In 1995, I’d just finished my undergraduate degree in Archaeology at the University of Sheffield (for those who care I got a First Class BSc (Hons) Archaeological Science degree). As soon as exams were over, I was off to North Yorkshire where I spent the summer volunteering at the West Heslerton Anglo-Saxon settlement, a project directed by Professor Dominic Powlesland. I spent a lot of time surveying and excavating timber-framed buildings, sunken-featured buildings and also a metalworking hearth.

Now here was the catch. In addition to the interesting and unforgettable fellow-volunteers and supervisors, the rudimentary camping conditions, and the fact that I was actually given subsistence pay (which was just awesome, can you imagine?), we faced the challenge of evening entertainment being limited. There was only one pub within reach and it had a pool table, a darts board, and a jukebox. Two of these three almost got me killed, but here I’ll focus on the jukebox.

So, after 2 months, we had gone through most of the jukebox’s songs. Yet my favourite song on the jukebox was starting to annoy the other diggers, and one in particular, our cook. One night, this certain fellow cracked when my favourite song came on, standing up and shouting at the c. 30-40 people in the saloon ‘who the fxxk put that song on?’. I downed my remaining pint and ran for the nearest exit followed by a six-foot+ angry York student and Viking re-enactor hellbent on my destruction. I only dared to play it again when he wasn’t around.

The song that inspired this rage? Johnny Cymbal’s Mr Bass Man.

I love this song and still do, and every time I think of early medieval settlement archaeology, it is my earworm.

It also makes me think how lucky I am that I survived that dig…

I wanna be a bass man too!