thinking about archaeology

Radio in the snow

Everyone in Britain’s posting snow photos, so here are a couple of mine. Having sold my 4-wheel-drive car (good move) and anyway being very busy with the next issue of British Archaeology which goes to the printer soon, my excursions are brief. Above is a view across Marlborough from St Mary’s church, towards Savernake forest, and below looking down the High Street after the A4 had been cleared. If it looks cold, it is.

The snow is lovely, and of course my three-year-old is having a great time with it, but it doesn’t help work. I’m supposed to be at Sutton Hoo on Saturday to record an interview with Martin Carver, for one of two programmes going out on Radio 4 on February 10 and 17. But it doesn’t look as if we’ll be able to get there this week. Weather hasn’t been a strong point with this project: when we went down to Maiden Castle in late December to interview Niall Sharples, it was so wet and windy we drove straight back into Dorchester – but we got there in the end, and Niall was great.

In these two programmes I’m asking what happens when archaeologists return to excavate major sites a generation or so after earlier projects, and why they can come up with quite different interpretations and ideas. I hope people will find it as interesting as I do. We have some great archive recordings from the 1930s digs, and I interviewed people who saw both of those earlier excavations.

Meanwhile, we got confirmation only on January 4 (when people at the BBC got back to work after the break) that Radio 4 wanted to commission a quite different programme, for broadcast near the beginning of February. This is great of course, but it leaves even less time for walks in the snow!

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