In what has become a well-worn ritual over the past 22 summers, members of the SHARP team arrived over the past week to set up for the 2017 season, which kicks off today.
The job of converting a grassy meadow into a working archaeological and camping site is enormous, but fortunately plenty of hands were around to take it on. We were hampered a little by over 30 hours of mid-week rain which dampened more than just the landscape!
Nevertheless, the work went on. Unpacking, re-fitting, repairing, finding, cleaning and distributing. The catering staff decided last year’s wooden spoons would become a ritual sacrifice to cleanliness and health in 2017, so they helped to cook Tuesday night’s dinner in a slightly different way to usual.
Wednesday, after relentless overnight and all day rain that brought damp tents, clothes, socks and moods (not to mention loosening the roots of the Enviro Tree) was something of a trial. Fortunately good company and marshmallows kept the home fires burning.
The Enviro Tree, saved from face-planting into Boneyard by its own branches, stayed put long enough for Fiona to move her tent safely. So far it remains in place. Firewood will likely be its fate, so we may soon sadly farewell a long-term Boneyard landmark.
Despite the rain, there was still plenty of work, discussion and planning to do, including multiple meetings, formal and informal, to ensure we’d meet our goals.
The work pressure was increased a little this year by the need to keep Friday free for our first team induction day. This was a whole-day event, conducted by and for supervisory team members, and covering multiple topics including training, teamwork and leadership. 23 team members attended and all agreed it was a very worthwhile exercise, and a good investment of time that should pay off in the season to come.
By the time the Week 1 volunteers started arriving yesterday, everything was essentially ready to go, and there was even a chance to relax in the very welcome return of summer sun.
The new arrivals for Saturday evening introductions and barbecue enjoyed a sunny warm evening which promised to kick off a great first week.
Here’s looking forward to great things in Season 22!
There are still places most weeks for our basic archaeology course (BERT) and specialist training in areas such as human remains and osteology, environmental archaeology and medieval landscape. If you’re keen, check out the website at sharp.org.uk and come join us on the Boneyard!