Day 8 update — Digging in the rain, just digging in the rain

Phil Harding, President of Defence Archaeology Group

Phil Harding, President of Defence Archaeology Group

There are positives to digging in the rain… no really there are!

Firstly, the rain changes the look of the soil and with a bit of cleaning up in trench 21 it is now possible to see the faintest of traces of the ornamental garden, so that it shows up like a ghost garden and will invariably fade when the soil dries out. So we do effectively have our own secret garden. Magical stuff.

Secondly, rain, of course, makes digging easier! So much so that the team are working like mini JCB’s and are doing a sterling job.

Thirdly, for all you science buffs, water in solid increases its conductivity which is great news if you have a metal detector as this leads to readings at a greater depth.Once the rain subsided we managed to detect and unearth 12 more artefacts in trench 16 all thanks to conductivity changes. More rain please!

And finally, for anyone home sick on the dig the rain is reminding us of home. Thank goodness we packed the waterproofs.

Back to Monday’s update:

Today we welcomed Phil Harding to the dig. Phil is a well known face on Channel 4’s Time Team but Phil, who is president of the Defence Archaeology Group, is here to specifically work with the veterans. The Defence Archaeology Group and Operation Nightingale was founded in 2012 to utilise both the technical and social aspects of field archaeology in the recovery and skill development of injured soldiers.  It’s great to have such an experienced archaeologist with us and Phil’s support for our wounded troops through archaeology is inspirational. Welcome to Waterloo, Phil!

John Bryant

John Bryant

The Defence Archaeology Group is helping serving personnel and veterans like John Bryant. John served in the Household Cavalry and the Royal Tank Regiment and saw several tours of Iraq. It was while there that an explosion caused him to lose some of his hearing. He was medically discharged and received support from service charities like Help for Heroes who funded his state of the art hearing aids. These aids, which are hard to spot,were important for John’s confidence as he did not want people to see his disability and treat him differently.

John heard about the Defence Archaeology Group (DAG)from Help for Heroes and decided he wanted to get involved. This is the first time John has experienced an archaeological dig and confessed to knowing little about the process other than thinking he was going to dig some holes. A week and half on and John is enjoying the project immensely, learning new techniques and meeting new friends.

John said : “A week ago if you had asked me to talk about archaeology I wouldn’t have had a clue where to start. Now, I’m talking about layers, surveying, finds like I’ve done this before. I’ve found a skill that I enjoy and am looking forward to telling my children and my wife all about the project when I return.”

If you’d like to know more about DAG you can visit their website here

So we finished Monday looking a little bedraggled than when we began it but still smiling.

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