Where in the hell am I?

Stories from the road, and home, by a contract archaeologist.

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Location: Texas, United States

I work out of town a lot as a contract archaeologist. Sometimes it's interesting. It can be quite funny, although probably only to other archys. Home is Austin, with my wife and our cute kitty and all of our crazy friends.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Oh Susannah

I spent the first part of this week working on a background review for a 300-mile pipeline in east Texas and Louisiana. This involves getting the project maps and plotting all of the archaeological sites, cemeteries, historic markers, National Register of Historic Places properties and previous archaeological projects within a 1-mile area of the project area. Normally, I would log onto the Texas Historical Sites Atlas (this is a link to the public version) and find the project area and start drawing and clicking. I would also go to the Texas Archeological Research Laboratory and look at hard copies of the maps and also copy any relevant information not available online. After that, you write a short report detailing the results. This was, the client knows of areas that might need to be avoided or will require some investigation.
Of course, a good chunk of this project is in Louisiana. They also have an online cultural resources database but it lacks a lot of the information we need. So next Monday morning I'll be flying to Baton Rouge to spend a couple of days researching in their offices. I'll get back Tuesday evening about 20 minutes after my family's plane lands, which works out pretty well. I'm a little bit nervous because I'm still pretty new at doing full-scale background reviews and our time is kind of limited. I also haven't been back to Louisiana since living there briefly in late '97.

Other than that, spent Wednesday in the field surveying for a roadway expansion outside of Georgetown. They're building a ginormous new high school east of town and they're adding turning lanes for the school traffic. Only thing we found was one beat-up projectile point base, but it was actually kind of sunny and I got a little bit of a tan. I ended up assigned to write the report, which is a first (but don't get too excited, it's all of 5 pages long). It's funny, because there's a pretty standard format that we use for reports, so it's really a lot of cut-and-paste and change the details. Not acceptable academically, but apparently okay for the nuts-and-bolts clearance reports of consulting. I think I did alright, but my boss hasn't had a chance to edit it yet, so I may be sorely mistaken. Another line on my CV, yay!

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