Reminiscences of sunnier climes

Ponte della Maddalena (Ponte del Diavolo), near Borgo a Mozzano - on holiday 2008

Ponte della Maddalena (Ponte del Diavolo), near Borgo a Mozzano – on holiday 2008

The weather outside is turning grim as I sit in the office. My desk is on the top floor of a cavernous mill building and whilst the long-johns don’t seem to be working I shiver slightly as I weld my hands onto a small fan heater. It may be hypothermia setting in but my mind wanders back to sunnier times!

I would normally be feeling sorry for my site colleagues around now as they are mostly all out digging in the snow/rain/mud, but the central heating in here has been broken for several days.

So I post here a single image, the Devil’s Bridge north of Lucca in Tuscany. It evokes fond memories of ice cream, hills, sunshine, lemoncello, scorpions, and badly-built Fiat hire cars etc etc. Depending on how long the heating is off I may post further holiday snaps.


Preston …. and beyond, the gateway to adventure!

Preston & beyond

Preston & beyond

Another day, another new upland project and another 5am start. I was quite taken by the thought of to ‘Preston¬†& beyond[!]’, and the potential for adventures to be had ahead after my commute. I should have called my blog something similar in a cryptic fashion.

It is also pleasing to see that winter has arrived with some nice blasts of icy rain this morning. Not of course because I’m obsessed by the weather or anything ūüôā

Drink Drink Wink Wink

Snowdonia Ale please!

A decade of clambering through the hills has equipped me with a distinct end of day post-surveying thirst. Through much personal trial and error the best après ramble beverages known to man are thus:

  • Summer surveying = A pint consisting of one Britvic orange and one pineapple juice¬†topped up with lemonade, closely followed by a pint of¬†the hand-pulled ale of your choice.
  • Winter surveying = A pint of Guinness.
  • What not to drink = A Brandy Alexander.


It has just come to attention via a work colleague that it is International Pirate Day today 19th September. Completely by accident I am actually wearing relevantly themed apparel!


For anyone interested the t-shirt is uploaded on Threadless, a great website!


Hi there and welcome to my, as yet, pretty empty blog. This is just a quick post to explain how the blog got started and where we go from here.

Snowdonia Ale please!

As an introduction I would say¬†I¬†have been slogging my way¬†out in the wild¬†since 2001,¬†for the most part undertaking landscape archaeology projects in northern England and Wales (with a bit in Scotland) . In all of that time, as with every other archaeologists, I have often been asked the questions¬†‘Have you found any treasure?’, closely followed by ‘Have you been on Time Team?’, and between gnashed teeth I can honestly say negative to both questions. That is because I look at lumps and bumps on the ground, rarely picking up my trowel in anger to ineffectually prod at the earth. I look for any surface evidence of past human activity that has left tangible archaeological monuments, settlements, field-systems, and¬†in some instances whole landscapes behind. That is mostly not what Joe Public understand as ‘Treasure’ but with a bit of explanation about landscapes that often changes their perception and I get a ‘Wow that sounds like a really interesting job!’.

Being an arch procrastinator, and not the greatest self-publicist I have shied away from letting people know the ins and outs of all the varied and interesting jobs I have done and am in the process of undertaking, as part of my job as a Project Officer working for Oxford Archaeology North. Hopefully this blog will enlighten people to what is happening out there in my corner of the world.