A handpick is something every archaeologist has but these handpicks are what every archaeologist should have in their excavation kit, the Patiche. They are available in four sizes from Ingalls Archaeological Supply. I own a No. 40 and won’t leave home without it!
This is what Ingalls’ website has to say about their handpicks:
The Ingalls Patiche/Handpick is a unique tool, designed for use by professional as well as aspiring archaeologists, and built to last long enough to eventually show up in a dig as an artifact itself!
Lightweight for easy use and transport, the current pick design is the result of years of gradual field development, primarily in the Mediterranean and deserts of the Middle East. Careful consideration was given to how the Patiche/Handpick “feels” when used. The location of the rotational center point of the pick’s weight, in combination with the shape of the handle, help keep the Patiche/Handpick naturally balanced in your hand, making day-long expedition use easier on your arm, shoulder and back.
The steel head of the pick is a high-quality, precision thin-wall, lost wax investment casting. The sophisticated alloy steel used is the same tough, stain-resistant steel used in mountain climbing equipment. After the pick head is cast, it is heat-treated to hold an edge and to be hard enough to resist wearing out with use.
The straight-edge 15° beveled sides allow for natural hand angle when raking small quantities of loose material into a pile, helping you to avoid dragging your knuckles over the ground while raking. Subtle, but important, the radius chosen for the top curve of the pick head is designed to facilitate the cutting of vertical balk walls.
Archaeological Handpicks Feature:
- Special digging radius
Pick-head radius with a focal point at the hand grip/wrist pivot area to make cutting vertical balk walls easier.
- Deep handle shank
Extra deep internally reverse-tapered shank provides a simple, strong, solid, and secure handle-to-pick connection.
- Hickory handle
Top-of-the-line 12″ (305 mm) adze eye hickory handle with weather-resistant clear lacquer and silicone finish for a slip-resistant grip. Shaped for maximum hand comfort. Best quality available, manufactured from hickory with a density of at least 48 pounds per cubic foot. Wooden handle does not collect heat in the sun, preventing the “too-hot-to-touch” syndrome. Lighter than metal or metal and leather handles, easier to keep clean, and replaceable worldwide. Wood is also easier on the hand because it helps to absorb the vibrations that can numb the hand after day-long use.
- 15° beveled sides
Straight-edge 15° beveled sides allow for a natural hand angle when using the pick like a trowel to rake together loose rubble into a pile prior to removal without losing leading edge contact with the ground. This prevents the gathered material from “escaping” from under the leading edge of the pick.
- Heat-treated alloy steel
Heat-treated alloy steel tempered to hold an edge, yet left soft enough to be easily re-grindable for a blunter or sharper digging edge, or different pick tip or hoe corner radius as desired.
- Durable, quality product
Pick heads are carefully manufactured one at a time as a very high quality, precision thin-wall lost wax casting. The stain-resistant steel alloy is used for the pick’s construction is the same tough, stain-resistant steel used in mountain climbing equipment where metal fatigue could mean death. Designed to literally last more than a lifetime.
- Four sizes—take your pick!
To facilitate all aspects of excavation, the pick is available in four sizes:
The Detailer—For careful work around emerging artifacts. Hoe width is 36mm.
The Surveyor—For general exploration as well as daily on-site use. Hoe width is 40mm.
The Expedition—Designed for daily on-site production use. Hoe width is 45mm.
The Earthmover—Excellent where dig site preparation work is required to clear away large quantities of overburden. Hoe width is 55mm.