Written by Amy Potts
University offers opportunities to go to new places, try new things, and learn, this is what has led me to be sitting in a mini bus at an unholy hour in the morning with a group of strangers (along with two people I already knew) heading 5 and a half hours up north to York to complete my first ever block taught unit.
For those of you who haven’t experienced or heard of block learning, let me give you a quick summary: you cover the entire unit in one week. 9 to 5 days (well 9:30 till 4:30, but you get my drift). But why up in York? Because, based in York is one of the best conservation labs in the country, who also have connections with Bournemouth University. So it was unsurprising that to complete Management of Archaeological Materials we would be heading up to study for the week. We would be taught by the archaeological unit who ran and owned the conservations labs in York. While the week itself mainly consisted of lectures there were three very interesting “trips”, not including the evenings we had free.
So, on Monday morning I piled into a mini bus and settled down for a long ride.
In an attempt to break up the long journey north we made a rather large detour to RAF Cosford in Shropshire, to see the conservation of various aircraft. Then after lunch, it was back in to the van and onwards to York. Wednesday came around and in the afternoon we had a trip to the conservation lab, where the team work on large artefacts. We saw artefacts from a range of sites including: Starr Carr, Must Farm, and the Swash Channel Wreck.
By the end of the week (throwing in a trip to the movies, meal out, couple of trips to the pub, and a stop off at a lovely bookshop – where I left with my purse considerably lighter than I went in, and with my arms full of books) it was time to go home. But as we were so far north anyway, we made a “small” detour further up north, to see the HMS Trincomalee. The HMS Trincomalee is one of the oldest warships afloat in Britain, and we had a chance to explore before a really interesting chat with the curator of the ship. Then, a stop of at McDonald’s before the long journey home.
All in all it was a fantastic week. I got to meet some really interesting people, made new friends, learnt a lot, tried new food, and saw some really cool stuff. Definitely worth the long car trip!