Remembering one’s shovel

Back after excavating for a week at St Johns near Kapunda. This site is being researched by a Flinders University PhD archaeology student, and is about five kilometres from my own research area of Baker’s Flat.

St Johns was one of the earliest Catholic parishes in South Australia, and was used first as a church and presbytery, then a school, and finally a girls’ reformatory. In the 1850s and early 1860s, the people on Baker’s Flat walked here to get Mass on Sundays. With a focus on landscape and gender archaeology, the research is centred around how the site evolved from a primarily male environment, to a place for community, and then to a female enclosed space. (De Leiuen 2013)

Fresh from this excavation, I thought I could make a few points about excavating in South Australia in April:

1. If all the adjoining fields have had their crops harvested and are now full of sheep, bring a fly net. There will be millions of flies, all desperate to explore your nose, ears and the back of your throat.

Essential field requirement - the fly net

Essential field requirement – the fly net

2. Being school holidays, you may have access to a (limited) supply of 15 year olds who will mattock, dig and sieve, provided they get paid in soft drink and crisps. Note judicious use of fly nets by said 15 year olds, who remembered their shovels.

Have shovels, will work

Have shovels, will work

3. Home made fruit cake is low GI, and will enable you to work for hours on just one decent-sized piece. And it tastes better outdoors.

Fruit cake destined for the field

Fruit cake destined for the field

De Leiuen, C. 2013 Research Design – St Johns, Kapunda. Unpublished report.

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