thinking about archaeology

On not being on the plinth

Plinth trowel

I was delighted to hear a couple of days ago than another archaeologist had suddenly heard she had a place (two weeks before her spot, at 2am on August 1 – she guesses someone else had wimped out). Christine Elgy will be there just three days after me. She has been digging for Worcestershire Historic Environment and Archaeology Service for four years, and plans, she tells me, “to do some finds washing and marking, and wear our logo hi-vis vest”. No doubt she will have a trowel. A real archaeologist!

Christine was destined to join the list of disappointed would-be plinthers. Noone who has yet been up on the plinth was known to me – no surprise. Yet by definition those we can name who sought a place but weren’t successful, are known to us, friends or relatives, the man behind the bar, people in the public eye. We on the plinth are an anonymous, representative stream; would-be plinthers are individuals with stories, the Hamlets to out Guildensterns. So let’s hear it for Antony Gormley and Tom Sutcliffe, Jon Snow and the Archers, Maev Kennedy, Christine Finn, Alison Lapper and Ed Vaizey. And who else? Surely a list of no-shows is an essential part of One & Other?

Here is Christine taking levels at a local environmental centre. A reconstructed Anglo-Saxon hall burned down, and volunteers from WHEAS are recording it – all part of the world of presentation and experimental archaeology.

(C) Christine Elgy

(C) Christine Elgy

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