I can begin my story on 30 September 1975 as I boarded a train to Sheffi eld University to study in the Department of Prehistory and Archaeology. I had no idea what to expect. My ideas about universities were of Oxford-or Cambridge-style institutions, venerable and ancient, and my ideas of students came from watching University Challenge on television. Likewise, my only idea about archaeology had come from watching the long-running TV series Chronicle, and voraciously reading any books I could fi nd in the local library. What a shock Sheffi eld was! My home was to be a 1960s’ concrete hall of

There is no standard career for an archaeologist, and every archaeologist has a different tale to tell. Rather than try to tell you what a usual archaeologist’s career might be, I will illustrate one possible range of experiences from my own career in the subject. The fi rst thing to say is that archaeology is fun! It can also be incredibly surreal. You will get to do things that people would not normally get to do. You will also be surrounded by like-minded people and be part of a very comforting world.