If you go to the American West to dig dinosaurs, what clothing do you need to take? And, for those so inclined, what about stuff beyond the pure need to survive? let me give you some pointers (some a bit tongue-in-cheek)
First off, you need a hat or some other cover. No discussion, no “but I get a headache if I wear one” (I do, for a few days!), you NEED it. There are only two kinds of weather in the US West in summer: scorching-hot heat and winter blizzards. OK, I am exaggerating, as you will soon read, but there is some truth to it. So here let me show you a non-optional part of your gear in four different versions – along with another indispensable piece, which however need not be bought in quite such a spiffy version:
Kayleigh, who just turned in her Masters thesis a short time ago at Bonn University http://dinosaurpalaeo.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=3974&action=edit&message=10(Congratulations!!!!!) with her very reasonable hat and much less reasonable sunglasses. Note mirror images of Hans-Kaspar, Melanie and me with differing head gear. It really don’t matter much what exactly you put on your scalp, as long as it keeps you from getting sunstroke. Shading your eyes – it can be a good idea to have a wide-brimmed hat, but then beware of the wind. Sunglasses are a must, too, though, because the light-coloured sediment can really blind you. Additionally, they offer some protection from all the dust that’s blowing around.
While we are on the subject of reflective surfaces, there is one cool thing about mirror sunglasses: you can take somewhat surreal pictures of the landscape even while driving, and fool around with your camera in a thousand other ways. And sometimes you can even sleep without anyone noticing. Yes, Prof. P., I am looking at you!
Back on topic….. Third place of the must-have wear are dinosaur related T-shirts. There is in fact no explicit law or statue stating that you need to wear one, but it is decidedly un-cool to show up in plain clothes. Dino-shirts are definitively dig chic! There is, by the one, ont thing that is worse than not wearing dinosaur shirts: wearing T-shirts from competing professions. There were a bunch of archaeologists present at this summer’s SMA dig, and to their great credit they refrained from wearing any archaeology-related stuff. The best thing you can bring is, in fact, a shirt from a previous dig, the kind of shirt only given to actual dino-diggers, not sold to tourists and crap. Let me show you the ideal wear:
My 2003 SMA dig shirt. As you can see it has a Stegosaurus on the back, a town name from the US West, a year, and the word “dig” – all the essentials are there! What makes it especially geeky is the historical, tail-dragging reconstruction used. In case your eye-sight is not that good, here’s a close-up of the design:
Melanie, who had taken part in the 2003 dig as well, agreed with me that this shirt was of excellent quality, and mourned the loss of hers. It would have been very geek-cool to have both of us with the old shirt at the same dig, but alas, hers had been worn even more than mine in the meantime and finally succumbed to the onslaught of detergent and time.
And here is another acceptable design, worn by dig leader Tom Bollinger this summer:
Obviously, footwear is also an important issue. Here, opinions vary widely, with some people advocating rather sturdy boots, whereas others prefer flimsy sandals. Yes, Prof. P., I am again looking at you – I remember very well a certain climb over very rocky ground for which, as you said, only “light shoes” were necessary. One can argue that at a dig site no hiking is usually involved – but do ask Phil Manning and other people who had to lug bones for miles to get them to a place where a car could pick them up – and that thus sturdy boots are not required. But do ask our reptilian friend here about uncovered ankles…..
Uhm… yes, I will have those boots now (sturdy ankle-high sneakers do the job, too)! And please do note that just because you wear hiking boots you do not necessarily need to look bad. it’s all a matter of how you combine them with other, fitting accessories.
Julie the amateur palaeo artist shows how matching laces and bracelets look chic. If you do show up with “beach” footwear, make sure it at least is appropriately themed.
For comfort during the breaks, an Estwing rock hammer is a welcome addition to your wardrobe. Small people may get away with a smaller implement, such as an average home depot hammer.
Finally, you are obviously free to use all natural and man-made products to improve your looks – at dinosaur digs plaster of Paris is often used for this purpose. Granted, these gloves won’t last long, but they have a very special look to them ;)