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August 2019

Posted by admin on August 9, 2019

Dig director David tells us about the difficulties of finding suitable accommodation for an excavation team. Nowadays its a little more upmarket than the campsite of the early seasons!

One of the eternal problems for an excavation project manager is finding suitable accommodation for those working on the project who live beyond reasonable commuting distance. This is almost always necessary in professional archaeology, as teams can be drawn from across the country to work on sites well beyond cities or towns with plentiful accommodation. Many sites are miles from any hotel, BnB or cottage, let alone a shop. Teams usually need self-catering facilities, as it is expensive, impractical and very environmentally unfriendly to purchase takeaway food or eat out for every meal of the day. Its also important to us that team members don’t have to share rooms or bathrooms unless they want to, so that people can have their own space and privacy during the dig, which can be tiring and intense. Traditionally some field schools – including Teffont – have provided camping for participants with facilities close to the dig site. During the field schools at Teffont (2010-2015) we were catered for by our wonderful chef Tom, camp manager Clare, bar manager Jack and others, who fed up to 45 hungry people a day. These days, however, Teffont is no longer a field school and we don’t need to accommodate such a large team. Instead, our team of approximately ten local volunteers is supplemented by fourteen of us who come from further away. This year that includes York, Oxford, Lincoln, Bath, Bournemouth, London and Essex.

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This year's accommodation - West Barn Lodge

The logistics of transporting everyone to site from accommodation is much simpler if we can all stay together; as some of us are couples, we needed nine rooms this year. Very few accommodation providers in Wiltshire have nine rooms on a single site, and we’ve never previously found somewhere close enough to Teffont to be viable. This year, however, we struck gold. Whilst calling round local accommodation providers, one of the hosts mentioned that her neighbour had just had a major refurbishment/rebuild of some buildings on their farm to create a nine bed self-catering lodge.

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The dining room at West Barn Lodge

I contacted Barney at West Barn Lodge, Fovant who is based at nearby Gurston Farm in Broad Chalke, and explained the Teffont project’s background and aims, and he was really enthused by our work trying to help people learn about the archaeology and history of the area. As a working farm, the team at West Barn Lodge are in tune with our aims and see the long terms roots of the landscape in their everyday lives. Thanks to Barney’s generous discount to the project because of our charitable aims, staying in the fantastic accommodation at West Barn Lodge is both financially responsible and provides our team with the luxury they deserve. We can’t wait to get settle in and get started with the project!

West Barn Lodge: https://westbarnlodge.com

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One of the bedrooms at West Barn Lodge

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Aerial view of West Barn Lodge