For Day of Archaeology 2013, I was able to do one of the best duties of my job, ARPA (Archaeological Resources Protection Act) Monitoring. This isn’t monitoring in the usual sense of watching construction work from afar to see if they inadvertently uncover archaeological properties. This involves visiting protected archaeological sites to see if they’ve been disturbed or are threatened with erosion or vehicle traffic. It is an essential part of cultural resource management for those federal agencies that actually manage land.
Basically, you drive to a site and walk around it while looking for any signs of disturbance. Then you take a photo or two of the site to record its condition and record the visit in your notes. As archaeology duties go, it doesn’t take a lot of work or (usually) a lot of thinking. Sometimes you need to walk a kilometer or so in order to get to the site. Other times, you can drive right up to it. Either way, it’s a pleasant walk through the woods.
In the past, I’ve done this alone. This year, I’ve been driving around with my COR (read: client POC). So, in addition to walking around looking at important sites, I’ve also been describing and explaining the sites to him. Basically, I’ve been giving a tour of some of the sites. Considering that most of my job involves sitting behind a computer, this wasn’t a bad way to spend the day at all.