My day started…

Lansdale, Pennsylvania (USA)  [Posted by the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum webmaster]

The business of archaeology can be a frustrating experience. I work for a cultural resource management firm. My day started, like that of many others, sitting in traffic to get to work. Once there, I was greeted by a long flatbed trailer who had parked across all of the parking spots for the office. After I had a few gentle words with the driver, and I intimated that the borough police would not look favorably on his parking, he moved and I was able to park. On checking my email, I was greeted by a request for nine hard copies of a report for work performed in Berks County (Pennsylvania, USA), and could I have them delivered to their office by 3pm today? Another email wanted to know why the company’s insurance broker had not sent the requested documentation for a bridge project in Montgomery County (Pennsylvania) and still another email from our phone system company indicating that, despite a three week wait, they had brought the wrong software fix and would come back when they could find the correct software.  I had been at work for less than a half an hour and wanted desperately to leave. Phone calls were left with the client, the insurance broker, and the phone system firm. No one was in to talk to me. I also placed a call to an archaeologist with the National Park Service to discuss possible upcoming work in Valley Forge National Historic Park.  They were also not available. Later in the day, I was able to get some work done. The work included the review of an informational packet that we were preparing for a local municipality in advance of a proposed ordinance to protect historic buildings; a review of a Phase I archaeological survey report where three archaeological sites were found, but where project impacts were changed to avoid the sites; and updating of a work plan for archaeology at an early twentieth century site in Delaware County (Pennsylvania). Later in the day, I was reminded by my computer to prepare a submission for the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum’s Artifact of the Month and to prepare a short summary of work performed in a mining community in western Pennsylvania for the Society for Historical Archaeology newsletter.  The two small write-ups were the only enjoyable part of the day as they provided an outlet to provide information concerning archaeological work to the general public — and I didn’t have to wait for a call back.

 By Kenneth J. Basalik, Ph.D. President Cultural Heritage Research Services, Inc.