“To be blunt to start off with, it was just to get more experience in archaeology. Because as an archaeological graduate whose had to come out of the field for family reasons, it was a nice local project which I could get involved in which I could remind myself and relearn the archaeological techniques which I did at university.

But once I got here, it becomes a lot more about the personal story. At least the perception of the personal story of these children coming from the concentration camps to, as they described it, to ‘ a  paradise’. And coming across items that they could have held, or could have been in contact with, just really inspires you to – the care and understanding people can have in extreme situations …. the sort of community spirit that built up around the project, as we have been here.

So we have been doing – it’s quite nice because you have been able to go through the whole process of de-turfing a trench, going down each of the different contexts, the planning and the cross sections, and then the sort of the backfill.  

I have never been able to do a dig before where I have actually been able to experience the whole course of an archaeological dig. It’s always been, you know, this is your practice trench so people will take over from you in the next week or, you know, the first year’s have been before you. You’ve now got two weeks and then someone will get it for the last week, which is normally the experts rather the university archaeological unit who would come in, finish everything off, make surest the paper work is up to standard and then backfill. And so it’s been nice to be a lot more involved in the paper work – not necessarily the paper work but the whole process of the dig rather than just the sort of stand alone shots that you get as a training student.

(How have you found helping the other volunteers?) I’ve found that really good actually because the whole point is for me to get more experience.  And so having to take my own experience and then translate it to somebody else so they can understand, is a really useful process. And also it can look good on cvs and things to be able to say at least you were experienced enough to be able to be left in charge while the true people in charge wandered off to check on other people.   They would turn to me for advice and I was like, ‘I‘ve got this and I’ve done this for a week already!’.

Everyone has been really friendly and they have been pushing you to do more things. Yesterday, for example, I was given context sheets to sort out for the first time ever.

So it’s very much a learning experience but in a sort of safe environment which is nice.”

Katherine Bostock – August 2019