In the beginning...

Recognise this field?

Here are a few clues: delete the poplar trees, add a marquee on the right, scatter the far end with colourful tents and dig about 30,000 tonnes of soil out of the foreground.

Yes, it is the Boneyard, the last winter pre-SHARP. Some of you may recognise the Enviro Tree-to-be, which even then had its characteristic drunken lean.

Here it is again in Week 1, '96, when the poplar trees were being felled. The photo is grainy and the colour is saturated but you'll see the stakes that delineated the original 20m x 30m Old Trench. Yes, it was stripped off by hand. Archaeologists were harder and fitter (and the Project was poorer) in the old days.

Here's Old Trench, likely around the end of Week 2 or 3 '96. Though some promising patches have revealed themselves, with possible features running through them, still no sign of the expected burials, despite a couple of sondages sunk on the eastern baulk. A lone sad figure on the right wonders where all the skellies are.

And here is our first view of the campsite. More on that to follow. A glimpse of the Enviro Tree again shows that, until the season just gone, it has always draped its gentle shade (and its sap and crap) over SHARP's Boneyard campers.

In case you were wondering how, in those pre-drone days, we captured such an elevated view of the field, the next photo reveals the first in SHARP's proud tradition of dodgy, rickety and generally regulatory undesirable scaff towers.

As the season went on - and the skellies finally started to reveal themselves from Week 4 - the trench settled into what has become a well-rehearsed routine of trowelling, cleaning, bucketing and barrowing.

And where did those barrow-loads end up? Here's the first photo of another long-gone but once-famous Boneyard occupant: the Spoilheap. It gets an initial capital because in its day it was worthy of its own postcode. Once upon a time it was possible to stand on top of it without a day's trek and the assistance of a team of Sherpas.