After writing the last article about documenting a site and what you should have with you I received a couple of e-mails from our readers telling me that I left out a few things.
I just know you were waiting to here this because everybody wants to go out and buy a bigger back pack so they can carry even more stuff to a site! I know I always look forward to lugging the 30-40 pound pack I carry around!
As with just about everything in life, what you take to a site is optional. Myself, I’m a little anal about being prepared and not wanting to have to make a special hike just to get some information I should have already had.
With that said, some the other things our readers wanted me to mention were things like a tape measure, chalk, a set of binoculars, a flashlight and extra batteries.
I’ve always said we can’t tell you everything but we will try to give you a good idea about a subject.
The other things mentioned are good to have and should probably be included in your kit. I carry all of the above except for the chalk. I don’t like to chalk carvings for various reasons but the main reason is if it isn’t done right you can hide the actual meaning of the carving. If you need to highlight a carving to see it better or to photograph it try pouring water on it. This actually works and isn’t just one of those movie tricks you see in National Treasure II.
I do carry a tape measure, actually two. One is a small 6 foot tape for measuring short distances such as the depth of a drill hole or the distance between drill holes or other things that are in carvings or placed close together. On occasion these distances can be translated into actual distances in the field between points.
I also carry a 100 foot tape for measuring longer distances in the event I get into a site that requires exact distances. On occasion I work sites that are out in the open and don’t have trees and brush blocking your view and on those sites I always carry my laser rangefinders for getting the distances from one marker to another without having to actually walk the distance between them. Hey, I’m getting older and I’ll take doing it the easy way over the hard way just about every time! I wouldn’t say that the laser rangefinders are required equipment but they can be handy.
Binoculars won’t actually help you document a site but they will help you see things you might need to document. Flashlights are the same way, they won’t actually help you document anything but they will help you find some things that you may want to document. As with the tape measure, I always carry two flashlights. You may think this is really anal but just wait until you have your one and only light go dead on you when you are in the back of a dark tunnel. I can tell you from experience it sucks! If you think you are going to need a flashlight then you need two!
And in case you are wondering, the batteries didn’t go dead, I had extra batteries. The frickin’ bulb burned out! Who would have expected that? I’m a pretty prepared guy but I don’t carry extra flashlight bulbs around with me, at least not yet.
Extra batteries should be a given. Anytime you carry any piece of equipment that requires batteries then you should have extra batteries just in case.
As with interpreting the signs and symbols, each site is different. The type and amount of equipment you need or should have will continually change as you go from site to site. It's just the nature of the game.
If it was easy then everybody would be doing it!