Teaching Geoarchaeology Field Skills

As part of a postgraduate module I am co-convening, Landscape Archaeology: Theory and Practice, I will be taking a group of Masters students into the field in a few weeks time to teach them the joys of soil transect surveys. We've even bought a brand new shiny hand auger kit. I am quite pleased with how the handbook and plan have turned out. We're lucky to have the amazing landscape of Northumberland to work with, and the area we are looking at, Milfield Basin, has had extensive archaeological and geoarchaeological analysis so there is plenty of background material for the students to refer to. Preparing this exercise has been strange in some ways and almost nostalgic, as this was one of my first experiences as a geoarchaeologist. As part of my MSc Geoarchaeology, we were tasked with doing a borehole survey and writing it up like a professional commercial report. I remember distinctly the terror of being sent out with a hand auger, and being left to get on with it. There is nothing like being left in the middle of a wet muddy field and a time limit, to make you learn very quickly how to use the kit and get on with the descriptions.  It is very much one of those full circle moments. The exercise seems so simple to me now, I could do it in a couple of hours. Yet I still remember clearly how long it took me to get my head around during my MSc. It literally took the whole day!

Aerial photo of Milfield, Northumberland (fromhttp://bgcmilfield.blogspot.co.uk/2013_09_01_archive.html)