Life on Site
Come the end of June a ﬁeld on the outskirts of the small village of Sedgeford in North West Norfolk is transformed into home for the SHARP project. The horses that graze in Boneyard Field for the rest of the year are moved out and mobile cabins, toilets, showers, and kitchen units move in. The main marquee gets erected and the site is ready to accept volunteers and students from around the globe.
So what is life in the ﬁeld like? You can ﬁnd out more details on what our acclaimed kitchen produce in the Catering section but what about the rest?
Our working week runs from Sunday to Friday and our daily timetable looks like this:
07.30 – Breakfast
08.20 – Morning brieﬁng
08.30 – Work starts 10.30- 10.45 – Morning break
10.45 – Work 12.30-13.30 – Lunch
13.30 – Work 15.10-15.30 – Afternoon break
15.30 – Work
17.00 – Work ﬁnishes
18.00 – Dinner
There is a strict overnight curfew on site that does get enforced! We are expected to simmer down at around 10.30 p.m. and there should be absolute silence on site from 11.00 p.m. continuing until the generator starts in the morning at 07.00 a.m. Not a word, not a whisper, not on the site or on the tracks. It’s a hanging offence! We do have a party tent in the Chalk Pit, the only place where sounds don’t bounce around the valley, for those with the energy who are not content to retire at 11.00 p.m.…
We have to have rules, otherwise there would be chaos. We try to keep them to a minimum Access to the Old Village Hall is only permitted when a supervisor is present. Everyone needs to bring their own plates dishes etc. and is asked to wash same after each meal and put them away. We also ask that everyone on site helps to keep the camping site and the excavation site tidy.
From our kitchen the catering team, led by Jannine, produce a breakfast of porridge, cereals, toast, fruit and yogurt, a lunch of soup, sandwiches and salads, and a hot dinner with pudding. That’s every day for six weeks for up to 75 people. Naturally they do require a little help with the clearing up and people who are not on courses will be asked to take a turn with this.
The toilets and showers are situated a short distance down a track away from the main site and it can get very muddy when it rains so it pays to bring those wellies!
The only electricity on site comes from a generator which runs power to the kitchen and the Marquee, so a torch for any late visits to the toilet is a must too! It will also come in handy when returning from the pub.
In addition to Boneyard Field, SHARP has the use of Sedgeford Old Village Hall, by kind permission of the Campbell Family, which houses our archives. Here we have a landline (contributions expected if you need to use this). There is also a washing machine and tumble dryer that can be used if you are on a long stay or have a disaster (like a leaking tent). Contributions towards the cost of running these are also welcome. Access to the Old Village Hall is only permitted when a supervisor is present.
As you can see from the timetable, our working day ﬁnishes at 17.00 and we try and arrange a variety activities for your evening entertainment. The entertainment schedule usually runs something like this:
We lay on a BBQ after your induction site tour where you can get to know everyone else.
A ﬁlm (voted for by yourselves is shown in the main marquee).
An ultra-competitive team quiz for incredible prizes and trophies…
Throughout our excavation season, we run a series of lectures at the nearby St. Mary’s church which feature a range of stimulating speakers on both local and more general archaeological and historical themes.
Our entertainment night. Depending on what the weather conditions are this can either be a trip to the nearby beach, football in the local park or a trip out to the cinema to catch a ﬁlm.
We normally hold a discussion meeting. This can cover updates on speciﬁc area of the project’s work and research and the chance for everyone to review the week’s major ﬁnds.
The ﬁnal night of the week is reserved for our Punch Party. These always have a fancy dress theme which is announced at the beginning of the week!
Although Boneyard Field is our home for the summer, we are all its guests. As such, keeping the site and adjoining area tidy and free from litter is of paramount importance.
Importantly, the site itself is in a ﬁeld surrounded by woodlands and open countryside and people are camping in tents, so we have a strict policy on smoking and open ﬂames. There is a designated area on the site where smoking is permitted but elsewhere (including inside of tents) it’s a no-no. Likewise naked ﬂames of all types are not allowed on site.
Life on site is a very relaxing and stimulating experience. SHARP people come from the other side of the world and from around the corner. From all ages and from all backgrounds. People just like you.