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Classic mistakes when first starting to dig
Yes, when working on a training excavation for several years in the early 90s we often sent the more naive students off for 'a long weight' - kept us amused for hours.

I also remember convincing some particulary obnoxious young men that the adjacent farmer had complained that the spoil heap was too close to his horses, and that as they were clearly the strongest and the leaders amongst their peers, could they please shift it a few meters to the left? Didn't see them for days....
My second site was on top of the hill in Lincoln,towards the end of site the Sup. uncovered two "limestone walls" in the base of a trench and duly appointed me and a friend to dig a section between the two to find out their depths (both were only about metre and a half apart),after about two days I found myself 8foot down and digging out just clean sand (no finds what-soever) when suddenly a voice from above says "what the bloody hell are you digging that for?". Up the ladder I went to see who this fellow was,he introduced himself as a geologist so I told him what the sup had told us about two dry limestone walls-he then fell about laughing and told us it was a crack in the limestone pavement and probably goes all the way down to the valley bottom. The sup came over a bit later to find the two of us back-filling said hole,and not very amused!:face-confused:
I've been there and done that when it comes to chasing shadows, although in my case it was a series of dark lines across a site. I was just about to record these as plough marks when I glanced up and saw the overhead power cables...

A worse case of mistaken identity occurred when, at a fairly tender age, I was rummaging through some molehills on a site. It wasn't untill I picked up a 'roman coin' that I had just spotted that I realised that dried and squashed rabbit droppings are also round, flat, green and somewhat crusty in texture.

"Hidden wisdom and buried treasure, what use is there in either?" (Ecclesiasticus ch20 v30)
Hi Chaps

A friend was once employed by a unit in the eastern counties on a Roman site and came on site one day to great excitement because on of the other staff members had found a broken clay roof tile exhibiting engraved Latin text.

My friend was shown the tile by the finder who reverently pointed out the letters: NIV :and said that it was entirely possible the rest of the tile would be found.

My friend raised one eyebrow, took hold of the tile and with only one short comment on the resemblance of the finder to the male genitalia, turned it "upside down" to reveal the letters AIN as in DRAIN!

This is only a mistake on the grounds that one lunchtime (86)working in Lincoln I thought it would be more pleasant if I went off site and sat on a bench in the high street to eat my food,WRONG-a woman and her young daughter walked past me,and in avery loud voice while pointing at me the little girl said "look mummy it's a tramp".
In hindsite my long straggly hair,unkempt appearance and loads of dirt on me could be misconstrued![:o)]
Ah... sad but true... have we all been fooled by the modern drain!

Back when I was 13 (and Victoria was on the throne) I was on an Edinburgh Archaeological Field Society dig at Cramond near Edinburgh... a big Roman Port and Fort... I finds a ridge tile... then another ... good grief thinks I... I have found an intact roman building buried all the way to the top... when I believe I will fall through the roof I go to the director... dragging him over... with all the keenness of a boy who has discovered the greatest discovery since the Tomb of King Tut!

That's when he pointed out that the stamped tile spelled out S...S...E...B not SPQR and stood for South of Scotland Electricity Board! and further excavation would result in instant death!


"No job worth doing was ever done on time or under budget.."
Not a digging one exactly, but I remember a slightly embaressing incident the first time I ever exacavated the contents of a BA cremation urn in the lab. I suddenly started finding bits of what looked like carbonised textile in the fill and became terribly excited, thinking I'd found a rare example of preserved Bronze Age clothing.

Thankfully before anyone really embaressed themselves by phoning anyone important at the British Museum, the conservator worked out it was actually the rather crumbly remains of one of the bandages that had been wrapped round it during the lifting process[:I]
I remember asking a newbie to dig a very very shallow ditch slot (about 10cm deep). He told me he thought he'd finished, butasked me how far I thought he should dig.

After sarcastically saying "to the centre of the earth" I came back an hour later to find he was doing exactly that!

Ah for more diggers to follow instructions to the letter! :face-thinks:
A long time ago on a site far far away I discovered the problems of planning features that some-one else had dug,a friend had put a couple of sections through a ditch the day before in the rain and was moved on to dig other things leaving me to plan.Once i'd finished i asked my mate who'd dug them what he thought of the plan,once he stopped laughing he asked what all the shallow little cuts were i'd planned,"you tell me" i said "you dug them",turned out i'd planned all his foot prints in the soft clay!![xx(]
Was once asked to explain a set of single context sheets, generated while digging a patch of very amorphous dumps of clay and which, by the time I had finished ,appeared to have the last context (of about 6) over the first

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