Day 9 – Artists and Family Fun! – by Dan C.

Background information

Today the team were continuing with the re-excavation of the work done in the 1960’s from the previous dig that took place at Basing House. The main idea of the day again was too track down the trench boundaries left behind, as well as to continue further on from where the previous excavation had finished in an attempt to find any new finds or information that had not been previously discovered at the site before. The day was very cool with light rain drizzle (on and off) which meant conditions were optimum for the dig to take place. The team largely consisted of 1st and second year students from the University of Southampton but there were also various volunteers ranging from those with previous archaeological experience too those who this was the very first time they had taken part on an actual dig.

Progress on site

We made good progress in one of the corners of the trench today, almost reaching the layer under the fill which had been left from the previous 1960’s excavation. On the other side, towards the left of the trench a few people were digging out the spoil which had been left behind from the old excavation and during this process they were able to obtain a few bones which had been missed.

Interview with volunteers

At the site today I was also able to talk to two volunteer’s who were new to the site today but were friends of Dave Allen. Jane King and Gerard Cole who had both formerly had archaeology degree’s at Exeter and Winchester were told about the dig by Dave and during their free time were able to come down and give a helping hand. They seemed interested in the dig and found going back on actual excavations was a good way in which to keep in touch with people from the past as well as actually being therapeutic. They also liked the fact that the dig had been organised by the University for the archaeology students as back when they were studying there degree’s they had to organise to take part in digs which where not associated with their various universities. However, this was also the first time that both had been on excavations of old excavations as well as the first time either had used the box excavation technique which was being used on the site.

Education

Down at the education centre, today had been the busiest day of the dig so far with around 45 people taking part. The visitors participated in a number of activities including, a version of snakes and ladders (barrows and shovels), animal skull identification and a game called smashing archaeology in which the children were asked to try and put together a pot which had been smashed.

Art and Education

Art

Whilst down here I was also able to catch up with Peter and Mike who had been doing art collaboration with the ongoing dig. Today they held a public workshop in which they produced a number of mono prints and silkscreen prints. Throughout the dig Peter had been creating a series of mono prints in which he described as responses to the dig and especially representations to the soil layers and various finds as well actually drawing the physical process of digging. Finally he mentioned that in the coming day he was planning to create a mono print scene based on the theme of the diggers themselves.

Art fun

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