It’s come to our attention that many of the people following us on social media are new to archaeology, so we thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to the most essential pieces of kit for any archaeological field-school or project. Of course you’ve got all the boring stuff like suitable clothing, sunblock, and of course data collection equipment, but really, these are the things that we just can’t live without!
Gaffer tape, duck tape, duct tape, whatever you want to call it. At LULP our favourite is “Alien Tape”. It’s super sticky, it tears easily, it’s colourful, and it’s fixed everything from a broken case of playing cards, to a disintegrating watch strap, to actual survey equipment! Not only can you fix things with it, but you can label just about anything, and the bright blue colour makes it easy to see where you left your water bottle in the grassy field! Last year we only took one roll, but this summer we’re not taking any chances, and we’ve got three full rolls stashed away in case of emergencies.
2: A hammock
At the end of a long day working in the field, or with a fresh cappuccino watching the sunrise, or an afternoon nap during a weekend day off – there’s no bad time for a session in the hammock. We like this one from ENO, but we have a Decathlon one too! (More on this amazing store in a later blog) They’re tiny enough that they can travel everywhere in your bag, strong enough to hold two people, and the flexible hanging straps mean you can set them up pretty much anywhere. Good for a nap, good for a chat – there’s almost nothing that can’t be fixed by some hammock time.
This one is fairly self-explanatory. You WILL be sharing a room with lots of people and most of them WILL snore. Everyone will deny it, but they’re lying. Trust me.
I am a self-confessed label fanatic, but even I have realised that bringing my electronic label maker abroad is one step too far. Sharpies make for a great alternative, and can be used to mark almost anything, and they come in a huge variety of colours! The best part is, if you bring more than one you can actually label your sharpies too! I know, incredible right?!
5: First Aid Kit
Ok, I know I said no boring stuff, but this one is very important! You might not have even thought of the first aid kit for the entire season, and almost forgotten about it in the back of the car, but on the last day of survey someone will stab themselves through the foot with an electrical resistivity meter…(probably – I can neither confirm nor deny that this happened to the author, but you can judge for yourself from the photos below). Alternatively, you might trip up a step and twist your ankle…no judgement, we’ve all done it. Without fail, accidents (no matter how minor) are definitely going to happen, and it’s always best to be prepared!
Yes, we work hard and the days are long, but sometimes we do get a little free time to relax and recuperate. UNO is a team favourite, along with a vicious card game called Racing Demons. Tiny hands on sticks also make for great entertainment both in camp and on site – they can be used for poking, stroking, picking, playing hand-ball-hockey, and generally adding a little excitement into the day.
And there you have it – our most essential pieces of equipment for a successful field season! Of course, there are so many important things we need to pack with us, but we always make sure that these get packed into the suitcase first, and if there isn’t enough space for something impractical like a second swimsuit, sunglasses, or work trousers (ok, maybe you should find room for these), then it’s just an excuse to do some shopping in Italy!