CRM identifies any cultural resource within a given area that has been proposed for development. CRM firms negotiate with federal, state and/or local agencies to help the developer obtain the proper permits required for construction. These permits require a comprehensive study of both architectural history and archaeological sites that may be impacted by the proposed construction. Your job will be to identify all archaeological sites within a given project area and assess its potential for listing on the National Register of Historic Places.
- BA in anthropology or a related degree (related degrees include Classics, History, Environmental Sciences and Architectural History)
- Archaeological Field School or previous experience in the field
- Willingness to travel: CRM requires you spending much of your time on the road depending on what type of firm you choose. Generally speaking smaller firms (aka Mom and Pops) work in smaller regions than larger firms. Small firms usually work in a few states such as NY, NH and VT and you will travel throughout that area depending on where they have contracts. Larger firms have contracts over much larger geographical areas such as the Northeast, Southeast, Southwest, etc, and you are expected to travel throughout one and/or all of these regions.
- A sturdy nature: Archaeology is hard work. The holes need to be dug! You will be expected to dig, screen, and record all soils and artifacts you encounter. One major difference between CRM and academic archaeology is the pace of work. CRM jobs are on a strict budget, you have X amount of time and X amount of dollars to get the job done. You are also expected to work in harsh conditions. CRM is like the post office, neither rain nor sleet nor snow will stop you. You will encounter mosquitoes, black flies, ticks, spiders, poison ivy, green briar, cows, moose (in NH), and annoying locals who will ask you if you have found gold, dinosaurs or Jimmy Hoffa.
Where to look
- www.archaeologyfieldwork.com: Probably the best site on the net for archaeological employment, with postings for both the public and private sectors (State and Federal agencies and private firms).
- www.shovelbums.org: Another great site although most postings on shovelbums are also on archaeologyfieldwork.com.
- www.culturalresourcegroup.com: Website for the Louis Berger Group, Inc. This is one of the largest companies in the US and has also completed projects abroad in Turkey, Ghana, Jordan, Iraq, Puerto Rico and Trinidad. They are always accepting resumes and will contact you if a job comes up. All you have to do is email them your resume. Also the website will give you additional information about what a CRM firm does and the kind of projects you can expect.
- You will be paid a fair salary, usually starting at 11 to 15 dollars an hour depending on your experience, plus per diem while on projects that will cover you hotel and food expenses.
- You will gain valuable field experience in archaeology. You will learn how to identify different types of artifacts, how to read soils, how to use a total station and GPS, photography (digital and film), basic orienteering skills, etc. If you work for a CRM firm for a few years your CV will grow tremendously even if you only list the major projects you worked on.
- You will get experience with an array of different types or archaeological sites and how to properly excavate each. You will have an opportunity to excavate everything from Palaeoindian sites to early Colonial sites to 20th century rural farmsteads.
- Apart from field methods and techniques you will see how to efficiently supervise a project and get insight into all the logistical difficulties that it may entail. Basically you will see how to properly run a project and how not to run a project since you will inevitably work on both.