Universiteit Leiden

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Field school 1 update

21 april 2021

Dear Field School 1 students,
 
As you probably already heard, Field School 1 is really going to happen between 17 May and 25 June(!) In this e-mail we already like to already inform you on some important aspects of the coming Field School. Also, if you have not enrolled in USIS yet, please do so as soon as possible as from now on weekly updates on the field school will appear in Brightspace.
This year’s field school will consist out of two main parts: first a week of fieldwork on a real excavation followed by a second week of data processing and reporting at the Van Steenis building in Leiden. Because of the ongoing restrictions due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Field School 1 is going to be a bit different from former editions with some extra challenges for both staff and students. This will result in all students staying at our campsite during the week of fieldwork.
 
General programme
The Field School will take place in Oss (GoogleMaps search: Oss, Gewandeweg 100: plots on the opposite side of the road). You are expected to travel to Oss by yourself (private car, train or bus). Every week (Monday - Friday) a group of about 35 students will spend an entire week in the field. During these five days (and evenings) of fieldwork, you will be trained in all the basic field skills. These will include: setting out trenches; augering; preparing and documenting an excavation level; preparing and documenting a profile section; and of course: the excavation, interpretation and documentation of real archaeological features(!). During all activities we will maintain the 1.5 meter social distancing and every time excavation equipment changes hands, these will have to be cleaned first. Especially after working hours the 1.5 meter social distancing will bring about the necessary extra precautions…
 
Evening programme
Biking to the campsite
After working hours we will bike(!) to our campsite at Dieden (GoogleMaps search: Dieden, St. Laurenshoeve) as we can unfortunately not make use of coaches with so many participants. It is a 13 kilometre bike ride to Dieden, so we strongly advice all people who are not accustomed to riding a bike (often) to practice their biking skills on beforehand. We will provide proper bikes, so you do not need to bring your own.
 
Sleeping in tents
Because of Covid-19 restrictions we cannot make use of the dormitories at our campsite at Dieden. Therefore, we will be spending the nights in small (1-person) tents. The faculty will arrange for tents, but you will need to bring your own sleeping mattress and sleeping bag(!) We can make use of the toilets and showers present at the campsite.
 
Groceries, dinner and (alcoholic) beverages
As this year it is not possible to cook ourselves, a caterer will provide a meal (choice in vegetarian or meat) for us every day. In addition, a grocery service will bring daily supplies for breakfast and lunch. Please let us know on beforehand when you have any allergies or dietary restrictions we need to be aware of. It is not allowed to bring alcoholic beverages of any kind to the campsite. Beer and wine will be bought by the faculty but only limited consumption is permitted in order not to endanger social distancing measures (and you need to be well rested).
 
Daily reports
After dinner the course programme will continue for about 1.5 hour when you will be working on your daily reports, the cleaning and processing of finds and samples.
 
Additional health and safety precautions
In the run up to the excavation you will all be provided by the faculty with two Covid-19 antigen self-test-kits. You are kindly requested to self-test for Covid on the Sunday evening before your week in the field commences. Only if you test negative, you are allowed to come to Oss. A second self-test moment is scheduled for Wednesday mornings.
It is only with special permission that we are allowed to organise this fieldwork campaign, this can only be a success if all comply with the rules and restrictions. This means that no visitors are allowed to visit the excavation site nor the campsite, and that you all have to follow the rules and are not allowed to leave the campsite in the evenings or at night. There is a zero-tolerance policy, and each student who does not follow the rules will be expelled from the Field school 1 and can only return for a retake next year.
Aside from the necessary Covid-19 safety measures, there are some other essential preparations with regards to health and safety when it comes to archaeological fieldwork. First it is strongly recommended to arrange for (or check the validity of your current) a Tetanus vaccination before you start working in the field. For Dutch nationals this has been part of the National Immunisation Programme (please check with your medical practitioner when you had the last boost). Secondly, your working shoes need to be compliant with S3 safety footwear standards. Thirdly, you need to bring your own safety vest (like your own trowel these can probably also be purchased via Terra).
!!! Do you have any allergies or other health issues we should be aware of? Please inform us (Arjan Louwen and/or Maaike de Waal) on beforehand!!!
 
We hope this e-mail already gives you some idea of the general programme, what you need to arrange for (a definitive packing-list will follow soon) and what is expected of you during your week in the field. More information will follow on the second week of practical at the Van Steenis building and background to the field project in Oss during the general information meeting that will soon be arranged.
 
Do you have any questions? Please feel free to contact us at any time(!)
 
We are looking forward to meeting you all!
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