Casual utility reigns supreme over haute couture. That’s our conclusion after studying dig fashion photos submitted by BAR readers. The days are long past when fedoras, walking sticks, elegant dresses and well-tailored jackets graced excavation site photos. Fortunately, designer dig apparel hasn’t yet hit today’s market, so for the time being: anything goes!

Our favorite submission came from Kay Livingston of Salt Lake City, Utah. Standing in front of the tent they would call home during the dig at Lachish, Kay (second from right in the photo) and her tentmates, newly found friends from Australia, appear about to break into song and dance. Their white tennis shoes and dust-free appearance mark them as new arrivals at the dig.

Many of the respondents included anecdotes with their pictures. We were heartened to read June Goyne Corotto’s story about how, on a windy day at Horvat Uza, a “gallant young digger tore up his T-shirt in order to make masks to protect our faces from the stinging sand.” Bob Kaufman, who at age 73 was the oldest volunteer at the 1983 Shiloh excavation, inspired us by his example: Put in charge of the wheelbarrow brigade, he “had no problem keeping up with the young,” according to his wife Irene. Another volunteer, Dena S. Davis, noted that her photo was taken on the first day of her dig experience, but that she “was still smiling after two weeks, although my gloves did not look the same after that day.” She found her dig, Ein Yael, through BAR, and was so intrigued by our article on Timnaha that she planned to dig at both sites in 1989.

The consensus of advice from our respondents is that the well-dressed volunteer should wear wide-brim hats, sunglasses, gloves, and clothes that are light, but which cover the arms and legs from the fierce sun.

Our thanks go to all the brave diggers who sent photos to us and who shared some of their experiences.