Bathrooms on a Dig
As the spring dig season shapes up, budding archaeologists face a variety of conditions. If you’re concerned about dirt, snakes, holes, heat or cold, archaeology might not be your thing. Should those concerns include bathroom issues, it’s really not for you.
Lightbulb moment: An excavation might not be for me.
A bit too late for that, I’m already scheduled, along with my son, Petya to be here, there, and everywhere on digs from here to Timbuktu over the course of the next month or two. Now, being 19 and a guy, he has distinct advantages over me in terms of the bathroom issue.
He can hold it like there’s no tomorrow.
On one of the excavations, the paperwork instructs us to each bring a gallon jug to drink when excavating from 5:00 am to 2:00 pm. I also note the size of the gallon jug which would take up the entire interior of most any backpack, where I will also carry wallet, keys, field notebook, hat, pocket kleenex, mini first-aid kit, lip balm, sunscreen, lunch, kneeling pad, tape measure, trowel, field notebook, mechanical pencils, camera, bug spray. The jug will have to be carried separately.
“There’s no way I can drink that much water!” I tell Benedetto who has nothing to do with any of the above, but he knows plenty about dig sites.
“It’s the desert, of course you’ll be drinking water….”
“But whatever goes in…” I remind.
“It evaporates,” he laughs.
Not so fast. If I so much as have one demitasse of Turkish coffee, 30 minutes later I will need to use the facilities. In general, there are none. Out in the wild, you do what ya gotta do. In semi-civilization, you head for a convenience store. Here in the desert, it says that a porta-potty will be provided for the ladies and that the guys will use the Gentlemen’s Lounge.
Now that should be interesting. A desert doesn’t have much to hide behind, if you know what I mean. But as I tell my children, when faced with risqué situations, we must always avert our eyes. Petya is secure in the understanding that he will be just fine.
Meanwhile, I do an online search for alternatives, helpful soul that I am. Once upon a time, I had thought to invest in a shower-tent, a bullet-shaped cabana of sorts where a bucket of solar-heated water (you leave it in the sun for most of the day) may be suspended above your head to shower down upon you. Good for people with limited, or no, hair. For someone like myself, probably the hair would just start to get wet when the water would run out….
Now my search leads me to understand that the same, stall-like cabana tent can be used as a bathroom. You just need to buy a little bucket toilet to place inside. Probably a roll of toilet paper or an old Sears catalog would be beneficial, as well. Yet, in some of the reviews of these flimsy-looking toilets, they collapse upon their users, making one royal mess inside said tent.
Oh my. Apparently, squatting would be the way to go. Literally.
Which brings us to the funnel.
When adopting from Russia, I remember having numerous discussions with concerned women who understood that they would be expected to use a stand-up restroom that had no toilet at all, only footprint-forms on either side of a hole… that then flushed. Somewhat. This is de rigeur throughout Russia and other parts of the world when it comes to public toilets. Or public holes. So the American women could not handle the splash factor whereby one’s urine hit the hole or the surrounding area and splashed back on their legs, pants, or whatever.
So they invested in disposable paper funnels to help direct the flow.
I. kid. you. not. Why do I always need to reassure you, my dear readers, that I’m not pulling your leg? Or splashing on your leg, as the case may be.
All of this only proves to me, that, whatever your toilet problem, archaeological or otherwise, there will be a solution of some sort. I can sleep well tonight.
—————Tags: bathroom paper funnels, bathrooms in the wild, facilities on an excavation?, outdoor bathrooms, porta-potty for archaeological dig, public toilets and foreign holes, restrooms on an archaeological dig?