Grave Goods – David Connolly.

“To die would be an awfully big adventure.” ― J.M. Barrie, Peter Pan.

Grave Goods is a series of interviews in which well known historians, archaeologists, and generally Interesting Types discuss the possessions they would like to accompany them on the Awfully Big Adventure.

David Connolly.

David Connolly.

This time we are looking at the selection made by archaeologist David Connolly. He’s one of the founders of BAJR, or British Archaeological Jobs Resource, and Past Horizons, one of the biggest archaeology news websites on the planet. In addition to these duties he runs an archaeological consultancy, and is involved in a number of community projects, not least of which is Rampart Scotland, a hands-on project exploring the hillforts and enclosures of Scotland.

Tools of the Trade – a tool/implement without which you’d be lost, whether it’s a pen, trowel, notepad, bottle-opener or scanning electron microscope.

A brain in a jar.

A brain in a jar.

“Tools of my trade are so varied and different from each other, ranging from a good old pencil and an 8m ( never 5m Stanley hand tape) to a Total Station, DJI Inspire Drone or Tablet computer running GIS and image modelling software ( as well as wireless connections to run BAJR) I also need a range of trowels from the standard WHS to the margin trowel. What I need is a box to keep it all tidy and safe. One with a foam packing, wheels, airsafe lock and everything in it’s own discrete location. However, for me… the main tool of my trade – is my noggin… the old grey matter allows me to understand what I do, and come up with new ways of doing it!”

Charred hazel nuts. Courtesy of Wessex Archaeology.

Charred hazel nuts. Courtesy of Wessex Archaeology.

Food for the Journey – a favourite portable snack, or a portion of something from your funeral feast.

“No laughing now, but I have now become quite a health freak ( unless you count the wine) so my fave food for the journey is a handful of nuts ( hazelnuts are brilliant as they last forever and make you feel all Mesolithic!)”


Memento Vivere – a memento of a companion/event to bring you cheer (can be an image).

Sand from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah. These are grains of quartz with a hematite coating providing the orange color.

Sand from Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Utah. These are grains of quartz with a hematite coating providing the orange color.

“My life has found me returning again and again to the desert, whether it is the Levant, Middle East, Iran, UAE or the bare steppes of Turkmenistan. I can’t escape it, and it will never let me go. I even carry little 35mm film boxes with sand from various deserts. I am never happier than when parched and scorched by the sun, seeking past lives in one of the inhospitable places of the world, that is actually a place I am most at home. So for me – lay me on a bed of sand from dunes from around the world!”


Ex Libris – the book or text you are least likely to tire of reading.

The Colour of Magic. Courtesy of Wikipedia. Copyright

The Colour of Magic. Courtesy of Wikipedia. Copyright Josh Kirby.

“I am often accused ( rightly ) of being an uneducated sort, who reads few books or articles – this comes mainly from my desire to remain unsullied by what others think before investigating a site or feature. Don’t tell me what I am looking for… let me find it myself. I do rely however on others to read, in order to keep an eye on what it is that I have found or interpreted. This has usually served me well, and I will however also confess to having a rather extensive library that ranges from Scottish Fortified residences to Iraqi prehistoric site gazetteers. You want an answer… I may have the book ! However, for me, the most important thing is to shut down the thinking muscle and revel in the absolute joy of the well crafted Discworld novels. So the Box Set of these, will do me nicely.”



Lucky Deposition – a bonus selection chosen by the guest – can include transport.

Prehistoric Swiss Army Knife by Jay Mug

Prehistoric Swiss Army Knife by Jay Mug.

“If it has to be one thing, and human sacrifice is not allowed – then I would have to have my Swiss Army knife tucked into my pocket. I love something which is designed so well it thinks of things you could never imagine you may need it for, and is constructed so well that you really only buy one. No built in obsolescence – just good old fashioned bloody good craftsmanship. The afterlife will thank me, if somebodies glasses need fixed, a bottle of wine needs opened, a piece of cheese needs cut or a car needs fixed!”

A Message from Beyond the Grave – an entirely discretionary option – leave a note for a future generation to find.

I Aten't Dead.

I Aten’t Dead.

Just because my eyes are closed, does not mean I am not awake.

However, I would like people to act as if others were watching their actions – rather than act that way because someone is watching! Be proud of what you do, even if nobody sees it.”

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