The King of Spades vs. the Grizzly

Over the years archaeologists have adopted technological advances from other disciplines. In the office, using programs such as QGIS along with LIDAR and other data sets we can create models to predict sites. In the field, we use a GPS for navigation and iPads to take our notes. Artifact processing has also seen many advances helping us to date and source artifacts.

For all of these advances that have been made in the field, certain tools remain the same. One of the most essential tools that we use in the field is a shovel. I know many people associate trowels and fedoras with archaeologists, however these are most commonly used in academic excavations. While in the world of CRM the trowel will be used for certain situations, the shovel reigns, specifically at Tree Time it is the King of Spades.

The reigning king

The advantages to the King of Spades are its durability and its ability to cut through roots. The all metal shovel has never been broken by a staff member at Tree Time. Maybe lost forever in a deep stream when accidentally dropped… but never broken. In addition, the sheer weight of the shovel can help pound through roots. Other shovels are not as durable, the blades may warp, and they are more prone to breaking at the shaft break. Not the king though.20160519_153950

The Grizzly Challenger

Most shovels are not made of all metal but incorporate bits of wood. There can be a wide variety in quality so we highly recommend the Grizzly. These shovels are much lighter and easier to sharpen. The durability of the King of Spades comes at a cost, it is by far the heaviest and the most difficult to sharpen due to its thick blade. The ability to sharpen the Grizzly easily due to the thinner blade helps us maintain a sharp edge in the field to cut through roots. The light weight also makes them a lot easier to hike a long distance with, making for a much more pleasant hike.20160519_153703

In the end the durability of the King of Spades wins the favor of most of us at Tree Time. In fact five out of seven archaeologists, well at least at Tree Time, agree that the King of Spades shovel is the preferred tool. Long live the king.

This would not have happened if Madeline had the King of Spades!

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Author: bromano

I am an archaeologist with Tree Time Services Inc. conducting Historic Resources Impact Assessments in Alberta. I first gained experience in Alberta working as a field technician excavating at the Quarry of the Ancestors. This experience deepened my appreciation for the province’s rich heritage and prompted me to pursue more work in Alberta. I have experience in archaeology around the world and in other parts of Canada. I have excavated in Greece, as a student on the Pylos-Iklaina Archaeological Project and as a volunteer for the Kastro Kallithea Archaeological Project. I have also excavated in Ontario on the Mackenzie 2, Electric Woodpecker 1 and 2 sites. I extensive experience conducting research in an academic setting during the course of my Bachelor’s and my Master’s. I have also gained research experience as both a Research Assistant and as a Teacher’s Assistant using a wide variety of materials. This includes experience in archival research. I worked for the University of Alberta at their Alberta Land and Settlement Infrastructure Project. During my time there, I examined thousands of scanned microfilm reels concerning early homestead records. This has not only greatly expanded my knowledge of Alberta and its various communities, but the homesteading process and what life was like for Alberta’s early settlers. I have also work experience in museums. As an interpreter for both the Kenosewun Museum and Captain Kennedy House Museum in 2008 and 2009, I was responsible for interpretive program development including tours, special events, and displays. I conducted and coordinated research with my assistants on a variety of subjects, ranging from local histories to native fauna and flora. I have also volunteered in atlatl exhibition at the Bodo Archaeological Society’s open house and I welcome any other opportunity to help with community outreach.

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