I've worked on an archaeological dig in the American southwest. Here's a few details:
Clothes: You wear anything that you don't mind getting astonishingly filthy. In the desert, it's tennis shoes, shorts, T-shirts, hats, bandanas, and the strongest sunscreen you can find on the market. You'll need it.
Often you'll have to rent a house from a nearby landowner unless you like camping. Having access to a shower becomes part of basic survival when you're doing a dig. I've stayed in a house rented from a local rancher, and we had to pile into a van and drive 30-odd miles every day to reach the site.
Meals: A weekly shopping trip is made to the grocery store for supplies. People just grab breakfast, yogurt, cereal, whatever. Lunch is a sack lunch you make yourself, usually a sandwich. Job of cook rotates among the company, with 2 different people doing the cooking every evening. The important thing is to make sure you have a pair of large drink coolers filled up and iced before you go out every morning, one with water, the other with something sweet like lemonade or whatever.
First Day: When you're doing the initial ground breaking to locate rooms, etc., you dig with full-size garden spades of the sort that can be driven in with your foot, and when you're finished, you will be sorer than you've ever been in your life. When you go home, all your muscles will have stiffened and you'll find it almost impossible to move. But it will get better the next day and you'll become hardened to the work. When you locate an artifact or a floor, you switch to trowels.
Daily routine: You rise at the crack of dawn and have about a half-hour to dress and eat, and then you're all out the door. You try to hit the site as soon as you can. Mid-morning, you'll take a break. We usually had a cookie and sugary drink break because when you're doing hard manual labor all day, you need all the extra calories you can stuff down your throat. You'll burn them off. You've got about an hour for lunch. You knock off work at five, and by then, the sun will make you feel like you've been roasting on a spit in front of a fire. Bathroom facilities are an improved outhouse that's a simple pit toilet with a box and a seat, which you hang curtains around. Courtesy demands you pay attention to who's gone off to use the facilities so you don't interrupt them.
What you do: You separate into two teams. First are diggers who use trowels. When they meet a floor, they take off their shoes and work in their socks to keep from damaging the surface. Their socks are vile by the end of the day, and you need to bring along several pair of short, cheap socks. The instant their trowels meets any artifact, they put aside the trowel and use something else, often their work gloves, to clear away most of the dirt. Objects will still have excess dirt on them, and this will be swept off with a house painter's brush, but serious cleaning is done back in the laboratory.
The second team consists of sifters. Every day you set up a large tripod, about 10 feet tall or so, from which is danging a boxy horizontal mesh screen on chains. Diggers are constantly filling metal buckets as they work, and the sifter collects these in pairs and carries them over to the screen, pours the dirt onto the screen, and then shakes the screen back and forth until stray artifacts are revealed. 95 percent of what you'll get are broken clay pot fragments, called pot shards. When you get something else, you tend to whoop like an idiot and invite everyone over to gawk, but this opportunity is rare.
Each heaping bucket of dirt weighs about 30 pounds, and you'll build your arm muscles up like you wouldn't believe hauling these back and forth all day. 60 pounds of dirt is also quite hard to sift at first until most of it falls through the screen and the remainder lightens up. At the end of the dig, I found I was strong enough to be able to lift my father off the floor. Best physical condition I've ever been in. By the way, being the digger is the easy task, since you're mostly sitting on your butt all day. Being the sifter is the physically hard part. I sifted what I calculated to be about half a ton of dirt every day.
Small sifted artifacts are placed in paper sacks and labelled with the day's date and the particular name of the room that you're digging up, as well as its approximate location--e.g. southwest wall. Anything important--a skeleton or an elaborate piece of whole pottery gets a hand drawn map to show its location on the site. Before you start, you should have your location surveyed, and the size and orientation of any walls or buildings drawn on a map. GPS can really help you out with this, but you'll still going to be doing some hand-drawing.
At the end of day's work, you cover the site with plastic tarp weighed down with stones at the corners. This is to keep rain out. When you return to your domicile, you begin your cleanup, and this is awesome to experience. Sifters get the worst of it. First, you take off your shoes and start to shake, and shake, and shake. It'll be like that old Peanuts cartoon of Pigpen shaking the dirt out of his shoes, and you'll produce an actual sizable mound of dirt. You'll have to shake out your socks as well, and they will never be white again, not even with bleach. When you blow your nose, black snot will come out. If you look in the mirror, you will see tiny specks of dirt floating on your eyeballs linked together as if in a daisy-chain. You will have 5 minutes to take a shower because everyone wants one before the hot water is gone, and when you step out, you'll still be dirty and there will be a ring of dirt around the tub. You will be dirty solid until the dig has closed down for the season and you can take a real shower at home.
At the end of the evening, while dinner is being made, you'll haul out all your sacks of artifacts, get out an honest-to-god ink bottle and antique ink pen--the sort they used in the 1800s, and which is difficult to use--and ink a number on every artifact in a discreet spot, and write out a numbered list of the daily finds, down to the least pot shard. If you don't know what you're holding, you ask the chief archaeologist what it is. You will go to bed soon after because you'll be more tired than you've ever been before in your life.
A note: A certain percentage of archaeologists, usually the diggers instead of the screeners, go to town every night and party for hours in a local bar. They will do this every single night for weeks on end and never seem to lack for sleep or get tired. All archaeological digs have a few of these people.
Schedule: You will work 6 days a week, and half the day on your 7th is usually devoted to some archaeology-related topic, like taking the van out to go visit another dig, or hiking through the countryside to locate other potential sites for future digs. The last half of the 7th day is your only true free time, and I used it to read and snack. Other people would hit the local bar.
When you finish a dig, you take some pennies with this year's date on them and scatter them across the floors of your site, and then backfill all your dirt. This is as exhausting a task as your initial day of digging, and you'll be half dead when it's over. The pennies are to let future archaeologists know this site has already been dug, and the date lets them know what year it happened.
Artifacts are professionally cleaned back in lab, not out on the site. But if you locate a skeleton, you paint some preservative on it, usually something like very thin Elmer's Glue, to keep it from crumpling. Old bones can be as fragile as dust. However, in this day and age of DNA testing, the method's probably changed, because anything with protein in it would contaminate your sample. I'd look that up if I were you.
Old bare bones are white, by the way, unless they've gotten wet via an underground steam that's carrying some of mineral compound that might stain them.