Here we will discuss useful tools for the GeoHistorian.

We take tools from historians, geographers and archaeologists.

We take a trowel and leaf for minor excavations, clearing of walls and so on. We will leave the shovel, mattock and wheelbarrow in the shed.

Field Archaeologist’s Trowel
Plasterer’s leaf used for fine work

As we might need to measure ditches, buildings, tracks and roads we take a 3m measure, as it is a handy pocket size.

A tape measure

Of course we need a notebook and pen and pencil to make notes and sketches; plain or lined, or squared, or Rite in the Rain; its very much a personal choice.

Plain notebook with brass pen and pencil

Rite in the Rain all weather notebook and brass writing implements

We might need to look at things closer so a pocket magnifying glass is handy.

Magnifying glass

A compass is essential for map work.


Maps, of course, of various kinds are the key tool of a GeoHistorian: political; topographic; town plans; historical maps.

Maps, of various kinds

A camera, because we can’t just rely on a mobile phone.

Mirrorless camera

Pocket binoculars, or ideally something larger, like 8 x 40.


Mobile phone of course with good map and navigation apps, and a camera as back-up.

A clinometer to measure the angle of slopes. Just how steep is that defensive ditch?

A pocket knife with several useful tools.

A Victorinox Swiss Army knife

Or perhaps a multi-tool.

A multi-tool

A bag or backpack to carry everything in. Shoulder, or messenger bags, are more traditional and ok if you are not taking much. A small day-sack/backpack is much better for your back and posture, but more difficult to access things easily.