A day of monitoring

Well, prior to the “great recession”, I used to work as a professional archaeologist holding a Ph.D., M.B.A., and having 30 years of experience in the private cultural resources industry. Now, however, in these days of slow economic recovery in the United States, I am back where I started working as an archaeological laborer (and am feeling lucky that I am able to find any work at all in archaeology).

Today I was up early, at 4 am, and out of the house by 5. After stopping at the office to pick up a truck and some gear, it was out to the Town of Marana, Arizona for a 6 am start time at a construction site. One of the local electrical utilities was installing some new poles and the transmission line crossed some known, and important, early agricultural village sites along the Santa Cruz River. My job was to monitor the contstruction crews and their hole drilling so work could be stopped if archaeological remains were encountered.

The first half of the day was spent setting in the truck waiting for the construction crews to get organized and actually start drilling. Finally, they began to auger down into the earth. I watched the spoils come to the surface, checking for artifacts, bone, charcoal, etc. and did my best to document the stratigraphic changes. Only two, three-foot holes were drilled today and both were to a depth of 16 feet. No archaeological artifacts or cultural deposits were encountered. After the first two holes, the construction crews discovered they didn’t have enough hole covers to continute drilling, so they quit for the day about 1 pm.

I then drove back to the office, dropped off the truck and gear, logged my hours, and headed home. Some days archaeology is cool and full of interesting discoveries and insights about the past. Today wasn’t one of those days!