit down, but they may not be able to allow you to sit and eat in)
👠 A spare pair of clean shoes or boots if you want to check out the shops or come to the pub in the evening
🏷️ Labels for your personal items or dig kit
These are items that we will provide for you, but you might prefer to bring your own
Dig Team – Personal dig kit:
- 4 inch WHS pointing trowel
- Hand shovel
- Kneeling pad
Finds Team – Personal finds cleaning kit:
- 2 x soft toothbrushes (children’s toothbrushes work well and we encourage plastic free options where possible!)
- Small reusable plastic bowls
- Cotton buds
- Wooden toothpicks
These are items that we don’t usually provide, but which you might wish to bring for educational purposes
- Archaeology Skills Passport (if you want to make a formal record of the skills you’ve learned)
- Pen and notepad
We will point out toilet facilities during your orientation on site. Please take extra care when using shared facilities, ensuring you wash your hands thoroughly.
This year, we will not be providing any refreshments, so you’ll either need to bring your own hot drinks or get them at a cafe locally. Please ensure you abide by rules and sanitise your hands before and after entering other establishments.
And, as much as we love cookies and cakes, this year we are discouraging the archaeological tradition of bringing home made sweet treats to share. It pains us to say this, but please don’t offer any around (unless your name is David ‘Cookie Monster’ Robinson and you have already made a prior agreement with the DigVentures team for a special occasion)
Shelter for break time or bad weather
We will not be providing the usual on site shelter for break times or bad weather. This is to discourage people from congregating together. Depending on which site you are joining us, you may need to bring your own shelter (especially if you are not bringing your own car).
We closely monitor government and WHO guidelines with regards to COVID-19. If we circumstances mean that we have to postpone your experience to a later date, we will always give you as much notice as possible, and will endeavour to give you a variety of options for your booking.
We have also modified our booking policies to give you additional flexibility so that if you can longer attend, you will always have the option to:
- Roll your booking over to when we are able run the dig at a later date
- Switch to another dig (subject to availability)
- Request a full or partial refund (you might choose to request a partial refund if you’d like to leave some your crowdfunding contribution towards the dig even if you no longer intend on joining)
DigVentures can take no responsibility for any cancellation or amendment penalties that your travel company may charge you if you have to change your travel plans as a result of cancellation by DigVentures.
Your travel arrangements are subject to the terms and conditions of the company through which you booked. Participants are encouraged to buy flexible, refundable tickets, and we strongly advise Trip Cancellation insurance.