Humans of the Trench

At the heart of the dig here at Berkeley are the students; for 3 weeks, every Monday to Friday over 60 students gather outside Senate house at 8.45am to get on a coach in the name of archaeology. We arrive knowing the days finds are as unpredictable as the weather, and we arm ourselves with a bucket, trowel, shovel and gloves before descending into the trench. Each student has their own story of how they came to archaeology and here are just a few of Berkeley's students.


Amy is a second year student who was first drawn to archaeology because of the people she met in the field. She enjoys the open community archaeologists thrive in, and likes their (literal) down-to-earth nature. She appreciates that it is an active discipline, including lots of outside work but remains an academic discipline. Amy grew up watching Time Team and has always loved that archaeology can provide an honest narrative of history.

James is a first year student who has had an interest in early history from a young age. His favourite part of archaeology is the act of excavating, where there is always the chance you can find something that hasn't been touched in hundreds (or thousands) of years; something that was lost, discarded or forgotten. He enjoys that anthropology and archaeology cover such a wide range of subjects and that each unit he's taken this year has explored different cultures and periods of time.

Mia's a second year student who originally applied for straight anthropology. It was only after receiving an offer from the University and sitting in on a lecture by Dr Lucy Cramp that inspired her to switch to the archaeology and anthropology degree. She thinks that when she was younger she may have been subconsciously influenced by the adventures of Indiana Jones. History was her original passion and she explored a range of other disciplines before circling back around to history and subsequently archaeology.


Ed, a third year, discovered archaeology when he started looking to apply for universities and courses. He's always loved history and stumbled upon archaeology as it is the more physical side of history. He never wanted to do a desk job, and he finds archaeology suits him as he's able to track the progress, and see the results of his hard work in the trench. Before starting the degree he took part in the excavation of a Roman Villa; which, although interesting, didn't offer the variation of finds from different time periods that Berkeley does. Ed feels that Berkeley is the place where he learnt how to be an archaeologist.


Hannah has already graduated and is back with us this year due to her love of archaeology and her fond memories of the dig when she was an undergraduate herself. Hannah has known she wanted to be an archaeologist since she was 5 years old, when she can remember thinking she would love to find artefacts similar to those she saw in museums. When reflecting on her time at Berkeley she said she loved meeting fellow archaeologist students outside of her year. The strongest friendships she made at uni were the ones she formed in the trench. Berkeley will always be one of Hannah's favourite digs.