nav-left cat-right

Me and my Big Blue

Me and my Big Blue

Every time I have to pack for a fieldtrip, I bet that I’m a lot like you-  I always go to my favourite piece of kit first. I make sure that it’s packed in tight because I know that I just couldn’t get by without it… especially when I’m out bush, digging holes, and trying to get stuff done.

Estwing geo-paleo pick

Stratigraphic trench with the Big Blue and his mate, the Estwing chisel-end rock hammer

For me, my ‘go-to’ piece of kit is always my Big Blue. That is, the Estwing Geo Paleo pick. I’ve had mine for around six years now and it’s never let me down. It’s served me well on a huge variety of trips- from digging new trenches in the famous Neds Gully megafauna site of southeast Queensland (thought to be one of the youngest deposits yielding megafauna fossils in Australia), to cave excavations in central eastern Australia, and most recently, to some serious work on new fossil localities right up in the Gulf of Carpentaria.

So why would the Big Blue be my ‘go-to’? It’s simple- it never lets me down. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- the Big Blue is a real gold standard in excavating. It’s around 2 kg in weight and measures 66 cm. The thing about it though is that it is the modern version of the classic Marsh Pick.

Now, the original Marsh Pick was designed specifically for fossil hunting in the early 1930’s by a former curator of the American Museum of Natural History, Dr. Barnum Brown. At the time, Brown recognised that there was no tool on the market that really satisfied the need of the active palaeontologist or archaeologist. The original pick consisted of a short wooden handle with a metal pick-head / flat-blade combination… a model that was the standard amongst professionals and amateurs alike until the next millennium. It would still be around today except for the fact that the Big Blue came along.


The Big Blue after digging out a partial skull of some Pliocene megafauna

The Big Blue is a definite improvement on the original, with the wooden handle replaced by a durable powder-coated steel construction – great for adding strength and stability, plus it’s resistant to rust and tarnish. The blade-end is perfect for digging, while the pick-end is designed for prying up rocks and breaking through hard dirt. They’re built to last and come with a decent textured vinyl grip that extends two-thirds the length of the handle. And they’re super reliable.

I couldn’t live without this thing. But what about you? What is your ‘go-to’ piece of kit? Tell us what you think before Friday, 6th of December 2013, and we’ll give you 10% off store-wide on your next purchase!


Share:Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterShare on Google+Pin on PinterestEmail this to someone
The following two tabs change content below.

Dr G

Our resident expert at Dig It Up
Our Dr G (Dr Gilbert Price) established Dig It Up in 2010. A palaeontologist with over 15 years experience, Dr G’s wealth of knowledge and know-how in archaeology and geology tools and equipment is second-to-none.

Latest posts by Dr G (see all)

8 Responses to “Me and my Big Blue”

  1. Leesa says:

    Hi Dr g! Mine would be trowel. Couldn’t leave home without it!

  2. Dr G says:

    Ha ha, spoken like a real archaeologist, Leesa! I’ve just emailed you a discount code- just enter it into relevant box during the checkout process for the discount to apply. What brand trowel to you use?

  3. Stephen Petrie says:

    The Geologist in me says Geopick,
    The Geophysicist in me says Laptop,
    The Geographer in me says GPS,
    The Archaeologist in me says Mapping board
    And for the guy who’s been bogged a few too many times in me a shovel.
    So I pack them all and 100kg of additional must haves.
    Thank goodness we have 4×4 to carry it all.

    • Dr G says:

      haha, that’s a feeling that I can relate to, Stephen! We’ll email you your 10% discount code in just a sec :)

  4. Jacki says:

    For me, I’m not so much about a tool, but a field accessory- always make sure that I pack a range of photo scale bars. Can’t live without them and it makes things lots easier back in the office when I’m going over the pics.

    • Dr G says:

      Yep- definitely agree with you, Jacki. Scales for photos are just so critical. We’ve just emailed you a discount code with instructions to use :)

  5. Geo-P says:

    Gotta love me my old eastwing! best geo pick on the planet!