Archaeology Podcast – the first attempt

My first podcast is now online on the Wessex Archaeology Events Blog. It was recorded on location at Cranborne Chase in Dorset where Wessex Archaeology are holding their annual practical archaeology course. The course gives people a chance to find out what it’s like to be an archaeologist – and it’s a fantastic course filled with hands-on excavation, visiting speakers introducing topics such as pottery and animal bone recognition, iron smelting (there’s a furnace on site!), surveying… The list is exhaustive.

This week’s podcast was an experiment for me – since I haven’t done any location recording before – and the other archaeology podcasts out there (which are excellent – I subscribe to them all!) tend to be traditional indoor recordings generally with one or two people. I wanted to provide something different, something that captures a little of the feel of the excavation, and what it’s like for people actually doing the course.

The podcast was recorded onto MiniDisc using a Sony stereo microphone, so I didn’t have to lump about my lovely PowerBook into the field. I recorded some interviews, and plenty of ambient background noise (think birds twittering, trowels scraping at the ground, the crunch of the exposed chalk underfoot) to give the spoken parts a little more depth of sound.

The audio was transferred to my PowerBook, and edited in Garageband, which is a wonderful tool for tasks like this. I was able to clean up some of the sound, remove a bit of hiss, and boost the presence of the voices. It took just under two hours, which isn’t bad for a first go.

Upon reflection, there needs to be more consistency with the volume, and I need to be closer to the microphone when asking the questions. It’s also my first attempt at interviewing people, and I definitely need to refine my interview techniques (or at least , get some technique in the first place!). And as for the damned aeroplanes that were out that day…!!

Visit the Wessex Archaeology Events Blog, and let me know what you think (on this blog), or any suggestions – they will be gladly received!

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