Just About Managing

Image courtesy of
Image courtesy of

As you may know I have both AD(H)D, Asperger’s and an above average intelligence. Just like the archetypal mad professor, it is a wonderful combination of traits to have in order to start an exciting and ambitious project. However I do have a tendency to allow things to get out of control 🙂

Newmarket Farm Dig by Dominic Sladden
Newmarket Farm Dig (2013) by Dominic Sladden

About 5 years ago I started researching the history of Newmarket Farm. I amassed a large number of notes and put many of them into an early draft of a book which is available here, though without illustrations as yet. Two years later I received permission to excavate its demolished remains. This meant teaching myself archaeology. Then a roller coaster ride of digging, photo editing, computer drawn plans, research, blogging, and poor record keeping, which lasted about year. Last year I gave some talks about the dig, which took up a lot of my time researching its historical background to be able to further interpret the excavated structures and finds. This resulted in more scattered notes, annotated maps and plans. I also joined some digs to gain some practical experience under the supervision of experts, as well as attending a number of introductory courses which helped me to further learn best archaeological practice.

During last year I struggled to write my dig report. And it was a struggle! It was becoming an extremely large somewhat rambling in depth book describing my personal experiences in struggling to manage a dig project. And it had been (and still is) an extremely exciting dig project in an iconic location, with personal connections and lots of (if I say so myself) well researched history. If completed it would form the basis of an excellent book. However the primary need was a preliminary report, which is basically a technical catalogue of the excavated contexts. No report, no more digging. But it was the technical recording of my archaeological contexts that I had biggest problems with.

So it is, two years after I started digging, that I am now working on my limited records in parallel with processing my many bags of finds and tagging my thousands of photos. The outcome should be some retrospectively generated context records.

**** If you find yourself in charge of an archaeological dig do not wait two years to formally record your contexts 😉 ****

I did try. Honest I did. I believe that I managed to do the best that I could at the time.

Fortunately I am in the privileged position to have the time to learn how to complete this essential part of an archaeological dig project. And in the past few months I have been making reasonable progress…

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