Saturday, 12 June 2010

A Troglodyte of Survey Equipment

Some years ago (more than I care to work out) I was working as a trench supervisor on a training dig excavating a medieval moated manor. The Site Director "rented" my trench to a TV crew to film a children's maths programme; the premise being what was the probability of finding a) a human femur or b) a red telephone whilst excavating the trench?

Initially I refused to allow the actors and crew into what I considered a very important trench (gatehouse and bridge across the moat). However the Site Director pointed out that the dig was broke, the TV people were paying well (very unusual for a TV company), and most importantly that I was replaceable (a matter of opinion) and that the money was not! The outcome being that they were allowed to bury both phone and femur in my trench and film their recovery,etc.

As part of an opening shot the Director asked if I could do anything to "make the background more interesting?", my reply to the effect that wasn't "Yorkshire interesting enough for him?" was not received well! After a period of non-communication and several harrumphs (not mine) it was agreed by all that this particular part of Yorkshire was flat and possibly not particularly photogenic. The Director said he needed a bit of height and interest, and that he'd seen a "Troglodyte" in the stores and could that not be sorted out for inclusion in the shot? I endeavored to keep a straight face whilst examining my nails, my shoes, the ground, the sky, and finally the horizon and the request was repeated "a Troglodyte, you know?". Suddenly it dawned on me that he meant the Theodolite! It was duely set up in the background to make Yorkshire more interesting. Since when I've always thought of survey equipment in association with troglodytes!

A Troglodyte sans Survey Equipment


  1. ha ha I love your stories. Great illustration too. An archaeology book in the making?

  2. Such fun post and entertaining story! Love the cute illustration ^^

  3. I can totally identify with this one - archaeology is always misunderstood:D They are even trying to change the way it is spelled here in the U.S. (archeology). I really love your stories, keep writing. I also love your banner - can't imagine anything much more I guess that quote must be true - speaking of frogs I have been hearing one in my field all afternoon, must like all the rain.

  4. Keep drawing and writing, your blog is very entertaining and interesting at the same time!

  5. I'm having a great time, visiting here!