I am off to a field trip tomorrow!
The university released a lot of online content as recommended reading, so of course I went shopping to prepare for the outdoors instead. Here is a list of what archaeologists should wear:
- Sun protection ie a Hat
- Waterproof, covered shoes/good boots
- Long pants, which might protect from snake bites
- A raincoat, because projects are not paused for rain
- Gardening gloves (optional, good)
- A watch (optional, good)
- High-vis gear for safety (I think optional/mandatory depending on the site) 🦺
Regarding hats: I went to the local camping store, and stumbled on a table that might have belonged backstage to a movie.
I vaguely remember reading on an archaeologist’s blog once that wearing a Indiana Jones-style hat at a an excavation site can really annoy other people, so I settled for something less splashy instead (and a bit cheaper than the ones made from kangaroo hide, I think one of the labels said $259??).
Fun story: In the excellent Archaeologist’s Field Handbook
which I skimmed, one of the writers said they once wore non-waterproof shoes, and in their avoidance of walking on wet areas, they missed finding large amounts of obsidian. Their colleague found it instead, and cheekily hid this discovery from them for almost a year. The author never wore the wrong shoes on an archaeological field trip ever again. Conclusion: wear durable, waterproof shoes!
Which watch for the Archaeologist?
I made a separate section here due to some interesting findings. Usually I check my phone to find the time, but when I was Googling around for the ideal watch for the archaeologist, I didn’t find any blog posts about it.
Without linking to sites where people buy things*, here were some considerations which came up:
• Analogue watches are great for helping a person find North if they don’t have a compass. Link takes you to a how-to guide.
• There are now solar powered watches, and some companies make watches from plastics that were fished out of the ocean. A family member warned me that the latter could just gimmicky greenwashing (aka marketing) as the environmental benefits aren’t really clear, but the idea is quite good.
• A number of activewear smartwatches now come with GPS, which sounds extremely useful for not getting lost.
I realised, though, that it’s not the same as using Maps on your phone. The routes must be pre-loaded from your computer; and all but the newest watches may not recognise if you stray off the pre-entered path. If you are willing to drop as much money as an iPhone 12 costs on a watch, it will probably have the features to guide you back while making your wrist look classy.
• Lastly, I discovered someone making these watches that contain tiny excavation sites:
It turned out that the bones are from actual small animals. For that it would not be my personal cup of tea, but the original idea is pretty cute. Probably not the most practical accessory for the real excavator though!
I often go down rabbit holes while shopping for something, and then leave the warren without actually buying anything (no watch this time round).
As preparation for the coming week, today we had multiple crash courses on Geophysics, ethics again, archeological recording, and how to use navigate using toys with GPS and using some special numbers we learnt called easting/northing coordinates.
We students wandered around the university campus with the gadgets. It was rather fun, and the experience would have been replete if the faculty staff had hidden chocolate eggs for us to find, but I suppose one can’t have everything in life.
I hope everyone had a Happy Easter! Have you been (window) shopping recently?
*Trying to avoid advertising, but can supply sources in the comment section on request.