Ye Olde Linoleum Shoppe

Tuesday 27 March 2012


Allow me to be frank (and afterwards you can be Lily-Maria) -a tidy excavation is a Godly excavation - and in this new (shameful rip-off of the 'fashion tips') series I will be examining site hygiene and order, I will (if you can stomach the metaphor) be running a cotton gloved fingertip below the greasy, sagging underbelly of archaeological excavations and holding it up to the light in what I hope will prove to be a highly instructional flock of blog postings.
To begin, I will be looking at the matter of site huts and the best way of  keeping an excavation team, clean, fed and sheltered. Take for example fig. 1 below, from the outside this appears to be a jolly gaggle of site huts on what must no doubt be an industrious and reasonably well managed site.
Industrious? Well managed? No! No! No! Quite the opposite I'm afraid. This assemblage of temporary structures belies a site where the archaeologists have lost the run of themselves. A site where archaeologists, hopped-up on a pay rate exceeding two peanuts a day, have daydreamed themselves onto a par with such noble grandees as builders, gong scourers and circus freaks. Let me be frank (and afterwards we will play horsey) we are archaeologists - we are lowborn muttonheads who have no need of such high born havens. What we deserve are the fair hills and the cool wind alongside the company of little men in the rushy glen - and fig. 2 below shows how this is best achieved . . .
When an archaeologist walks onto a site with the accommodation shown above  he/she knows that those in charge truly understand their needs and desires!  Yes, Charlie Cheeseparer McBastard, the CEO with the business degree, running (or more correctly milking,) your archaeological company for all it's worth really does know the score. Why provide toilet facilities when it cheaper to see his employees go 'bake a brownie' in a bush. Why provide a tea hut when the entire crew can take shelter under a warm cow pattie?
And while we're on the subject of tea? A nice cup of Kiki Dee anyone? Take a gander at fig. 3 below, is it a good tea set-up? Go on have a guess . . . you know you want to . . .
If you answered 'Yes it looks like a good orchestration of tea facilities,' I'm afraid the suits at head office will be spilling their two kilo stash of cocaine everywhere as their knees jerk with hilarity. Let me be frank (and afterwards we can both squeeze into the football jersey,) the tea facilities that us crusty archaeologists really merit are shown in fig. 4, - if you're in doubt about this why not ask the big boys who make sure the profit margins are met.
Now dearies - a slight change of gear from satire to surrealism - drying rooms tend to be a rare bird on excavations, not because of pinch-farting overseers though. No, the absence of these beauties is all down to a certain Professor Ed Bourke, who, while excavating on Skellig Michael, asked for a drying room to be helicoptered out to the rock (he was experiencing difficulties with his crew becoming overly moist with excitement.) The hut was duly flown out and Prof. Bourke was most disappointed when fig. 5 arrived out. He felt it lacked beef, so he altered it . . .
Once the adjustments were made (see fig. 6) the good Professor set about drying his parcel of tuna sandwiches which a student had sneezed upon with gusto. The inevitable happened and Skellig Michael now lies nine miles north of it's map position. Hence the inbred fear of drying rooms among archaeologists.
And now swiftly back to satire mode - Rare as drying huts are, there is one sort of hut you wont ever see on a site, the hut that sits in the office crunching numbers, the hut that makes archaeologists and archaeology do with less so there will be more for them, the hut that has as much interest in the past as Catholic clergy have in celibacy . . .
Ooo-err that was a long one.


  1. Nailed me McHale - bang to rights. But remember that archaeologists are like chickens - they get what they deserve. ha

  2. Indeedy so McHale, and the more they squark the more they can take.
    'as much interest in the past as Catholic clergy have in celibacy' is my new favourite.
    where can i get the t-shirt?

  3. Glad you like it. I've no intention of going into merchandising until I'm desperate (which should be sometime next week.)

  4. Where can you buy Bosco mugs

  5. Bosco mugs are a collectors item now (I have one and it's not for sale.) It is still possible to buy glove puppet Boscos, but they don't work very well as hot drink containers.



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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.