Who knew we had archaeologists? I’d never really thought about it before today until I invaded their space. I was doing my Guerrilla Working thing and wandering round the fifth floor looking for a place to rest my weary laptop when I came across a door I had never been into. It was just asking to be opened.
When I think of archaeology I think of Neil Oliver, sweeping his hair behind his ears in the farthest reaches of windswept Orkney or the more temperate parts around Stonehenge. I think of Romans and coins. I think of pre-history and flint tools. I think of digs and trowels, human bones in tissue paper and boxes, with people getting excited about shards of pottery.
There was none of that, though I did come across some soil though this turned out to be the remains of a pot plant. I don’t know from which period.
I got into a conversation about what they do and some of the exciting things we have in Durham. We don’t have a Vindolanda but we do have a Binchester and of course Durham is built around old, if not ancient monuments. Their job was to make sure that people take into consideration the potential archaeological legacy of any site before they dig it up and destroy it for ever. Images of the cross-rail project came to mind and the cemetery they uncovered. Who knows what is still lying below our soil.
We talked about technology. I was thinking of Geophysics or Geophys (if that’s how you spell it), ground penetrating radar (GPR) and drones. They are not without their jargon and acronyms either. I was told how expensive some of these things are and that most of that kind of work is done by specialist contractors.
Who knew we had archaeologists? Well, we do now.