Some free time between shower time and dinner time, especially alone, let to this kind of reflexion, which I wrote while I was still in France. For those of you who don’t follow this blog regularly, I’m an Archaeology Master student (hopefully soon with my diploma) and that means that I participate (mostly as a volunteer) in excavations every Summer – well not every every Summer but whenever it’s mandatory or whenever I want/can. And this being part of my Masters programme, obviously this year wasn’t an exception. Also, for those of you who don’t follow the blog so regularly, this year I went to France for another excavation. I had previously gone to France for another internship/excavation two years ago.
Even though the two projects in which I participated aren’t the same, they actually have quite a lot in common. Excavation and record techniques are basically the same, especially because part of the technical systems were actually developed by some researchers of the first project (one that I participated in 2013, when I was still in my bachelor); the living conditions are somewhat similar, even though I slept in a tent in the first project, while I slept in a dorm in the most recent one; the volunteer teams are absolutely international and everyone has very unique academic backgrounds, sometimes not even directly related with Archaeology. And on top of it all, both projects were amazing experiences, with obviously good and bad moments.
But what I truly found to be quite remarkable was that in each project (even including the ones I participated in Portugal) there are always the same kinds of people. Without getting in too much detail about it, there are always two distinct groups: the one that’s more lively and the one that’s more quiet. However, the interesting part is that there are always a couple of people – that must think they’re special or something – that make others do their work. I think I can say I’ve seen two different versions of this story. There are people who spend all the time complaining about the tasks that they have to do, either because it’s boring or they don’t like it, and they always try to avoid doing those tasks if they can. It’s honestly something that bugs me because we’re all doing it because we have to and we don’t complain about it. Well obviously we can complain – most of us do it for one thing or another, but at the end of the day we still did all our tasks, even if we didn’t like them that much. And then there’s another kind of people, the most annoying one to be honest, that think that they’re superior to others, that because they’ve been in certain projects for one year or more years think they’re special and don’t have to do the “dirty” work, so they make others do it. It really is one of the most annoying things in the world.
In terms of work done in each one of these projects, there are more differences. I did a lot more fieldwork this time because everyone was going to the site, while in the first project in France we’d only go to the site every three days due to the huge amount of people and the small size of the site. I did the same kind of lab work in both projects so I can’t say much about it. And I can say the same for the fieldwork itself, even though I felt a lot more frustrated this time because I worked mostly in low density layers – layers in which there are few artefacts. It allowed me to dig a lot more and a lot faster than a site like this would allow, but I’d have loved if I had found more artefacts. It kind of felt like I did nothing – which is not true though; we don’t have to necessarily find dozens of artefacts per hour to call it a productive day, even though some archeological layers (in some sites) do allow that to happen.