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General archaeology questions for Dr. dig

What do archaeologists wear?

Dr. dig responds:
Archaeologists wear great gear. They practically invented cargo pants! All those pockets come in very handy for tape measures, trowels, notepads and pencils, hand picks - but what a weight, it's no wonder our underpants show!

But seriously, in the field, archaeologists need to dress like manual laborers - we wear sturdy, practical clothing that we won't mind getting tattered and dirty. Archaeologists are out in the field a lot, looking for sites, excavating, conducting surveys. Clothes are pretty important to an archaeologist, not because they want to look like Indiana Jones, but because clothes protect them from the elements, or make excavating more comfortable.

Comfortable, practical clothes are best. In hot climates, archaeologists wear loose, cool clothing that covers their arms and legs. Because archaeologists are often crouching on the ground getting right up close to the artifacts they are digging, they wear long trousers to protect their knees. Broad brimmed hats to keep the sun off the backs of their necks. Some archaeologists wear gardening gloves to protect their hands when they are digging, but I admit that I never have because I like to "feel" the earth as I dig with my trowel.

The shoes archaeologists wear should be light and good-fitting. Archaeologists don't usually wear heavy hiking boots for excavating because they are clumsy and heavy, and they might step on something without noticing it. Flimsy sandals or sneakers, on the other hand, are too light and do not protect the feet well enough should something drop on one's toes. Also, they do not keep out sand, grit and gravel very well, and there is nothing worse than getting bits of grit in one's shoes all day long. So soft leather shoes with toes worn with socks are best.

The last thing that archaeologists wear is a small satchel or backpack. Archaeologists should have with them at all times a pencil, a notebook, a few plastic bags (for artifacts), a camera and a measuring tape with them at all times. A map is also useful. Out in the field there are few places to go to the bathroom or get a drink of water so a few tissues, and a water bottle are good thing to carry in case of emergencies.


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