Two tips for archaeology students going on a dig for the first time

If you and your archaeology classmates are going on a dig for the first time, you'll probably find this advice useful.

Go to a work clothing store and pick up a few essential items

Whilst you might technically be allowed to wear whatever you want on your dig, it would be best not to just pack everyday garments from your own wardrobe but to instead go to a work clothing store and pick out a few items that will allow you to make the most out of this important educational opportunity.

The first item you should pick up is a hat. If the archaeological site is in a dry, hot location, you'll need a hat to keep the sun off your face, whilst if it's likely to rain, you'll need a hat to stop rainwater dripping into your eyes. This is crucial, as if you cannot see what's in front of you when you're using a shaker screen or a brush to remove dust from an artefact, you might end up damaging a fragile component of that artefact. If possible, you should buy a spare hat that you can keep in your tent on the site so that if your other one gets lost during the dig, you won't be stuck without this crucial accessory for the remainder of the trip.

You would probably also find a pair of zip-off trousers very useful. These are trousers which feature zips near the knees, that allow you to zip off the lower part of the garment's legs so that they can be worn as shorts. This could provide you with the option of wearing shorts on hot days when you're doing a lot of digging that makes you warm and trousers when you need to kneel in the dirt to collect artefacts, without you having to bring separate versions of these items that would take up space in your (probably quite small) tent.

Buy the most robust garments you can afford

You should aim to buy the most robust versions of the garments you need from the clothing store. If you are taking this course and are enjoying it, then you may end up having a long career in the field of archaeology, in which case you will go on a lot more digs.

If you buy t-shirts that are too cheap and delicate to be stuffed into a rucksack with the rest of your camping gear each time you go on a new dig, or if you buy trousers that get more frayed and worn each time you kneel down on some rocky soil, then you'll end up spending far more than you should on replacements over the next few years. By getting tougher garments that you can use again and again, you can ensure that you don't end up wasting too much of your future salary on work clothing.

Visit a work clothing store to see what's available.