In our “What’s in your dig bag?” series, we asked working field archaeologists what they carry with them out in the field. We wanted to know what gear they love and what items might be unique to them.
Name: Norma Franklin
Position: Research Fellow at the Zinman Institute of Archaeology, University of Haifa and an Associate Fellow at the W.F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research, Jerusalem.
Digging Since: 1988
Current Excavations: Co-director (with Jennie Ebeling), Jezreel Expedition.
I’ve been wearing the same style hat since 1989. It is a straw “pith helmet”. The current one must be its 5th or 6th reincarnation. In the past I had one that had an added solar powered fan, while my next one is waiting in the wings ready for use.
I don’t carry a trowel on purpose. If I did it would be a Marshalltown. The reason I don’t have one in my hand Is because I would be tempted to jump in and so deprive a hard working team member of the fun of revealing an exciting find. If I want to show a team member how I want something done I prefer to borrow their trowel for a few minutes and then hand it back.
When I started to think consciously about what I had in my dig bag I suddenly became very aware how its contents has changed drastically over the last few years.
Gone is the small notebook, the pencil, the architect’s scale ruler, and in is the iPhone, and often the iPad as well plus a heavy duty charger for both of them. Notes are typed in, quick reference photos made which are sent straight to my computer. My compact digital camera, is now a green dust-proof, shock-proof, and even water-proof model. A small, once green (my favorite color) Lederman penknife and a brass British Scoutmaster’s whistle live year round at the bottom of my bag. My large fine white cotton headscarf bought in 2001 from a store in Samaria-Sebaste is an essential, as are one or two small brightly colored multipurpose kerchiefs/bandanas. Rehydration salts (a commercial brand) or if none are available small sachets of table salt and sugar are useful to ward off or cure dehydration. A pair of cheap pharmacy reading glasses and a pair of good Polaroid sunglasses. Sunscreen, usually spf 50, a sharpie or two, some cash, a credit card, and a large bunch of keys.
Then there are the items that creep in and often surprise one, such as a few dental tools, a porcupine quill, or an over-ripe banana! My bag is about 15 years old, made by “Swiss Army”, it’s light weight and washable, and has definitely seen better days.
That’s Norma Franklin’s dig bag. What’s in yours? If you’re willing to share the contents of your dig bag, we want to know! Just email ASOR’s Digital Media Specialist, Kaitlynn Anderson.
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