Learning More About Dinosaurs

Digging Up Fossils

What types of tools are used at dinosaur digs?

There are a large variety of tools used at dig sites. But the excavation of any one fossil is a unique process and may only require a few of them. Also, different stages of the evacuation process may require different tools. With that in mind, here is a general list of the major tools that might come in handy at dig sites. (Also note: Some dig sites may be miles from roads, and tools must be carried in, so light-weight and multi-usefulness are important considerations):

  1. Shovel or spade: A light-weight model for digging out loose material.

  2. Geologic hammer: These hammers have a square at one end and a chisel or pick at the other end. They are indispensable, general purpose tools.

  3. Club hammer: This tool is used for hitting heavy chisels. Geologic hammers are often substituted for this tool.

  4. Rock saw and stonemason’s chisels: These are chisels with an assortment of blade widths. They are used for removing rock from around a fossil.

  5. Trowel or old knife: Trowels or old knives are used to scrap away soft rock.

  6. Brushes: All types of brushes, from toothbrushes to paintbrushes, are used on a dig. They are good for removing loose rock.

  7. Strainer or sieve: Strainers or sieves are useful for separating small fossil pieces from loose rock or washing samples.


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