KZ: Hi Maddi! What are the best and worst parts of your job?
M: Sometimes it can really hard to excavate a site! You have to be ready for any type of weather, including sideways rain. You also have to be careful of snakes and other critters that might crawl into your trench. The best part is when you make a discovery. One time I was working on an old homestead site in Australia and I found a marble with a really unusual pattern. The kid that lost that 180 years ago must have been really upset, and it stayed under the floorboards all that time.
KZ: Did you take part in any activities or hobbies as a child that helped with your career?
M: The good thing about archaeology is that there are so many different skills that are needed as part of an excavation team. If you’re good at drawing you might end up recording rock art sites, if you like puzzles you could end up piecing together vases from a Roman settlement, and if you’re good at swimming you might want to become a maritime archaeologist and discover shipwrecks. I loved to read when I was a kid, and now I do a lot of historic research; reading old diaries and records to understand what was going on in the past.
KZ: Can you share an interesting behind the scenes fact about your job?
M: Being an archaeologist can be dirty work! We can spend months at a time excavating a site, and when we are not excavating we are looking through the dusty archives, or carefully cleaning and studying artefacts.
KZ: What previous experience did you have before this role?
M: You have to be passionate about history and love exploring to be an archaeologist. We get to uncover parts of history that have been buried for generations, and piece together the story of humanity. I’ve been interested in becoming an archaeologist since I was about 10. I loved being outside in the bush, and going to see the amazing Aboriginal sites in my area. I studied archaeology at La Trobe University and got to work on archaeological sites as a student.
KZ: What would K-Zoners be surprised to learn about you?
M: My mum looked after injured wildlife when I was growing up! For a while I had to share my room with a kangaroo joey, and had to take baby wombats for walks.
Want to read more of our interview with Maddi? Grab the May issue of K-Zone, on sale now!