When I left Canada 72 days ago (I know! 72 days!!!), I had high expectations for my summer. I was about to see some of the most iconic and awe-inspiring sites of the ancient world while also exploring and learning about the fantastic Dutch, Greek, British, and Irish cultures. Despite these high standards, my expectations were swiftly and definitely superseded almost the moment I landed. By the time I had arrived at Vindolanda, I had seen, learned, tasted, smelled, felt, and experienced so many things. As it turned out, Vindolanda wasn’t just the icing on the Eurotrip cake but a brand new, second cake that was just as delicious and fulfilling as the one before.
This year, we had a fantastic cohort of students. As a TA and alumnus of the field school, it was so pleasing to watch these intelligent, engaged, and excited students grow, learn, and bond with their classmates, with me, with the professors, and with the volunteers and staff on site. We even have an honorary field school member from Australia (shout-out to Isabelle). They were some of the most polite, attentive, and active students I have seen and they truly made field school a delight this year. As a thanks to them, I wanted to share some of my favourite memories from this season:
- Sarah revealing her true, deep, booming voice to tell Alex from across the trench that she had found “POTENTIAL TEETH.” (Seriously, if you have ever heard Sarah talk, she dropped about 10 octaves when she said “teeth”)
- Religiously watching bad British reality TV with Justine and Christine after a long and satisfying day of excavation (religiously is probably an understatement to be honest)
- Playing “pottery” or “nottery” while sorting (rocks look a lot like pots) and other interesting trench talk with Shannon
- Sam teaching me the wonders of the “buff,” a cloth head band/scarf/balaclava/bandana that you can see me regularly wearing to keep my unruly hair up during excavation. I must say that I am a buff convert
- Enjoying both the Minster of York and also Cassidy’s enjoyment of her first pride outside of it
- Approaching and petting a cow for the first time in my life with the guidance of Meghan who is more farm trained than I ever will or want to be
- Discovering that Ben and I have the same, but weird, sense of humour while digging in the ditch
- Coining the phrase “Goop Line” with Cody and Christine when describing the wet mud in the North Field
Vindolanda is amazing because of its preservation, its history, and its beautiful scenery but the best part of digging is the people involved:
You may have read some of the previous farewell posts but I sincerely want to thank all of the students this year for such a great time. Of course, that was enhanced by the amazing staff at Vindolanda who provided such a welcoming, funny, and educational environment in the trenches.
Andy always kept us in high spirits even when we were digging through wet clay in the rain. Lauren introduced us to post excavation and even took time out of her busy day to talk to students interested in her line of work. Marta was incredibly entertaining but also an excellent teacher, all while driving a dumper and looking badass doing it.
To those who donate to field school, I express my sincere gratitude because your donations make it possible for people to have opportunities like this and I know firsthand that it has opened eyes and doors to future career possibilities, a gift that doesn’t come easily in University.
To our loyal readers, thank you for sticking with us and following the blog. You support the field school in so many ways and I sincerely hope you enjoyed the blog this year!
Finally, saving the best for last, I am so thankful to Beth and Alex for reasons too numerous to list. They graciously invited me back and I can say without a doubt that this has been the best summer of my life. Through their good cheer, their excellent teaching, and their flawless planning and organization are what make field school the remarkable experience that it is.