To excavate an ancient ruin or archaeological site there is not an overwhelming amount of training you necessarily need for the basic tasks. Much of it is just digging and searching through the dirt. Most people generally know extremely little about historical destinations, especially rare and little known sites. For those that do take the time to read up and understand about ancient civilizations and building techniques. Attending lectures by scientists and experts at colleges, universities, libraries, and local clubs is also a good way to learn a bit more about what is going on.
A good general fitness level is important to work in the hot sun all day. The majority of ancient sites require a great deal of walking and climbing stairs. Drinking lots of water and eating well balanced meals are a must to maintain your energy. If hiking to isolated areas, you may need to be in great shape. You may be hiking up and down mountains, in extreme heat, and carrying a large load of food and equipment.
Gear Requirements/Packing lists
There are no must have pieces equipment to bring with you when at an archaeological dig except an eager mind. Still, a few accessories can help make the trip easier.
A small back pack will help to carry basic necessities such as water, sunscreen, glasses, maps, and a camera. Field guides and books about historical sites and civilizations are a good idea to keep with you so you can read while waiting for or riding planes, trains, and busses.
Rain can last for weeks and even during dry seasons a strong bout of rain can occur, therefore waterproof and easy drying clothing is a good idea. Ponchos, raincoats, and umbrellas are also a good idea to keep in your luggage. Considering you will often be in the desert or the tropical heat, protection from the sun in the form of hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen is important as well. Rubber sandals with Velcro straps can be a blessing for many in tropical areas. They are rugged enough to climb stone steps and to cross streams without getting damaged.
Decent camera equipment is a good idea if spending all this money on a trip. Digital DSLR’s are getting cheaper and cheaper these days and can turn your photos into works of art. Zoom lenses on cameras will improve your photos significantly when shooting wildlife that is often very small or far away, but a good all around lens that goes up to at least 100mm is sufficient. Your point and shoot, even with a small zoom, can get you some decent shots too, but don’t expect national geographic type photos. Even in third world countries you can download memory cards to a CD in almost every net café in less than an hour for just a few dollars, therefore bringing an excessive amount of memory for your entire trip is not necessary.