We will be living in a field camp for the duration of the field school session. For some of you, this will be a new experience, and for most of you, this will be longest camping trip of your life. I have spent many years of my life living in archaeological field camps and have narrowed down my list of field equipment to a set of key items. The list is not intended to be exhaustive, but will cover the basic things I will be bringing to the field this summer. Please note that items in the highlighted portion of the list ARE required.


• Marshalltown brand masonry trowel (The brand is important, I think, and Marshalltown is the best get a size 5 or 6 diamond-shaped trowel.  These can be purchased at most hardware stores (e.g., Home Depot, ACE), just ask).

• a metal file (get a "bastard file", yes, it's actually called that) for sharpening your metal trowel

• pencils, pens, eraser, small ruler, plastic protractor

• wooden sculpting tool for excavating bone, shell, and other fragile items (or, you can just get a pair of wooden chopsticks, or sharpen a wooden dowel or hardwood stick to a point)

• new (i.e., unused) small synthetic fiber paint brush (2" width)

• a pair of work gloves (leather ones are better than the rubber covered cotton gloves)

• a small case to carry your digging items

Things that will be provided

• refrigerators

• propane stoves and ovens

• dish washing station

• drinking water

• restroom facilities

• cooking utensils, pots, pans, etc.

• garbage station

The Excavation Process: The Tools


• tent (bigger is better)

• tarp for groundcloth (keeps tent dry and protects against sharp sticks, rocks)

• tarp for rain cover on tent

• cordage and bungee cords to secure tent and rain cover

• sleeping bag and pillow

• sleeping pad (foam, thermarest, etc.) or cot (I prefer a cot and the thickest pad I can get)

• small light for reading (headlamps work well)

• small flashlight for walking at night

• a paperback book or two

• folding chair (I like the ones that have a drink holder in the arm rest)

• plastic box with lid (Rubbermaid boxes work well)

• 1 liter water bottle (Nalgene, or metal water bottle)

• travel mug with lid (for coffee, tea)

• folding pocket knife with useful items (e.g., blade, can opener, scissors)

• sun screen (SPF 15-30)

• lotion for dry skin and soothing sunburn

• over the counter medicine for stomach and digestion problems

• prescription medications (if needed)

• aspirin or other over the counter pain killer

• bathroom kit (shampoo, soap, washrag, toothbrush, toothpaste, small mirror, etc.)

• ear plugs (sometimes, the snoring neighbor keeps me awake)

• alarm clock

• small backpack

• small plastic boxes with lids for lunch (e.g., Tupperware type containers)

• mess kit for meals: one each plate, bowl, fork, spoon, cup (fewer things to wash)

• clothes line and clothes pins

• Solar shower (optional).  Bring a 5 gallon plastic bag-style solar shower for your own use.  We'll provide privacy shelters in which you will use your solar shower. You can also use a bucket and cup to clean up.


• shorts and long pants

• swim trunks

• short sleeved and long-sleeved shirts (I like the UV resistant thin cloth shirts for hot weather)

• hooded sweatshirt

• water sandals

• rain jacket (you never know)

• large brimmed hat (baseball hats don't prevent sunburn on ears and neck areas very well) and •a baseball hat

• bandanna (all purpose use, especially good for covering scorched neck area)

• bring two or three shirts and a couple pairs of shorts/pants that will only be worn as work clothes (digging is dirty work, so I will wear these clothes throughout the week and change after work)

• tennis shoes for working at the site (smooth soled shoes are best)

• hiking boots (for, well, hiking)

• sunglasses (I don't buy expensive ones, since they usually get trashed each summer)

Things to leave at home

• fireworks

• Illegal drugs and drug paraphernalia

• weapons (e.g., overly large knives, firearms (including handguns))

• boom boxes

• metal detectors


• t-shirts, hats, or other clothing with controversial/offensive messages

• offensive board games (e.g. Cards Against Humanity)