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Newbie seeking advice
#1
Hi all.

After many years in another industry (thankfully not too distant in some skills from archaeology) I'm starting out in what I hope to be a new career in archaeology. As of Monday, I'll be a trainee for a large commercial enterprise, on an urban site close to home. Lucky me, eh? So... What should I expect? My experience has only been on voluntary excavations, so the thought of hitting the real world is a little daunting!

Thanks for your time, and regards,
The Tool
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#2
Good Luck Tool hope it works out. My suspicion is on a large industrial site much of what you will be doing is manual labour but hey I am not knocking that just don't be too disappointed if you do not get to do much of the real archaeology and recording. Turn up on site on time muck in, don't complain keep smiling make the tea and volunteer to do the tedious archaeological tasks the others avoid. Get known for being a hard worker and pleasant to be around and you will get asked back. If you have not done it before you might find the physical aspects a shock to the body so don't over do it pace yourself and look after your back don't overload the barrow! have fun and hope it works out. (realistically get some sort of qualification in archaeology). Do some back ground research on the site you are on if you become an expert in some obscure aspect of it that little bit of extra knowledge will make you stand out.
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#3
Thank you Wax. I'm under no illusion that I'll be there as a shovel-hand. But I want to learn, and I want to learn from the basics. Thankfully I enjoy the physical side as much as the intellectual, and although horribly out of condition my background is in a physical industry. The being pleasant to be around thing may be a problem though, thanks to being a right antisocial git... Wink

I do have a small amount of knowledge of the area of the site, and access to more information, so yes, that's a good point - learn more! Once I've sobered up from celebrating what to me is a momentous change in life. Cue the accusations of being a sad bastard...}Smile
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#4
If you can handle a shovel and shift the .... you will be fine (Learn when to speak up and more importantly when to keep the mouth shut not something I am particularly good at). Perhaps most important when starting out be willing to move to follow the work round. The project will finish and the next one may be a hundred miles away. Do not get too disappointed if more work does not automatically follow on, it is the nature of the game. Oh and do turn up to work sobber on Monday and best of luck:face-approve:
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#5
Well that's part of why I was so surprised at the call this morning (apart from anyone taking the gamble on me in the first place...). I was expecting to have to travel many miles to get my start, and this one is almost within walking distance! And yes, I got that impression that it's unlikely that work would be continuous. But when this initial first three month contract is up, at least I'll have three more months experience to my name than I had before. Hopefully in that time I can prove that I'm also not bad at the job... :0

Yup, going to enjoy the moment but be prepared for a professional start Monday morning.

Thanks for indulging in the excitement of a middle-aged kid. :face-approve:
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#6
There is a Bajr guide 101 tips- http://www.scribd.com/doc/400953/101-Tip...rchaeology

Read it. It will help you with lots of little, and some big things, that will make your experience more enjoyable/safe.
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#7
Hi Tool and welcome :face-approve:

You've fallen on your feet for a first job, industrial sites, as Wax says, are usually heavy on graft compared to fiddly stuff/recording etc, so you can impress by getting stuck in to the point where after a while they'll forget about your inexperience, and next time they're looking for a crew you'll have stuck favourably in their memory.

BUT, and it's a big but, your attractiveness as workforce on this first one may well be because you live nearby, so no travel/accom costs - so you'll have to work past that


Good luck though, and hope it goes well
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#8
Thank you Mr. Dinosaur. Yes, it was let slip that part of the reason I got the gig was that I was local. Shear chance that I submitted an on spec application at the time they were after labour. It's a foot in the door, so I ain't complaining! Big Grin It is incumbent on me to impress on them that even though I may be a local grunt, I still might be worthy of future employment.

Now, do please tell me oh you experienced ones, at what point is asking questions considered a pain? I love asking questions, but am aware that this might be seen as a nuisance.
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#9
Thanks for that Doug. I had seen it before, but a worthy reminder! And it all makes sense, mainly I suspect because my background is in construction, where similar rules apply.

Still can't believe that at the age of xx I'm as excited as a kid at Christmas about the opportunity to work for feck-all, be treated like cannon-fodder, and generally be the lowest of the low. Must be a bit odd.
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#10
The trick is asking the right question at the right time, people have jobs to do and dead lines to meet and though they will give you some time to start with they cannot afford to spend too much time hand holding. That first induction is the time to ask the questions. After that find an experienced old hand who enjoys sharing their knowledge.

The supervisors may have too much on their plates to deal with constant questions especially if they are in the middle of some tricky negotiations with the other trades on site. Careful of asking the sort of question that makes the supervisor look bad if they cannot answer it in front of the team. Break times are a good time to sit and listen to the banter and ask questions of the team. (you will get your leg pulled but take it in a good spirit).

If you are a trainee then time should be built in for your training and that will be the best time to ask questions.

Dont be afraid of asking questions but spend a little time to get the feel of the project and the team so you do not blunder in. Do not be surprised if things are not done in the way that you expected and above all be positive and say thank you. You are just starting out and commercial archaeology is a totally different world to volunteer archaeology things are done differently there (for good reasons that you will not be aware of yet). Remember though you are excited and this is a fantastic opportunity the old lags may see it as just another job. Though it does us all good to work with people new to the profession still bright eyed and bushy tailed.

I find I am always happy to answer questions except when I am in the middle of something that requires concentration or having to deal with a situation that needs sorting urgently. So pick your time with care. As I have already said commercial archaeology is different to what you may have experienced on community projects. You have been employed to do a job make sure you do it other than that I am sure you will have funSmile
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