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.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

With great responsibility...

These last two days have been a heaping spoonful of what it's like to be field director. All of the times that I said to someone, "I'm sorry you have to deal with that, but I'm glad it's not me" are coming back to haunt me.
Yesterday, we met with our client's field rep, the drill crew project manager, and a land agent for almost 2 hours. I don't think the crew minded too much, as they got to sit in an office and read. I had to try and figure out what info the other people wanted, then try and find it, and try and get some things I needed from them, all while making sure I didn't say anything to make things even more difficult. Eventually, they gave me a map with all of the property tracts on it, with markings to distinguish between "clear" and "not clear" properties. This way, we wouldn't be trespassing. Last night, I spent a good two to three hours marking all of our field maps with permanent marker to make sure that the no access properties were obvious.
So today, I send out one of my crews to revisit three previously recorded sites while I took a crew to an HPA that was near the drilling. Before we left the field office, we talked with our land agent who said everything was good. At the very first site, the crew was met by an unhappy landowner, who told them that his access was on a "pay-per-entry" basis and that the land agents knew that. He wasn't angry with them, but all the same, they were asked to leave, but not before he told them about all the stuff he had found. I had them call the land agent to tell him the situation.
After revisiting the second site, they drove to the third site, which had limited access. I had them call the land agent to check on possible access roads, since they would be crossing an area that wasn't marked on the field map. Apparently, they talked to a different agent as our guy was out on another job! That person told them to follow a gated driveway that became a farm road. As they're at the gate, the landowner drove up and was very unhappy. Apparently, he's never been paid for the access he granted, and was supposed to have been paid in November. Again, he wasn't really angry at the crew, just at the project (not sure who is in charge of that aspect). Eventually, he even allowed them to survey the site area, but also told them to pass the word along that there would be no more access until he got paid.
So, work an eight-hour day that involves walking for miles and looking for sites while NOT digging shovel tests in meter-plus deep sandy soils beneath 5-10 centimeters of pine needles and leaf litter (as we say "looking for a piece of hay in a needle stack"). Then, come home and put out small fires and apologize to crew members who got yelled at TWICE and let the clients know what we did today and plan out the next days work. Yeah, I have time to blog about it, but it's exhausting!
On the plus side, I did actually find a pretty nice dart point base in a dirt road.

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