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Destinations, Dreams and Dogs - International adventure with a fast-track family (& dogs) of Old World values, adopting the Russian-Italian-American good life on the go…!

7 Archaeology Tips for Those of the Female Persuasion

dig834My son and I have enjoyed taking some intensive archaeology courses—lectures, field work, lab work, and tons of textbooks.  This is what we do with our ever-dwindling spare time, he as a high-school senior, and I as a middle-aged mother of four teens with about ten other irons-in-the-fire of my own. 

My husband and I met in the Middle East while excavating.  He functioned as my supervisor, and now he likes to joke that I am his supervisor.

I felt that I had outgrown that season of my life, but now I discover myself right back in a full circle-of-sorts.  At first, thit was as a chauffeur for my son, but then I began to enjoy it.


For a woman who can handily argue the merits of the Four Seasons versus the Hilton in any of a number of exotic locales, how did I end up in remote situations pondering snakes, spiders, ticks, and porta-potties?

Let’s face it:  there are certain assumed “givens” in archaeology:  you will wear 3dd289408d6862e05dd7e83208a640ffsturdy boots, and a hat, and clothes that you don’t mind being covered in dust, or encrusted in mud.  It goes with the territory.    But does it mean that we girls can’t wear nailpolish or makeup, even though one may wear off, and the other may sweat off?

Upon occasion, I’ve been given a hard time by those who resent me making a slight effort to add some panache to the field.  To each his own, I am who I am.  However, lest one imagine that I advocate ladies wearing high heels out into the wild, I might add some cautionary words.

Here is my own list of 7 Archaeology Tips for Those of the Female romanov-crownPersuasion:

1.  Avoid wearing jewels which may become encrusted with dirt.  The wedding band of choice seems to be plain, with no nooks and crannies or stones of any sort.  Sigh.

2.  With a whole bunch of bending, stooping, leaning, and yes, even lying down on the job, thong underwear are not to be recommended.  The good bunch of bending will bunch them up and have you crying, “Wedgie!” faster than looters can rob an ancient tomb.

1.12.J13.  While we’re on the subject of underwear, convertible bras with straps that can detach and move this way and that are not a good idea.  I had one detach on me just today.  Try fixing that without disrobing or going into 101 contortions and gyrations.

4.  A little makeup never hurt anyone.  As they say, “If the barn door needs painting….”  I’d draw the line at perfume, though, if bees, mosquitoes, or flies might be a problem.  Naturally, I wear a light bit of fragrance which is almost ss-091022-bugs-01.ss_fullgone by the time the sun rises and we’re really working away.

5.  Which leads us to the fact that bug spray and sunscreen cancel out the other’s effectiveness.  Dress in a beekeeper’s outfit and spray one or the other on whatever 1% of your body is still exposed, and hope for the best.

1R6YP9HS6.  A little seat is nice in the wild.  Bring a folding chair of whatever specifications, one that will make you happy.  Leave it in the jeep or excavation van, in case this is a site where everyone takes their lunch seated on upturned buckets, or on the ground.  A lady doesn’t want to look too ostentatious.  I have a three-legged style that folds and can be thrown over the shoulder with a carrying strap.  Perfect for a lunch or outdoor lecture, yet still with enough discomfort to remind me that I’m here to work.

7.  Bring your own toilet paper for porta-potty or porta-bush, just in case.  You never know.

I could go on, however, you must master these seven before we can move on to the Advanced Course.



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