Describing my experience with Oxford Archaeology as positive would probably be an understatement. Definitely not what I expected when I applied for the summer internship offered every year to masters' students by the Oxford University School of Archaeology, together with Oxford Archaeology. The opportunity of learning more about the mysterious and intimidating 'commercial archaeology' was too captivating to let it go. Especially when the end of your degree is getting close, together with the need to start thinking about future career plans. And when you want to work as an archaeologist, a career in this field is among the main options presented to you. Reading for a masters in classical archaeology and focusing on Bronze Age Aegean archaeology, I had to refresh my knowledge about British archaeology and in particular prehistory, which, to be honest, was much more interesting than I remembered!
I was definitely taken on my word when, at the interview, I suggested that I was 'jolly happy' to work in different departments. After a first week excavating at Sutton Courtenay Lane, I moved to the finds department, where I could do some find processing and deposition. The following two days attempting to re-fit some Neolithic pots made me discover a passion for both prehistoric pottery and puzzles. The next stage saw me joining the archive department to make sure that the sites' DGS were recorded both on the paperwork and on the digital database. More data-entering for me back at the postexcavation department, where I recorded the shape and dimension of more than 400 postholes from Crab Hill, Wantage. During my last week at OA, I got some experience with the environmental department, both sieving various samples in the shed and later sorting them out. Finally, I loved carrying out some outreach work, helping to organise the Open Doors event taking place at the Oxford Castle.
In my opinion, one of the major benefits of the internship was the opportunity of experiencing aspects of archaeology, which rarely occur in academia. Understanding what post-excavation activities involve makes you understand and appreciate more the activities conducted on site. Moreover, I now know what working in commercial archaeology would be like and that, considering that these four weeks have gone much faster than I ever thought possible, I would definitely enjoy a career in this field.
I want to thank not only everyone who's been supervising me, answering all my questions and taking me through the various aspects of their jobs, but also all the lovely people that I've met at Oxford Archaeology, who've made me feel welcome at every moment.