Advise for your First Field School or Dig Program! (10 Tips)

Attention All Aspiring Archaeologists, Paleontologists, Anthropologists etc..

These fields are not for just anyone. Field School is not for the faint of heart..or if we're being honest, the lazy. It is typically long grueling hours of hauling dirt. Yes, dirt. In buckets, with shovels, dust pans, MARSHALLTOWN trowels and sometimes if not always, something entirely homemade by your crew chief. Yes, some of your tools and containers will be jimmy rigged cat litter buckets because..we're thrifty like that! Listen to EVERYTHING your crew chiefs have to say. And any time you don't understand, have them clarify again and again until it clicks. Field schools are basically labor that is paying to be there. Yes, you pay to work for someone else. BUT..these experiences will be invaluable. The references and networking that field schools provide are INVALUABLE. Let me repeat that word...NETWORK. These fields are not huge and all encompassing so it is more than likely that wherever you're applying to work in the future will most likely know your crew chief and the site managers. If they're published, I can almost guarantee you're going to run into someone else on the opposite side of the world that has most likely read their work or even met them at a conference and even possibly worked with them before. Keep in contact with these people, they will be your lifeline. After your field school is complete and you have your bachelors in hand, applying for your first crew member or CRM (Cultural Resource Management) job will be Substantially easier having these connections. Remember, it's not about what you know, it's about who you know. But..pay attention to the what part anyways. During field school remember that there are other people there from ALL walks of life. Do not be rude to them because they do, say, believe differently than you. You will most likely be bunking in close proximity and spending a LOT of time together. Be polite and remember, have fun. You don't need to stand on ceremony with most people that are in these fields. I've found that they're all pretty laid back and have a great sense of humor. SO, my crews and I have always made lots of personal jokes and jabs at each other. THIS IS THE TYPE OF CREW YOU WANT. But still remember that everyone is different and you will most likely have that one kid that honestly should never have signed up for the school. Just leave these people alone, they're WAY out of their comfort zones. So let me add a few things I've learned that have helped me tremendously. Tip 1. Try the food. I'm just going to leave this right here. (this applies to foreign field schools) Tip 2. Sharpen that Marshalltown trowel!!!! Seriously.. Tip 3. Depending on climate and region, bring knee pads. You will thank me later. (I tend to dig in shorts and knee pads are AMAZING) Tip 4. Make sure your field clothes fit correctly, your cargo pants have LOTS of pockets, the shirts actually breath. DO NOT BRING CLOTHES YOU CAN'T THROW AWAY LATER! You will TRASH your clothes, pinky promise. Tip 5. Where a hat, for the love of God..where the hat. No, it does not need to look like Indiana Jones's hat, just something to protext the scalp, ears and neck. Tip 6. SUNSCREEN! For those of you that aren't me and burn like the average human...omg please for your skin and health's safety..bring sunscreen. You will not always be under a canopy to protect you. Tip 7. HYDRATE. You need to drink more water than you have ever drank in your entire life. If you don't heed this tip, DO NOT DO A FIELD SCHOOL. Tip 8. Get used to looking like absolute crap, in fact, embrace it. You own that rats nest of hair and blotchy skin. Besides, EVERYONE will look this way. Tip 9. Before you leave, learn every card game in the world. Because I can guarantee you will be playing ALL of them. Better to know now than have someone who's first language is not the same as yours trying to explain it. Tip 10. Remember, this experience is unlike any other you will ever have. Be present, be there. Make your crew your family. Yes, the work may suck on some days..but think about it. Your job is literally to play in the dirt and find cool old stuff. It doesn't get any better than that. Enjoy every second of it, I know I always did.


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