Every archaeologist owns a toolkit that contains the tools they use on a dig. Each toolkit differs from one archaeologist to another, depending on the tasks each person performs or on their preference (we get extremely attached to our trowels). Here is what my toolkit contains:

My toolkit

My toolkit

As you can imagine, a trowel is the most important tool in your kit! An archaeologist’s trowel is a flat, triangular trowel like those used by masons. Although I own a No. 5, my favourite trowel is a Marshalltown 6 (slightly bigger). I like the edges of my trowel sharpened…

After the trowel, the brush is most important. It is used to gently clear sand around an artefact, or simply clean it. I own a number of brushes, some have soft bristles, others much coarser ones. Each one is used for a different activity. There is also a tooth brush in my kit… to clean pottery sherds!

My father gave me a set of mechanical picks (they look like dental picks but are sturdier and you can unscrew the head from the handle) that are of great use when removing earth from small cavities in an artefact or gently clearing hard, compact dirt around an artefact.

Work Gloves
Personally, I only use them to protect my hands when carrying heavy things like rocks or to handle metal artefacts (the oils on your skin will react with the metal, causing it to corrode and eventually disintegrate). Should you be stupid enough to stick your fingers under a rock to lift it without having kicked it to scare away scorpions or snakes, your gloves will give you some protection. They also help when it gets really cold…

You will also find a plumb bob, a snow stick (a folding ruler) and a tape measure in my toolkit. The tape measure usually hangs on my right front pocket, but the rest stays in my bag until I need it to take measurements.

My Art Kit
Because I am the person who draws artefacts, I also own a separate art kit containing things I need to draw artefacts: pencils, inking pens, colouring pencils, scale rulers, erasers, protractors, vernier callipers, squares, French curves…


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