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BBC documentary - Michael Wood - help needed
#11
nice one jcm... you give them the best from us jaded bajerites

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.
Mohandas Gandhi
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#12
Indeed, I hope it goes well. I think I might have been tempted if it had been in my neck of the woods, I allways rather liked Michael Wood....
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#13
You have yet to see me in tight jeans Smile

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.
Mohandas Gandhi
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#14
Thanks for leaving me with that mental image - I'm now going to need immense quantities of alcohol to banish it - fortunately its the weekend!
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#15
Hosty- true.... I think....

Gog - good excuse - I'll join you!
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#16
Thanks for putting this on the forum - I probably wouldn't have seen it otherwise and would have missed out on a really good weekend! Met some great people and got fed by the BBC. Can't be bad...
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#17
As some may, or maynot, know yours truly is a distance learning student with the University of Leicester School of Ancient History & Archaeology.
It was thanks to their mailing list the opportunity arrived to volunteer as a digger (with detector of course!!) for a series of test pits spread across the Leicestershire villages of Kibworth, Kibworth Beauchamp & Smeeton as part of a forthcoming BBC production in association with Mayavision Int. To save me rattling on its all here..
http://www.mayavisionint.com/English_Story/index.html
The series is being produced by Michael Wood with Dr Carenza Lewis as its TV lead.
As a starting point everyone gathered in the hall at Kibworth Grammar School on Saturday 25th for registration, form filling , more form filling...... and the issuing of the required equipment and ,of course more forms !!
Michael & Carenza then explained how to proceed with the test pits , bearing in mind the majority were in peoples back gardens and being dug by enthusiastic amateurs who had never raised a trowel, mattock or shovel in anger before.
After the presentation volunteers were allocated to different locations ..I landed Pit 5 at Paddock Farm along with three other students of varying ages!!
[Image: PaddockFarmRise.jpg]
As the request had been sent out at fairly short notice I was otherwise engaged for the next 2 hours but my return to Paddock Farm found my Dig Buddies some 20cm down having meticulously recorded and photographed the first two layers. This was proper hole digging!!
[Image: Pit5Team.jpg]
I was set to work de-turfing what would have been Pit 4 whilst my colleagues scraped & trowelled through the next context in Pit 5 (getting confused / You should have seen the paperwork!!).
We soon realised that a 1metre cubed test pit was going to produce nothing much shy of 1 metric tonne of soil so put Pit 4 on hold to focus on Pit 5 just in time for the TV cameras to arrive.
An interesting debate then ensued?.Michael was convinced we were excavating the soil above the ?former homes of Medieval Vil`lains, whilst Corenza was shall we say less than convinced, evidenced by much map pointing and ?discussion !
[Image: MichaelCarTVHole.jpg]
Having had our 5 minutes of fame the crew departed and we slogged on until 6pm by which time we had excavated 5 context layers ?50cm deep?.1/2 tonne soil..which had to be sieved and finds removed. Ever tried sieving Leicestershire clay??
[Image: Calledoff.jpg]
It was now definitely pub time, the Coach & horses being our Mission Control for the weekend and even having a bit of its car park dug up as one of the 48 test pits.
The TV production crew were doing a fantastic job of looking after everyone, especially the volunteers with what was probably an immense bar bill (hic) to be added to the bill for a lovely selection of curries from a nearby Indian restaurant.
It was soon time to head home for long hot soak in the bath and a good nights sleep ready for day two.

Sunday 26th saw me back at Paddock Farm Pit 5 having a brief sortie with the detector?.I was becoming concerned as to the lack of finds in the half excavated pit and the general unevenness of our location. Standing on the concrete gateway the site looked almost ?filled in? with a defined outline of lush grass & weed growth and the detector was telling me that the site was VERY trashy. Not concentrated signs of human activity just general signals suggesting iron stone (scattered) and intermittent weak, broken almost foil like signals. Still what did I know compared with the ?experts? ??
By now the remainder of our team had arrived and I was happily mattocking in the pit when I spotted something attached to a clod of clay at 55cms down?..it was a Tesco`s freezer bag !!
Our hearts sank, phonecalls were made and we were told that the disturbed layer we were digging in may cap some ?real? archaeology. We bowed to the greater wisdom & kept on digging.
Finds remained slim..barring the ironstone & bits of burnt debris..pretty much as I had thought from a brief scan of the site with the Minelab SE.
Then at 11am we received the hammer blow from Sean, the tenant farmer. It transpires that 30 years previously , where we were digging was a grain store & lorry turning area which had been demolished and a new one built to our North East about ? mile away??..and guess where they had dumped the clay,debris etc etc from that job?
Yep??..we were digging & recording it!! Welcome to archaeological digging !!
More calls were made and Paddock Farm was officially shutdown & back filled..with the obligatory ?time capsule?.
[Image: Pit5TimeCapsule.jpg]
The team headed back to Mission Control just in time for a lovely buffet lunch and drinks ( theres a lot of drinking goes on in Archaeological circles I reckon !).
By the afternoon we were all re-allocated to other pits that needed manpower, my location was Kibworth Primary playing field alongside some happy volunteers .
Suffice to say it was much easier to dig in the sandy/loamy soil?but it had very little signs of humanity and after two contexts of ?nothing? was also closed & back filled..more soil shifting , hurrah!!
Returning to the pub for more drinking and filming (or filming of drinking..I get confused!) it transpired that some pits had turned out vast numbers of finds from Neolithic flints,Roman Samian ware, Mediaeval pottery , a Saxon carved bone comb handle (in the pub car park!!) . One pit alone of 1 cubic metre had produced 1020 items..ranging from Victorian chamber pot to early Mediaeval leaving the residents as excited as kids at Christmas and almost calling in the JCB for a trench, I think they got the bug !! There was certainly tons of sorting for the Cambridge Uni brigade to do, where better than the pub car park to do it ?
[Image: FindsSorting.jpg]
The whole weekend was a truly fantastic experience from meeting the local residents & fellow distance learning students through to the wonderful production company who fed , watered and generally treated us like royalty for the weekend. Combine that with being able to associate what I learnt ?on paper? to real fieldwork and I can`t convey enough thanks to all involved.
I am eagerly awaiting the opportunity to return & help in anyway as this 10 month project examines & expands the DNA of a small, but very English, Leicestershire village.
Last but not least I suppose you would expect me to have pages of pictures of archaeological totty ???? OK?just one..it was one of those point & shoot pics !!

[Image: JustOneMoreShot.jpg]



Today is tomorrows yesterday.
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#18
BRilliant... simply brilliant!

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.
Mohandas Gandhi
Reply
#19
I second that - what a fantastic report! I think there were about 45 pits excavated over the two days, and the organisation and support was exceptional. It was obvious that there had been a lot of planning and forethought, which really paid off when things got busy on Sunday.
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#20
really glad you got to go too Faunal.. and enjoyed it... is that what archaeology is about ?? fun, education, people.. ! could catch on!

Constant development is the law of life, and a man who always tries to maintain his dogmas in order to appear consistent drives himself into a false position.
Mohandas Gandhi
Reply


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