Summer Dig

The paddock is still pitted with the evidence

of a nine-year-old’s attempt at archaeology.

Eleven years later,

bits of the broken crockery dug up hang about,

next to the oil tank, the bbq, inside the shed,

reminders of how we sifted through sand.


We were going to match time-team.

Discover the half-complete ruins

of an ancient civilisation’s round house.

Even now the most that’s been found

is one, dusty, bent up spoon

Dad brought in with him to the house.


For a while I wanted to be an archaeologist when I grew up, so The Overgrown Garden became a dig site for myself and my younger sister who I roped into help me with the shovel work. I’m still hugely interested in the past, something that comes across to anyone who’s had the unfortunate experience of starting up any conversation with me pertaining to medieval/early modern history. I did also want to be an architect for a while, until I realised that it would take seven years and even then I wouldn’t be designing buildings like Bath Abbey, or Notre Dame, so really what was the point?

Anywho… thank you to DVerse for the opportunity to final work this spoon into one of my posts. I’ve been trying to work out how to use it on Writing And Works since I came downstairs and discovered it on the kitchen window sill. Not that unusual really. My dad tends to pick up random bits and bobs from the fields as he works. [Farmer with an interest in history. I take after him with the history, not so much with the farming.]


  1. nice.. i find archaeology totally interesting – and here in basel around the münster hill they do quite some digging and found walls and graves from 70 b.c. – and love how each part they dig out tells a story… and wow – how cool would it be to design something like notre dame


    1. Very cool would be the answer I think.
      70BC, that’s fascinating. The town closest to where I live was a Roman fort originally, so the history is there, just not the ruins.


  2. I enjoyed your poem. It really would be so exciting, I think, to find some ruins. I don’t think much could be dug up where I live. Perhaps some native American arrowheads…but that’s about it.


  3. I think, as kids, we all dream of discovering something extraordinary. I no longer believe this will happen to me but I still have a keen interest in history.


  4. I remember being fascinated with this subject too when I was young but gave it up later on ~ I read history instead ~ But how cool to discover an ancient civilization ~ Nice to meet you ~


  5. today I was riding my bicycle along the I&M canal in Illinois for about 50 miles. Some sections are just meadow now. I thought how magical to take a metal detector and search for dropped pieces of time – to connect us to the past.

    I liked how your poem caught the magic of time and the past to the young.


  6. smiles. this is a cool piece…and made me think back to growing up myself….i wanted to be indiana jones…and we dug up a bunch of stuff that never really mattered to much but feeding our dreams….still it made me smile


    1. I doubt anything my sister and I would be worth much to anyone else, but we had fun doing it. We even tried to turn the dig site into an underground hideout at one point. That level of soil removal was a little beyond out abilities however.


    1. There wasn’t much to do around the house during my childhood, so going out to be an ‘archaeologist’ was a good way to keep out of my parents’ hair and kill a significant chunk of time.


  7. I like the immediacy of this and can picture the holes a nine year old would dig and the magical thinking that would inspire the dig. I too wrote about archeology for this prompt.


    1. How wonderful. It was a great way to spend time as a child, completely exhausting and somewhat filthy, but great fun. I’m glad that the piece create such a vivid picture for you. Thanks for the comment. 😀


  8. I love Time Team. My family love Time Team. I think each of us at heart is an archaeologist! On moving to new homes, we have always enjoyed unearthing the treasures of the garden – poison bottles, pieces of crockery, detritus from when part of the street was hit by a V2 at the end of World War Two… I was lucky enough to work on a dig when I was studying History A level – two weeks working with university students and professors, brushing away dust and dry earth from artefacts and skeletons of monks (it was an abbey destroyed during the dissolution of the monasteries). Your poem evoked some great (long-forgotten) memories. Thank you! And as for the spoon – someone in history used it, someone who had a life, loves and losses. For that reason, it is important.


    1. What a wonderful experience to work on a dig surrounding a dissolved monetary. Ecclesiastical history, and especially the Reformation have always held a huge place in my heart. It is an area of history that I adore.
      And indeed, the spoon is important in it’s own way. We believe it was probably left behind by one of the men who stayed in the RAF base that was spread across the local area. Thank you for such a fascinating comment. Did you continue history after A Level?


      1. Yes, it was a great experience. And they trusted us teenagers to show people around and explain things to them! I did wonder if it had the look of a military spoon – serviceable! I didn’t continue official studies, but it was part of my degree as a side-effect (law) and I have always enjoyed it as an interest throughout my life. I think if you forget history, then that has consequences for the future…


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