Me, measuring up a section of an archaeological feature
My name is Sam. Well, it’s Samantha but very few people actually call me that these days. I’m 23 years old and currently live in Southampton, UK, with my partner of 4 years. It’s quite a nice little life that we live here, in our little flat on the waterfront. I’m not a big fan of my day job in the clerical sector but it pays the bills and for that I’m grateful. Considering as how unemployment is on the rise and everything.
As a child I moved around a lot, as I was an army child and never settled anywhere for long. That was until we moved to rural Wiltshire. There I completed my secondary education and my love for history grew and grew. As I went through GCSE and A-Level I decided I wanted to be an archaeologist and so when the time came I went off to University in Winchester to do my degree. I started off doing a joint course in history and archaeology, but for my sins gave up history after the first year. I wish now that I hadn’t, and had given up on the archaeology instead. I had some wonderful lecturers in history whilst I was there and honestly regret not staying on and taking single honours in history. But at that point, my mind was set. I graduated with an upper second class honours in archaeology in 2009 and that’s when we moved to Southampton. I was one of the luckier ones in my group, and almost immediately secured a post at the Unit in Southampton whereupon I worked on digs at Tudor House and also a building site next door to a waitrose. We didn’t find very much but I loved it, I didn’t mind crawling out of bed at 5am on a cold, winters day and getting myself to site. I loved being knee deep in mud, I loved being on a dangerous building site, I loved working with my colleagues. But alas, it wasn’t to last and as it had with many archaeologists I lost my contract. I haven’t worked in archaeology since.
Instead I have allowed my love for history to take over once again and have started doing research into various historical eras that interest me greatly. My bookshelf has grown and grown within the past few years so now they’re full to bursting and I have no more room; and I have decided that I will end up taking this love of history further. I have plans to go back to University and complete a Masters degree in either the history of the Renaissance or possibly early modern (think Edward VI), and one day I hope to have a few books published on my specialist areas – the research of which is being conducted pretty much as we speak. One day I also hope to teach others and to share my passion for history with those who want to learn from me. How this will begin I don’t know, but I am looking at ways and means of doing this, but eventually I hope to become a lecturer.
So how did my interest in history begin? I guess I can attribute that to my Aunt who began buying me books on Ancient Egypt. I would read them from cover to cover and watch documentaries on the television and beg my parents to take me to castles. When I was much younger I remember visiting Dover Castle and falling in love with the place and I would spend hours and hours in museums too. Whilst I was at school I can remember too learning about the six wives of Henry VIII, and there being a line of printed portraits on the wall. I was drawn to two of those women: Anne Boleyn and Katherine Howard. At the time we were too young to be told the real reasons for their being beheaded – according to my primary school teacher Anne Boleyn was beheaded for being a witch (nooooo!) and Katherine Howard? Well, nothing was really ever mentioned about her. But there began my obsession with the Tudor dynasty which just grew and grew. Henry VIII has always been my favourite Tudor monarch but recently my interests have broadened, so that I have found an intense interest in the short reign of Edward VI. In fact the Tudors makes up the majority of my book collection. Other interests grew out of that, and a few years ago I developed a rather huge obsession with the English Civil War thanks to joining the reenactment society known as the Sealed Knot. In that I played the part of a musketeer, and took part in battle reenactments. I dressed in accurate portrayals of military uniform and learned every single piece of musket drill there was. From there I wanted to know more and more about the period, and the battles; and so specialised in this era during my final year at University – my dissertation was on the landscape archaeology of the Battle of Cheriton in 1644.
But honestly, anything old will always hold my interest – be it something from the Neolithic or a portrait from the Georgian era, I adore the stories that history can tell us. There is something magical about learning how these people lived, how they died, what they used in their everyday lives. And it’s a passion that I hope to keep on sharing both here and in my everyday life also.