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Archive Intern – Week 1: Dusty Heavy Fun

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An archaeological archive should always be stable, ordered and accessible – but what they don’t tell you about it the dust! My first week here as Wessex Archaeology’s new Archive Intern in the Sheffield Office has seen Jess (my supervisor) and I re-structure and re-organise much of the archives at our Sheffield site. Using both brains and brawn, what seemed initially to be a task of almost Sisyphean proportions was soon whittled down into easily organised sections of regions and projects (and dust, so much dust!) Sorting out the archive room was a great way to immerse myself in the world of archaeological archives and the work that Wessex do. From Desk Based Assessments to full on Field Excavations, each project may yield something completely different from the next – I particularly like it when they yield interesting metal work and the odd skeleton. 
 
Sorting out the archives also highlighted the ongoing issue of, what to do with an archive that temporarily can’t be deposited. When space is at premium for the both archaeological institutes waiting to deposit their archives and the museum bodies themselves, the lure of digital archives looms enticingly on the horizon – a debate which I find very interesting!  However from sorting out the archives this past week, I’ve really enjoyed the physical quality of it and looking at the drawings, ensuring things are in their place and organising the files! 
 
Next week will see me look at the archives database, accessioning new projects and learning more and more about the wonderful world of archiving!
 
By Emma Carter
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