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Work Experience Placement

My work experience placement at wessex Archaeology has been fabulous: there isn’t a single bad thing that I could say about it. For me it started when I applied through a website with school, I was sent a form which I filled out explaining any previous experiences. Luckily it didn’t matter that I hadn’t done anything like this before. Laura interviewed me and then a few weeks before I was due to start she emailed me my timetable of what I was going to do during my week – it sounded amazing and I was really excited to begin. 
 
When I arrived for my first day I was nervous and a little apprehensive but I was determined not to let it show; and to make the most of my experience. I can now see that as soon as the tour had started, I was back to my usual self: inquisitive, and enthusiastic.  
 
The thing that surprised and shocked me the most was when I first saw the barnacle covered aeroplane engine and propeller. After spending a little time with Gemma, part of the Costal & Marine department, I realised how many aeroplane wrecks are in the sea, undiscovered.
 
One of the departments which I didn’t know existed was the environmental one. It was great to take some soil samples through the processes that they go through: washing away the mud, floating of the charcoal and then (one of my favourite bits) looking at it under a microscope. 
 
The other half of the days which I spent with the environmental department, I spent in the finds room. In school, I always get told of for writing too small but in this department it came in handy. After I had had my go at washing some Roman pottery, I then spent the rest of my time marking it with my tiny writing. 
 
2381 (Left) Beth in Environmental, and (Right) working in Finds
Then a few pieces of the Roman pottery (which I had washed in the finds room) I then got to draw! It was great to see how they made accurate drawings in the Graphics Office, and then I got to have a go myself. The techniques that it taught me were very different to any that I would be taught in school.
 
2382 Beth drawing pottery in the Graphics Office
Lucy took me to Eastleigh on my final day, so that I could get out of the office and have a site visit. It was really interesting because I got to see how the geophysical equipment worked. I think that this experience has given me part of the practical side to archaeology whereas the rest of the week showed me what happened afterwards.
 
2383 Beth trying her hand at geophysical survey
This placement has really opened my eyes to the diversity of jobs available in archaeology, and has given me a very aspirational week. 
 
By Beth Butler 
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