For the first five months of this year, NAS HQ in Portsmouth, UK, hosted Greek intern Persefoni Lesgidi for a part-time but activity-packed internship. Here she reports on her experiences in an edited version of the blog she submitted as part of her Masters degree at the University of Southampton.

Tuesday 30th of January was my first day as an intern at NAS HQ. Education Officer Peta Knott, my supervisor, arranged a Skype meeting beforehand for us to get to know each other. That was followed on my first day in the office at Fort Cumberland by an orientation tour and health and safety briefing. Peta also told me about the objectives and mission of the Society. On my second time there I met CEO Mark Beattie Edwards. Both Peta and Mark are the most cheerful people I know!

During the first part of my internship, I conducted several office-based assignments through which I explored the way the NAS was organised. I had a computer to myself, and helped with work such as printing paperwork or creating logbooks for members who complete a course, as well as gathering the training equipment for upcoming courses.

Image: Persefoni helping to prepare for the Shipwreck Conference in Plymouth

During my first week I was also asked to find archaeological news for the weekly email to members, which Peta then approved and then sent to members. I also added new members to the membership database. My organisational and communication skills have been enhanced by participating in these assignments.

In early March, I helped move artefacts and files to the Society’s new stores. My contribution was small, but overall the office space has improved and the NAS team seem well set for the future. Another important task I was assigned was photographing and placing artefacts in new boxes, ready to use on training courses. I was able to put my university archaeological photography training to use and gained experience in ways of recording and storing artefacts.

Peta trained me to assist her in the NAS training programme. My first accomplishment was successfully finishing the Foreshore Recorder Skills Day in Weymouth. After completing this, I was able to help participants in the next course; I felt confident with my knowledge and successful at doing my job. I also attended Photogrammetry, Recorder and Surveyor days and again helped participants.

Image: Offset survey exercise

One of the most important events of my placement was two days of archaeological diving on the Normans’ Bay protected wreck off the Sussex coast in southern England. It was a challenge and an achievement at the same time. I saw how an underwater survey was conducted and experienced diving and working in unfamiliar conditions. More concretely, I had to combine the theoretical knowledge gained at the university and at NAS with skills acquired during my internship. As a result, I took accurate measurements of two of the 51 cannon on the site. The pressures of time, cold water, currents and low visibility made the task challenging. But as nervous as I was at first, I overcame my fears when Peta showed me the steps I should follow. Having long-time NAS member Sara Hasan as an instructor beside me on my first UK underwater archaeological dive made me feel safe and confident.

Image: Diving on the Normans' Bay Protected Wreck

Overall, my internship strengthened my organisation and communication skills. By watching how an organisation operates, my management skills have grown, while my university experience helped me to meet deadlines. Completing three of the NAS E-learning courses tested my existing university education and added to my knowledge.

All in all, I am grateful to Peta and Mark who gave me this opportunity. I feel I gained an abundance of theoretical and practical skills as well as work experience. If I gained something beyond professional skills from my placement, it is learning that a real-world working experience provides more than any abstract training can.

Edited by John Cooper

Guidance on writing for the NAS Newsfeed can be found here.