My name is Alyssa Bissonnette and I have recently finished my first month of employment with Wessex Archaeology, which flew by, might I add. I have been working out of the newly relocated Maidstone office, with days both in the field and back at the office. I am a recent MA graduate in archaeology from the University of Bristol, but completed my BA in archaeology and anthropology in my native country, Canada, at Sir Wilfrid Laurier University, Ontario.
Through my studies I have been fortunate enough to dig on a variety of sites including a World War II trench site in England, an 1812 battlefield site in Fort Erie Canada, a Huron Wendat long house site in Tay Point Canada, and a historic plantation site in Bermuda, where I dug slave burials. My main focus through school has been Historic Archaeology, due to its abundance in Canada. That said, I have a constant desire to expand my knowledge and skills when it comes to archaeology, and working with Wessex Archaeology has given me the much anticipated range and experience in excavation which I could not have acquired back in Canada.
This first month working with the Maidstone team has already given me a taste of the diversity English archaeological sites have to offer. I’ve worked on a trial trench evaluation, been given training in site surveying, and acquired the ever so important CSCS card (Construction Skills Certification Scheme card). I have also had the chance to work with our Salisbury office on some geophysical and GPR surveys. In addition to field work I have also had the chance to work on post-excavation tasks such as processing finds, which on extremely rainy days, does not make me miss the field. Furthermore, I have done data entry and work associated with a public archaeology event. Working with Wessex Archaeology, even in this short time, has already given me great excavation and post-excavation experience which was only grazed during my archaeological career so far.
I look forward to my future endeavours with Wessex Archaeology as I hear there are many projects coming up soon. My colleagues have recently been excavating cremation burials and I hope dig something similar in the near future. I have to say that everyone I have worked with and talked to at Wessex Archaeology has been not only knowledgeable and hardworking, but kind, friendly and supportive. I have very much enjoyed my first month surrounded by people who truly care about archaeology, doing the job right, and most importantly enjoying every minute of it as I do.
By Alyssa Bissonnette, Archaeologist (London & SE)