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Possibly the coolest thing on Earth after ice-cream! Behind the scenes at the Cosmeston film set

Yesterday evening we bought you the world premier of Cosmeston 2011: The Movie. Today we bring you a behind the scenes glimpse into the production of the video by Cardiff students Rob Barrett and Tom Durbin:

It is now officially 4 months from the end of the dig, and every day it gets harder and harder. Some of us have been able to return to our “normal” lives, only to secretly put on a onesie at night and cry ourselves to sleep.  Others, however, still can’t cope with the reality of the dig ending and still visit Cosmeston every time the sun goes down to dig an endless hole that will certainly hit New Zealand at some point.

Wow, that was incredibly depressing, I do apologize. To make up for you here is a joke:

Most mothers tell their daughters to marry doctors… I told mine to marry an archeologist because the older she gets, the more interested he will be in her.

I’d better move on before I make the internet implode.

Now, the reason I am writing here is that me and Tom have been working on a documentary of Cosmeston, and we thought that you may want to lose a couple of minutes of your possibly short life to look at our masterwork! It contains footage of the digging, interviews, cool music, lazy people doing nothing and interesting archaeological stuff. It does not contain chocolate, seals, French bread or overweight walruses.

Back to the serious stuff. The aim of this documentary is to show all the non-believers the awesomeness of archaeology, as well as giving the “general public” a way of understanding and enjoy our discoveries. Even though I have no idea who this Public is, or why he was appointed General.

Now, to get to the final result we had to go through many many many phases. So many you can’t count them.

There were three phases:

  1. Writing the script. Me and Tom figured out the structure of the video, by planning out a story board, and writing the narration, with the help of the supervisors.
  2. Taping. I spend a couple of days going around the trenches asking people to pretend to work. I’d like to emphasis the “pretend” part.
  3. Editing. Tom provided the fantastic music and I was forced to look through the same 900 clips for hours on end.
  4. There is no point four.
  5. And there certainly is no point five.

What else can I say? Have fun!

And play this fantastic game: try counting how many people are not working in the background.

Peace y’all!

And now, what you’ve all been waiting for, TOM’S CONTRIBUTION TO THE BLOG

(sorry, I accidentally put caps lock on)


I would like to thank Rob for what he wrote above. 398 words of pure literary genius. I don’t know what you think, but I reckon Steven King had better watch his back. If you’re wondering why I chose Steven King, it’s because Rob is scary. It all adds to the joke.

Moving on. Rob’s already done a rather splendid job of telling you about the making of our film and I hope you’ll all agree that it turned out well (if you have yet to watch it, stop reading now. It’s better than most films currently on at the cinema. Still reading? You disappoint me). I’m still a bit annoyed Rob didn’t include a bird shot (you know, those pointless shots in documentaries of birds flying) and that he cut out parts of my lovingly composed soundtrack, but I’ve got over it. The amateur filmmaker’s arch nemesis Mr Wind didn’t make too much of an appearance, Rob didn’t make any spelling mistakes in the titles and credits and the camera didn’t pick up any arguments about Jurassic Park. Success.

Concerning the sequel. All good sequels follow the same formula as the first film but build upon it. For example, Alien. Throw a load more aliens in. Call it Aliens. Sorted. This leads me to believe that the only way to pull off Cosmeston II is to do the same. Throw a load more aliens in. Call it Alien 5. Done. BAFTAs.

And at least an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Soundtrack, obviously.

So like Rob said, it’s been a while since the dig. My trowel Mortimer is sitting a mere metre away from me as I type, practically shouting at me to let him have a good rummage in some sandy silt. OR IS IT SILTY SAND??? Mortimer doesn’t care. As long as it’s not clay. He’d be happy with a simple game of ‘trowel’ (two people stand together, one throws a trowel into the ground, the other has to put their foot where the trowel is and the game continues), but my garden’s one of those rubbish ones that’s filled in with concrete. Poor Mortimer. Poortimer.

Concerning my beloved aquamanile (yes, I found it), it’s having a whale of a time. I was thinking about writing ‘a ram of a time’, but I don’t think that would have worked. Simply Googling ‘cosmeston aquamanile’ gives you a number of pages from various websites about the object, which I think is rather nifty. Something which just 5 months ago was dug up by my trowel is now all over the internet. I’m proud of you, aquamanile. I should probably give you a name. Perhaps I’ll name you after the band Rammstein. You know. Because it’s a Ram.

Anyway I’ve probably gone on too long, but I wanted to make sure I’d written more words than Rob. Just to annoy him. I hope that reading this blog and watching the documentary has been both enjoyable and educational. Or maybe a good excuse for procrastination. Have the day off. Watch the film a few times. Read the previous blog entries. Look at some photos of the lovely stuff we found. You can stop putting things off starting tomorrow.

And thus endeth the word of Tom (172 words more than Rob’s).


About Cosmeston Students

We are the student labour at the Cardiff University excavations of Cosmeston Medieval Manor.


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Day of Archaeology 2011

Cosmeston contributed to Day of Archaeology 2011. Click through to see our posts!

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