‘I wish I could have done that’ is a wish that many archaeologists encounter when meeting the public. This was no different when my Grandmother and Grandfather come out to visit our site at Mallala on Thursday. My Grandmother was very excited to see what a group with their heads down a hole, were digging in a trench.
My Grandparents are fans of Time Team and find it hard on the show to be able to see the layers in the trench, and Grandmother was fascinated with being able to actually see the different layers. She also found it interesting that we dig so slowly and by one layer at a time. She also found it interesting that we can see and tell the different layers and then record them into our records.
My Grandfather soon made himself some new friends and helped out with the sieving; he was there for about an hour asking all kinds of questions about the artefacts we had found and the sieves we were using. His new friends were more than happy to explain the whole process and were pleased when I told them later that he had enjoyed his visit.
My Grandmother and I moved on from the trench to the artefact cleaning group, we spent about twenty minutes there looking at artefacts. I was amazed at how excited she was about seeing tiny pieces of old plate—we must just be so used to all the pieces now that we only get excited when we see a diagnostic piece!
It is interesting meeting members of the public, and how they get so excited about our normal, everyday, basic activities. I am always fascinated about how they can get so wide eyed at something that is so common to us.