Oxford Archaeology is 40!

To celebrate we have launched this website to showcase our achievements over four decades of archaeology in this country and beyond. You will find stories and pictures from the directors and members of staff, and from clients, partners and the volunteers who have worked with us.

Each week we will be adding new material. Check out our major excavations, most exciting discoveries, key publications and the main events in our 40-year history!

Gill Hey

Yes, I remember dawn at Appleford, John. When they weren't drowned out by rain drumming on the tent canvas, you could hear the larks singing their hearts out. That was until the conveyor started up at about 6 am – the sound of that chug, chug, chug of the empty belt, before the slightly fatter sound about half an hour later as the gravel started going through – will live with me to the end of my days. And then it was up and to the Elsan and a quick wash in a bowl of cold water before trying to find my breakfast stuff amongst the foetid pile of detritus from the night before in the communal caravan. (I kid you not, oh younger diggers.) Another day of digging on the Thames gravels stretched before me, and little did I suspect that this would represent a significant proportion of my future working life. It is powerful example of the ability of the mind to obliterate the memory of pain, for what I remember most about that site was trowelling vast areas (when was the last time people did that?) and I got to do the bit that was thought to be the central area of the settlement - ie there was nothing there! (And it was a Romano-British settlement at that.)

But there was the camaraderie, the nights in the pub, the benders in that caravan and those long weekend treks across the country to party with comrades digging elsewhere – Hailes Abbey, Rudston, Sulgrave, I remember them well! The times have gone but the friends still remain.