Ye Olde Linoleum Shoppe

Wednesday 25 January 2012


Today, fellow trash sifters, I will be educating you in the recondite ways of tarot cards and their use in a post-excavation context. The Bourke-Hayden Deck is presently the most popular available - named after it's doughty developers Mr. Ed Bourke (currently working as a kitchen porter for The Brothel of Public Works) and Alan Hayden (last seen marching into battle brandishing a pork sausage during the Abyssinian Chutney Wars - God Speed Alan, we're missing you already!)
By dealing oneself a hand from the deck the true nature of the site you have just butchered can be divined without the need for time-consuming research, expensive specialist reports and other related frivolities.
The three cards shown above are part of the major arcana used to augur the precise function of your site. Did people live here? Did they work here? Or did they perform unspeakable acts of worship here, involving sweaty undulating bodies and hats filled with butter? The cards will reveal all!
The positive upshot of the tarot method is that the standard lynchpins of post-ex can be disposed of - insipid context sheets can be torched, bags of fragmenting pottery composted and site plans rolled up tightly and used to flay a loved one's appreciative buttocks. A pat on the back Bourke and Hayden for putting a twinkle on everyone's cheeks!
The age of the site is intuited through a series of era cards - three of which are illustrated above. A single one of these beauties will tell you what date the site is without recourse to soggy dendro samples or bags of fiddly Carbon 14 grot.
And, needless to say, when the cards have spoken, write it all up, using words such as 'dynamics,' 'mechanism,' 'strategy' and 'landscapes' to secure your report's status among all the other numbing waffle written by every other archaeologist lost south of their own coccyx.
Some cards explicate the technique to be pursued in the writing up process. For instance 'The Stars' card indicates one should stop writing, raid that half-fermented bucket of sloe gin in the attic and enjoy the delicate web of lights it throws before one's eyes. 'The Moon' card advocates going to bed (and hopefully some enthusiastic fairies will have written your report by the time you awake.) 'The Sun,' means get some crusty hippies to take part in a 'sit in' on your site and then phone up the newspapers and assert the precious past has been prostituted. If your hand should contain the sun, moon and stars, ring up the developer and promise him the report in the morning, then drink a gallon of kahlua and hide in the coal shed for a month.
Other cards of note are: 'The Levels' meaning - check the woefully inaccurate survey work and vow to disembowel the draughtsman; 'The Lovers,' - just there to remind you of (and make you regret) that pie-eyed (and very licky) snog you had with the ugliest whacko on the crew during the end of site party; 'The Accountant' - means it's time to do what your mother always wanted you to - get a real job in an accountancy firm (no doubt cleaning their toilets.)

So there you have it, that strange alchemy which turns age-old monuments into spoil heaps has finally been tamed (some would say gelded) by the thunderous Bourke-Hayden Tarot Deck.
Now let's all join hands and sing: 'It's a Long Way to Tipperary.'

Jusqu'a  la semaine prochaine mes petits lapins.
And next week it's 'World Diggers Day.'


  1. The dogs bollox - maybe?

  2. Sorry, I have to draw the line somewhere . . .

  3. Oh where can I get a set...I have a bastard of a report to write and this may JUST save my bacon

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I am a descended from a long line of conga dancers. I occasionally wear shoes. I gave up going to the toilet twenty years ago - it's a filthy habit. I have a pet bunny called Mucky - he's a filthy rabbit.