Before digging at an archaeological site, an archaeologist will usually make a grid of the area using stakes and string. He will then use archaeology supplies like as pickaxes and shovels to remove the top layers of soil. Dirt will often need to be removed from more fragile artifacts with soft brushes. Once dirt has been removed, it is usually put into buckets before being strained through shaker screens. Any artifacts that are uncovered are then usually stored in bags or other containers.
When a possible archaeological site has been found, the area must be organized into a manageable work area. This area is often referred to as a grid, and it is usually marked with archaeology supplies like stakes and string. Stakes are first usually pushed into the ground at even intervals. String is then tied to each stake, so it creates several small squares on the ground. Many times, archaeologists will also mark the squares of this grid on graph paper as well.
Digging tools are some of the most important archaeology supplies. Pickaxes and mattocks are often used to loosen the top layers of soil and rock, and large shovels are then used to remove the dirt and rocks. When archaeologists believe that they have gotten close to the artifacts, the large shovels are usually traded in for smaller shovels, known as trowels. These smaller shoves are used to remove small amounts of dirt from around the artifacts, since they are less likely to damage them.
The metal blades of the shovels, however, will often damage most artifacts. Removing dirt and debris from fragile artifacts, such as pottery and bones, usually requires the use of other important archaeology supplies. Soft brushes are usually used for this task. Archaeologists typically cary several different sized paintbrushes with them when they are digging.
Buckets and shaker screens are other common archaeology supplies. Once the dirt has been removed from a hole, it is usually put into a bucket. When this bucket is nearly full, the dirt is dumped onto a shaker screen, which is a piece of mesh screen surrounded by a wooden frame. Shaking these screens allows the dirt to fall through the holes, but small artifacts are caught on top of the screen.
Found artifacts will be placed into storage containers. Most of these containers are usually nothing more than plastic or paper bags, but plastic bins may be used as well. Archaeologists then carefully record what the artifacts are, as well as where they were found.