Sunday, 8 August 2010

Childhood revisited

Yesterday I did something a bit different. Or more accurately something I haven't done for quite some time - I went to visit an archaeological excavation. One of the local primary schools is due to be extended and as it's already known to be built on a Roman fort, any further work at the school requires an archaeological assessment to be done first. So I thought I would go up and have a look, not having anything better to do with my day.

It was pretty interesting, although Time Team it wasn't! But perhaps you're wondering what that has to do with the title of the post. Well, here it is. My dad was an archaeologist (no wonder my spelling is generally pretty good, imagine having to spell that from an early age!) and quite often we would join him at some excavation or other. Since he was a specialist in Roman archaeology in Scotland, and in particular in determining the extent of Roman penetration into northern Scotland, much of what we saw or were present at the excavations of were temporary marching camps. In other words, a field with a ditch round it - and if you were lucky you might find a gateway! Fascinating as these are to archaeologists and historians in tracing the Roman occupation and penetration of northern Britain, to a small child they can be deeply boring. I suspect the most fun and excitement my sister and I had was falling into the trenchs!

But yesterday's excavation was fascinating - not just for the finds, but to be told that actually it was my Dad that discovered it in the first place and undertook the first exploratory trenches. The person I spoke to even told me that the woman living in the house next to the school has photographs of Dad digging there way back when!

The team working there just now seemed genuinely excited to be talking to 'Gordon Maxwell's daughter' - and I was ever so proud of him! So my next task now, is to get him to visit before they finish the excavations!

And by the way, he's also been on Time Team! But no, I haven't met Tony Robinson.

1 comment:

ebbandflo said...

Thanks for cataloging dad's digs! I usually remember them as damp cold fields but there were some memorable summer ones too. I can remember having a lovely time, chickenpox and all, in the horsey field at Inveresk, and then a lovely summer day 'divining' ditches in a hay field in Fife.

PS: tut tut! we were forbidden to fall in the trenches - it would destroy the good clean edge