An Archaeologist’s Wish List

Happy International Archaeology Month! Don’t forget to get out and celebrate International Archaeology day tomorrow, October 15th. There are plenty of events to attend including IUP’s Archaeology Open House that we are having for the first time since Covid! However,  If you are looking for another way to celebrate archaeology month, you might be interested in giving your favorite archaeologist a little gift for all of their hard work. Or, maybe you’re starting holiday shopping (it’s never too early) and are looking for ideas for the archaeologists in your life. Whatever the reason, here is a wish list of items that we really “dig”.


For the young archaeologist: 

These gifts are perfect for anyone starting out in the discipline who is working on building their personal tool kit. 

The Marshalltown Trowel: 

If you’re going to be a field archaeologist, you need a sturdy trowel. The most recommended trowel in the business is the Marshalltown. You can get two different trowels from Marshalltown, a pointing trowel, which is the standard tool used for hand excavating units, and a margin trowel which is squared and perfect for getting those beautiful, straight walls. Get them here:






A Tape Measure:

Most people have these lying around the house, but is it in meters? Archaeologists typically use the metric system so make sure they are equipt with the right kind of tape measure by gifting them one! Plus, it’s one of the more accessible gifts as they can be found in any hardware or “home improvement” store. 

Work Gloves:

This one tends to go forgotten, especially with new archaeologists, but it is one of the more important protective measures that we can take. No one wants glass or a nail stuck in their hands while screening. You can purchase these anywhere, but make sure they have reinforced palms and are durable since they tend to get beaten up in the field. Here’s an example:

Munsell Mug :

If you’re looking for a cute tchotchke-like gift you could get a “Munsell color chart” mug in a variety of colors from We use Munsell charts as a systematic way to identify the soils we come across. Your favorite archaeologist can practice by using it to identify the color of their morning coffee or tea!


For the seasoned CRM professional: 

These gifts are for the archaeologists that have been in the biz for a while. They probably have all the tools they need and more so these are items that will help make their life in CRM a little bit easier! 

Saunders Clipboard: 

Archaeologists do a lot more paperwork in the field than you might imagine. Therefore, this aluminum clipboard with storage is perfect for CRM professionals who work in undesirable weather conditions. The storage portion keeps site forms, notes, and maps clean and dry and the clipboard portion gives them a nice surface to write on so their notes are legible. You can find these on Amazon:

Munsell Soil Color Book:

While you could get a CRM professional the Munsell mug mentioned above, they might find the actual Munsell color chart more useful. This way they don’t have to rely on waiting for the shared copy to become available and instead can whip out their handy color chart whenever they want! Get it here:

Hot plate:

If you want to spoil your CRM archaeologist, you can get them a hot plate so they can make decent meals in their hotel rooms. This will save them money in the long run since they won’t have to spend their per-diem on meals out. They can also use this to boil water for hot beverages so if they are an avid coffee drinker, this would be perfect! There are definitely other small kitchen appliances that are useful like an electric kettle, an instant pot, etc. but CRM professionals have been using hot plates for years and it really is a versatile tool. There are plenty that you can find on amazon or, at a Bed Bath and Beyond type store. 


I hope that this list helped spark some ideas for what to get your friends and family who are archaeologists! Whatever you choose, they are sure to be grateful. However, the most important gift that any of us can get is your support as we pursue this career that we are so passionate about. 

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