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The School of Jack - Printable Version

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The School of Jack - barkingdigger - 8th June 2013

"Worldly knowledge"? When I was an undergrad (a long time ago, in a Uni far, far away...) the Geology Dept decided to institute a month-long field school for all the new crop of kiddies. That first month under canvas was so successful, the second year's field school got to kick off with an in-depth lesson in birth control! Seems you cannot count on worldly knowledge any more than you can count on common sense...

And for the record, I'm an Archaeologist because I like to study the past, not because I can trowel or shovel. The methods may vary, and I'll happily steal technology or ideas from other disciplines, but it has nothing to do with how dirty my hands get! "School of Jack" has a rather limited scope so far...


The School of Jack - Dinosaur - 8th June 2013

kevin wooldridge Wrote:These lessons are all well and good, but I think the School has skirted around the essential core question. How educated do you have to be to be an archaeologist? I don't mean necessarily in terms of formal academic qualification, but in terms of all round 'worldly knowledge'....for a profession that essentially deals with cultural interpretation, it seems to me that you must actually have read one or more books all the way through, and to kind of have an understanding of where, what and why humans do certain things in certain ways....

A lot more general worldliness, common sense, understanding of basic rules of the universe and enquiring minds would be nice judging by some of the stuff I've read on context sheets over the years - I am right in thinking that water flows downhill for instance, aren't I? And some of the stuff that gets written in the 'formation process' box on our context sheets should get its own website, clearly the average digger has never actually bothered to watch what happens on e.g. a modern farm which fundamentally isn't much different to what happened on a Roman farm (although apparently those pesky Romans spent much of their time going around backfilling all their field boundaries on a regular basis - were they in the wrong place or something?), i.e. we don't actually bury people/animals in active ditches [bloated corpses floating down them come the spring] although we might bury people/animals alongside a hedge long after the adjacent ditch had silted up and grassed over - sadly this naivety and lack of general common sense seems to extend to many report authors/prehistorians too Sad ...no wonder a lot of the 'public' have the perception of archaeologists as a bit odd...


@Wax - Droit de seigneur when I was a kid Big Grin


The School of Jack - Jack - 9th June 2013

barkingdigger Wrote:"Worldly knowledge"? When I was an undergrad (a long time ago, in a Uni far, far away...) the Geology Dept decided to institute a month-long field school for all the new crop of kiddies. That first month under canvas was so successful, the second year's field school got to kick off with an in-depth lesson in birth control! Seems you cannot count on worldly knowledge any more than you can count on common sense...

And for the record, I'm an Archaeologist because I like to study the past, not because I can trowel or shovel. The methods may vary, and I'll happily steal technology or ideas from other disciplines, but it has nothing to do with how dirty my hands get! "School of Jack" has a rather limited scope so far...

You are of course correct. The School of Jack does what it says on the tin. See the school prospectus for other courses on being an archaeologist.


The School of Jack - Jack - 9th June 2013

kevin wooldridge Wrote:These lessons are all well and good, but I think the School has skirted around the essential core question. How educated do you have to be to be an archaeologist? I don't mean necessarily in terms of formal academic qualification, but in terms of all round 'worldly knowledge'....for a profession that essentially deals with cultural interpretation, it seems to me that you must actually have read one or more books all the way through, and to kind of have an understanding of where, what and why humans do certain things in certain ways....some of the 'lessons' and techniques suggested so far could be performed by well trained rabbits...... and that doesn't by default make them archaeologists (or diggers!!)

Trained monkeys are better, badgers the best. Interpretation is indeed a completely different kettle of worms.
There is an argument (that I heard a very long time ago) that a digger should approach a slot with an open mind, free of interpretation and without an idea of what should be. Others have called this 'not digging an idea'.
Those that think they know what a relationship is before digging an intersection, or how many features or recuts exisit in an area before breaking the soil sometimes have a tendency to make up the archaeology to fit the theory.


The School of Jack - Jack - 9th June 2013

Lesson 4 The shovel[SIZE=2]

The shovel is one of the practitioners most useful tools. It can be used to get rid of spoil, straighten a section (though a spade is better), shovel-scrape an area clean, dig a sump or drainage channel to alleviate flooding, or even to test the ground and provide much needed support when traversing boggy and wheel-rutted areas of the site.
The skilled practitioner can even dig and clear spoil with just a shovel, though this is not advised unless conditions are correct and you know what your doing.

The fabled 'shovel flick' is a skill that can only be learned through trying. The special combination of guiding the spoil on the shovel on it's intended parabolic path and the flick/ retraction that frees the spoil from the friction of the blade often defies description. But when performed correctly, a neat package of spoil can be lobbed up to 30 feet (10 meters) to land in a perfect, compact lump.
The shovel flick is a tool of efficiency and in certain circumstances can negate the need for buckets or a wheel barrow and much walking back and forth (see Lesson 6 Efficiency)
But remember to take the strength and direction of wind and the looseness of the spoil into account or you may end up with sand in your face.
[/SIZE]


The School of Jack - Dinosaur - 9th June 2013

Think you accidentally skipped over the first bit? Picking the right shovel? Very important! :face-thinks:


The School of Jack - kevin wooldridge - 9th June 2013

I'm guessing after the length to which you can chuck spoil, the next lesson will be something along the lines of - the smaller your trowel, the bigger your todger- School of Jack has just entered its macho posturing phase.....one to be ignored alongside finds from the topsoil!!


The School of Jack - BAJR - 9th June 2013

I would contend the shovel flick is all about wrist action - ( perhaps that is where you feel the male element enters the course syllabus) - and I would say that gender or even upper body strength has bothing to do with technique.

flickin wonderful. like mattock action II ( I have the video on VHS) it is all in the technique
:face-approve: keep it up JAck


The School of Jack - Sith - 10th June 2013

Jack Wrote:[SIZE=2]The shovel is one of the practitioners most useful tools. It can be used to get rid of spoil, straighten a section (though a spade is better).[/SIZE]

I always found that with a bit of practice, the flat blade of a shovel always made a straighter and cleaner section than a spade.

Jack Wrote:But remember to take the strength and direction of wind and the looseness of the spoil into account or you may end up with sand in your face

..or somebody elses.

DINOSAUR Wrote:Think you accidentally skipped over the first bit? Picking the right shovel? Very important!

Indeed. There's a whole lesson in that topic alone, plus the selection of most sorts of tools. WHS or Marshalltown for instance.



The School of Jack - RedEarth - 10th June 2013

kevin wooldridge Wrote:I'm guessing after the length to which you can chuck spoil, the next lesson will be something along the lines of - the smaller your trowel, the bigger your todger- School of Jack has just entered its macho posturing phase.....one to be ignored alongside finds from the topsoil!!


I'm also beginning to think that Jack is using this as a means of expressing a few issues to do with masculinity. You go for it Jack, get it out of your system, and remember, it's OK to cry.