Most archaeological work, at least in Europe and North America, relies on the trowel.
The trowel we use looks like this:
As you can see, it is not a regular garden trowel like the one you might use
when you're planting vegetables, the archaeological trowel is called a forged
mason's trowel - the main difference is that it is pointed at the end.
Most archaeologists start with 10 cm. (4 inch) trowels, but after months
of excavation on hard soil, like at DhRl 16, the blade gets much smaller.
Ask any archaeologist who has done a lot of excavating and they are
usually proud to show you their collection of well worn trowels!
To archaeologists, this is a 'cool' thing, like havinga complete collection
of baseball cards or all the Spice Girls stickers!
Trowels are used in many different ways. The main method of digging
by trowel (trowelling) involves scraping off a layer of soil
with the edge of the blade and breaking up the chunky soil with the point.
Use of the trowel usually results in a clean surface so features (like hearths)
can show up clearly (unless it's raining!!).
Some 'trowellers' who have a lot of experience are able to
dig very fast with a trowel.  Sometimes a small pick is used,
but these cause more damage than the trowel.
 Trowels can also chop through plant and tree roots,
which can be very handy here on the Northwest Coast
where plants are everywhere.
Once the soil has been trowelled off, it has to be removed.
Hand shovels are filled with dirt using the trowel or a brush.
 The dirt is then taken in buckets or wheelbarrows to be dumped
at a safe distance from the excavation.  Before dumping, the dirt is usually
sieved or floated just to make sure that no archaeological material was missed.
All in all, the trowel is very useful and well loved by archaeologists.
Sometimes, however, if we are excavating an object we have to be very careful.
 At these times, things like dental instruments and toothbrushes
come in handy.  Even spoons are used to take
tiny amounts of dirt away from fragile things!!
You see? A lot of the time we don't use instruments that have
buttons or run out of batteries or break easily.
The good archaeologist knows that sometimes "less is better"!
Why don't you try it out in your own backyard?
Pick a little area and clear the grass and soil away, layer by layer.
Use a trowel, a spoon and a toothbrush, see if you can find
a beautiful rock buried underground!
Take it inside, wash it off, put it beside your bed and have
sweet dreams of becoming an archaeological detective!!
Just a hint though: Only excavate a very small area in your backyard, or you might get in big trouble! When I was younger, my parents thought that I was ripping up the backyard and the neighbours thought we had a crazy dog that dug holes everywhere!  Little did they know, that I was just on my way to being a good archaeological detective!