Equipment Solutions for Remote Archaeological Fieldwork

When you think about CRM archaeological work, you likely imagine a crew out in the sunshine, digging, troweling, and screening away in their Hi-Vis vests. But there are a lot of other people in CRM working tirelessly behind the scenes to allow those excavations to happen! Our equipment team is responsible for keeping the gear we use in the field accounted for and in tip top shape, and occasionally, they are called on to work out solutions to tricky problems that arise throughout the season.

ASI completes projects all over Ontario, and some of these can be far afield. On these “away missions”, we need all the same equipment as we do for projects closer to home, but there are limitations on the size and portability of what we can transport on an airplane. In the past, some crews have been obliged to purchase shovels upon arrival to the area of the site and leave them behind once the work has been completed, which is far from ideal. To resolve this issue, our Senior Archaeologist Andrew Clish has contrived several brilliant devices!

Shovels being the initial conundrum, Andrew pulled no punches in his approach and cut them right in half. He then used a wood lathe to create attachment points for a threaded connector which allows the shovels to be broken down into two portions of equal length for transport and reassembled securely when it’s time to break ground. These shovels have been very popular with our field crews and more will likely be made to meet future demand!

Another innovation is the compact folding screens seen below! These “mini” screens include additional hinges which allow them to be folded down into exceptionally portable units for easy transport. These little screens each have their own carrying case making fieldwork at distant sites much more accessible for our adventurous archaeologists in the field.

Organising and facilitating equipment is a big job. Andrew is joined by Kait McMullen, Staff Archaeologist and Equipment Coordinator, who keeps track of who needs what, and where the equipment needs to go. Together, Andrew and Kait make sure everyone is well prepared. We are grateful to our talented and hard-working team for supporting the work we do as Ontario’ largest CRM archaeology consultant company!


Written by Savannah Parent Eastwood