Wessex Archaeology has been hosting a four-week placement student over the summer holidays as part of the Nuffield Research Placements scheme. This scheme offers sixth form students hands-on experience of a professional research environment to help them make better informed choices for the future. Placements provide insight into a wide range of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) careers, and are organised by the Nuffield Foundation. Read on to find out what our placement student, Caroline has been up to.
"For the last four weeks I have been doing work experience as part of a Nuffield Research Placement at Wessex Archaeology, working with the Geoservices team. I applied to do this because I am interested in geology and wanted to see how it is applied to archaeology.
During my first week I worked with the marine geophysics team, learning how to use a variety of different software used to process data collected from the boats. I also learnt about the different data collection methods for this data and what the differences between them are.
Week two was working with terrestrial geophysics going out and surveying the land and seeing whether there was anything of archaeological interest there. Then I was able to try and identify archaeology from the natural geology using even more software.
Week three involved working the geoarchaeology department, where I mostly cleaned off sediment to see if there was any archaeology in all the mud! During this time I cleaned and sorted a cremation, where some pottery and some worked flint were present along with quite a bit of bone. At the end of the week I got to look at a couple of boreholes that had been collected and document what I saw.
In my final week, I started by entering some borehole data into Rockworks software so it could then be processed and then worked on a GIS of the area so that many of the different data sets could be overlaid.
Overall I have had a great four weeks here, learning how to use many different pieces of software and equipment. I have found it really useful for understanding how geophysics is used to find archaeology and I hope to continue studying geology in the future.”
Written by Caroline Burden