Monday, 29 May 2017


      According to my viewing stats (it doesn't take too long!) all my readers come from the northern hemisphere. In which case, if you haven't already started, you will be preparing for summer fieldwork. As am I. In which case I thought a few pointers might be order of the day.

   It wasn't that long ago I attended my first full time dig. Ever the boy scout I wanted to ensure that I had verything I could possibly need. The result; well a large amount of kit, extra baggage on the plane and a not inconsiderable waste of money. From torches, firelighters, technical drawing instruments, digital voice recorder, waterproofs and warm clothes, webbing gear, thermos, waterbottles, etc etc etc, field easel, waterproof cover, books, survey equipment, archaeology toolkit, etc etc etc, first aid kit, water purification tablets, etc etc. I could go on but I guess you get the picture.

  In fact nearly everything needed was supplied, but here I would like to suggest that you invest in some worthwhile and effective gear.

  First, don't skimp on kneepads. You will spend a lot of time on your hands and knees so get real and make sure you have a decent set. They will be well worth the investment.

   Second, have you ever watched field archaeologists at the table at the end of the day? Thought not. Most of us are right handed and will support our body weight on the left hand when on our knees. Not recommended but so often unavoidable. The problem is, like me, you will probably place your left hand palm down and flat. Even with gloves this limits the circulation and causes knumbness in the left hand. Not painful but it does mean holding your fork at table becomes something of a challenge. But you will not be the only one. Look around the table at dinner and you will find that all but the most experienced are struggling. So what is to be done?

   First get a pair of military combat gloves, padded on the knuckles with the finger ends exposed. Check paint ball gloves and you will get the picture. Second buy a swimming kickboard, a kind of compressed foam. Cut out a circle of the foam about 6 inches in diameter; you can buy circular foam pads but this way is cheaper.

   Now, when you are on your knees and need support, place the disc where needed and then support yourself with your left hand, but knuckles down! Physiologically we are very similar to our ape cousins who knuckle walk. The circulation is not impinged by this method and the glove padding will protect you knucles. No more numb left hand!

  On that happy note I wish you all Bon Appetit and happy digging.