I’m currently a BA Archaeology and Ancient History student with University of Leicester, about to move on to an MA in the Classical Mediterranean. My dissertation is focusing on the representation of Spartan women in Homer and the way that this affected the wider perception of Sparta in Classical Greece.
What does your role involve?
When I first began as a volunteer I was manipulating photographs using Photoshop ready to go on the PAS database alongside the matching records. I then moved on to taking my own photographs and then to creating my own records. A typical day volunteering for me will usually involve photographing and Photoshopping a finder’s objects, examining and identifying them, and creating and uploading the accompanying record onto the database.
What area of history/archaeology are you most interested in?
I have a wide area of interest but mostly enjoy focusing on the ancient world and in particular the Greeks. I do maintain a lively interest in several areas right up to the modern period, and keep up a level of archaeological practice by getting involved in digs with Solihull Archaeology Group throughout the summer months.
Why did you start volunteering for the PAS?
Before I decided to focus on the ancient history side of my degree, I had decided to do my dissertation on the ritual nature of item deposition and hoards in Bronze and Iron Age Britain. I have a real enthusiasm for the Bronze Age in general and while I can study it from books for Greece which is my real passion when we look at Bronze Age Britain we’ve got little choice but to turn to the objects. Unfortunately I quickly realised that whilst I had the field experience in archaeology what I was lacking was practical experience in object handling and identification that I would need to be able to fully explore and interpret the finds I would need to study. Volunteering for the PAS is a great way of gaining the skills and knowledge that I needed to write my original dissertation, and hopefully means that I can return to the topic in the future.
What do you enjoy most about volunteering for the PAS?
I’ve gained some fantastic practical experience in object handling and identification. I also get to work alongside some lovely staff and fellow volunteers and have felt that my personal and professional development is being actively encouraged, which you definitely don’t get in all volunteer roles!
What is your favourite find from the West Midlands that has been recorded on the PAS database and why?
As yet I wouldn’t say I have an absolutely favourite find – I’ve seen so many new things that I’m not always sure what to look at first! If I had to pick though I would probably say some of the toy cannons, like this one. While they’re a relatively common find, I think that objects such as these demonstrate why the PAS is so valuable, in that they show the mundane aspects of life that we don’t always see through the more glamorous treasure finds.