Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The hat issue Way back in this post I offered the Converse All Star high top as perhaps the ultimate excavation shoe. The theory behind those shoes is that a softer sole without much tread will do less damage to exposed surfaces and artifacts than big knobby boots, besides keeping dirt out of your socks.

Having just seen the latest Indiana Jones installment, we must visit the hat issue. Probably the most famous piece of archaeological clothing ever:

Not a bad choice really. It's got brim all around so it's pretty good at keeping the sun off and good in the rain, too. I thought the original was a Stetson, but I could be mistaken. Matter of fact, my first project in Egypt I took my disreputable old dark blue canvas fedora that I'd had since undergraduate days in Wisconsin for warding off the rain:

And in a perhaps more realistic setting:

It eventually got too rancid to wear anymore. I bought another brown fedora, much more Indiana Jonesish, to ward off the rain of Seattle, but I don't think I ever took it to Egypt. I used to make fun of the Egyptology people who would go to Egypt in their khaki Safari outfits -- complete with pith helmet! -- so I thought it might be a tad bit incongruent for me to go looking all Indy. Besides, on a survey in Idaho I'd discovered the utility of the hard hat. Especially handy when going through dense woodland; just put your head down and plow ahead. Plus in the sun it allows for air circulation and in the rain, well, it's plastic so ideal. And you can fill it with water, if need be. I started to understand the affection many veterans felt for their trusty helmets. Not much brim is one of the only drawbacks. And they're pretty cheap and darn near indestructible. I have a standard yellow one and a white one with Wisconsin stickers on it. Both safety rated for those times students let their picks fly across the trench. . . . .

IIRC, Mark Lehner had a fedora, much like Zahi Hawass. The other big one, in Egypt at least, is a certain type of wide-brimmed hat. The brand name I remember is Tilley, but I'm not sure what the overall type is called. Most are more or less like this one: