Wednesday, 31 August 2016

Julie's Access to Archaeology experience so far!



Once upon a time, a long time ago, I was a volunteer digger for Cardiff University’s archaeology department and somewhere out there is a tiny, perfect glass vessel, from a pit at the Roman fort under Cardiff Castle, with my fingerprints on it.   I’m certain the prints remain because they had to prise it out of my hands; I had never seen anything so lovely.  Forward through time and careers unrelated to archaeology to volunteering at GGAT from October 2015.  My work is with GGAT’s Historic Environment Record (HER), populating the database that provides information on archaeological sites, excavations, buildings etc, etc, etc throughout South East Wales.  I understand GGAT has around 25,000 records of archaeological interest but no one expects you to do them all yourself!  It’s absorbing work, tricky enough at the start to really engage your interest but, as Charina and Calli (look them up on the website) are really gifted trainers, straightforward enough for you to realise very quickly that ‘I can do this’.  And they are clever because once you start thinking, ‘I’ve certainly got the hang of this process’, they come up with something new to catch your interest all over again.  And it’s also perfect work for the inquisitive, I nearly said nosy, because it’s all about our area.  On top of that the staff at GGAT clearly love what they do.  I will never forget the excitement of GGAT’s Outreach Officer (special interest: military remains in 20th century) when a member of the public rang in to say that he’d located, using digital photography, a cross on a field near the coast that had been used for aircraft direction finding in WW2.  Seems the Outreach Officer had known there should be one and never found it and suddenly there it was.  Enthusiasm is catching and, as we listened to the increasingly optimistic, if one sided, phone conversation, everyone in the office started dashing to their computers to try to locate it.  I think you might have enjoyed/ will enjoy it here yourself.

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