Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Day in the Life of an Archaeologist

Hi everyone. Today I thought I would talk a bit about our daily schedule. See what you think about this...

Wake up is at 4:30 AM unless like me you are crazy enough that you manage to wake up at 4:00 without the help of an alarm. (Like I said, crazy!). We wake up that early in order to finish a full eight hour work day before it gets too hot but you don't really think about that when you wake up and it is pitch black outside. You mostly think about how you must be crazy.

Once we manage to pull ourselves together we wander downstairs for First Breakfast (like Hobbits we have a few extra meals built into the day) which usually consists of tea or coffee, bread and jam and what we affectionately call "bug juice" which is sorta but not really like Tang. 5:00 sharp the bus pulls up to take us to the dig site. It is still dark and the ride never takes as long as we would like it to.

By 5:10 we are at the Pottery Compound where we one and all race to grab our tools. We do this by the light of the florescent moon which pierces the still dark morning. Honestly, it is still dark! Then, tools in hand we strike off in the direction we believe will lead us to our designated excavation areas. (We haven't lost anyone yet and, fingers crossed, we won't this year.)

By 5:30 we are usually hard at work even though we can't really see anything. We work using a range of tools from dental picks and tiny paint brushes on up to full size pick axes and shovels (although they have a more fancy name). We dump all the dirt we dig up into buckets called gufas and then haul it away.

We break for Second Breakfast at 9:00 which is both a good thing and a bad thing. It is good because we get a break after a morning of
manual labor and because the meal is pretty good even though we sit in the dirt to eat it (unless you are lucky enough to track down a nice patch of grass). And breakfast is pretty good; all you can eat (at least until it runs out) eggs, bread, olives, cheese, tomatoes, cucumbers, yogurt and more. The only real problem is that you have to go back to work and it always seems much, much hotter after the break.

And then we go back to work until our next opportunity for food or sleep, whichever you need more. Fruit Break happens at 11:15 or so and it only manages to be a Fruit Break if you saved some fruit from breakfast. From that point, however, the morning is almost over and even
though it is so hot your eyeballs are sweating the last bit of the day doesn't seem too bad. 12:50 we pack up our tools. 1:00 we board the buses and go back to the hotel. Once there we get cleaned up and go down to lunch.

After lunch we have free time until 4:00 when we get back on the bus to go back to the Pottery Compound (basically our office at the site) where we work on processing and analyzing the objects we found earlier in the day. We do that for a couple of hours before getting back on the bus to return to the hotel where we then attend evening lectures on any number of subjects from numismatics (the study of coins) to my favorite, Ashkelon in the Islamic period. And then, only then do we go to dinner (usually around 7:15) after which it is again free time. Which in my case lasts until about 8:30 when I go to bed.

So what makes us do it? Well, next time I'll write a bit about what we do when we are working.

Also, the answer to the latest "Who? What? When?"

Hey staff and volunteers! We are inching our way ever closer to the start of the season. Room and grid assignments are done, the hotel is
full (at least on the weekends) and the grids are dirty! See everyone on Saturday.

12 comments:

northsidefour said...

4:00 AM! The kids love this, thank you!

Lyndis K. said...
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Lyndis K. said...

you describe your day in such a negative mood...isn't there any positive things in the life of an archaeologist?

Casey Mortensen said...

Great article, especially as I am getting out of the Navy and going into the Archaeology field. Yay!!

ANIT MATHEW said...

This article sounds quite negative.why is that so.!archeologist have such a hectic life?

Julia H said...

This helped me a lot with my archaeology paper!! Thanks!!

Nick CERN said...
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vaishu said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose Mackenzie said...

Hi! Just wondering if you need any actual post-secondary education to do some field work (as in just the digging, not the actual analyzing smart stuff) or if you can just volunteer your time or something just to get kinda a taste of what it's like and to just kinda get that expieriance.

Isabella Pietrobon said...

Thank you this helped me with my assignment

Becca Mc said...

thanks this helped me /w my project

BCriso said...

Hello :D

Thank you for the descriptive explanation of what it's like work in your field. It sounds like a typical day on a film set in terms of an early start time.

Have you ever worked in completely remote areas with no phone coverage? I was wondering if you guys have your own mobile network in place with no coverage and in case of emergencies.