Why did you decide to volunteer abroad with Earthwatch in England?
Mae-Dell: I have always been interested in archaeology and excavating a Roman fort in England sounded like a blast.
Describe your day to day activities as a volunteer.
Mae-Dell: At the guesthouse (basically a boarding house) we were served breakfast and given a bag lunch to take to the site. We walked the few blocks to the site and worked there most of the day as directed by the archaeologist in charge. We were trained to do various jobs required and were assisted by locals who did the hardest work. From time to time we were driven to interesting sites and museums along Hadrian’s wall, since our site was at the eastern end of it.
Sometimes after work we were treated to dinner in a local pub by the museum director. Otherwise, we had dinner at our guesthouse. Some of the folks went o a pub later for the evening. We had time off to explore the local area. It’s a short trolley ride from the Venerable Bede’s Jarrow. Some evenings we had lectures or presentations at the local museum.
We were gradually uncovering 300 years of Roman occupation of the site. Sometimes we uncovered artifacts. At other times we were taking down the remains of buildings that had been used at various times for different occupations – sometimes warehouses to supply the forts along Hadrian’s Wall, and at other times there were barracks for the defensive troops.
How has this experience impacted your future?
Mae-Dell: It whetted my appetite for further volunteering – in some cases at archaeological sites, and in other cases quite different projects. I have made many friends around the world. The teams are always small and consist of interesting people with differing outlooks but similar interests.