The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Sunday, April 19, 2009

I hear that town Taft is one bad mutha...

So, I have been in Taft. A thrilling city to be sure.

Actually, the project has developed in such a way that I may be out of there earlier than I had previously thought (of course, that still means spending most of the forseeable future out there, so there is that). Still, it should be interesting and should be a bit of a challenge.

What we are doing is archaeological surveys in support of an oil exploration project. Much of the project takes place on federal land, and as such, the National Historic Preservation Act applies. So, I am leading a crew in the field, performing archaeological surveys, looking for sites that might be impacted by the proposed project.

On these types of projects, there is usually an oil exploration crew that goes out and identifies locations to be impacted by oil exploration. They are then followed by the environmental crews (including the archaeologists) who identified locations that contain resources that would be damaged by the project, and then the oil exploration crew returns to the field to make necessary modifications to the project.

So, my crew has been working in areas that had already been examined by the exploration tream. However, because of the way in which we have to work, we move at a slow pace, too slow for the liking of our client. So, our client has proposed two things:

1. More money to provide for a larger crew

2. That an archaeologist accompany the exploration crew to identify issues as the project develops and prevent the need for further follow-up survey.

Point #2 has some problems, but it is possible that we will work them out, and if we do, then the project could run more smoothly and much more quickly. However, even if that doesn't work out, having more archaeologists in the field will allow us to survey more quickly, and we will be able to finish the project long before our original completion date. So, at worst we will move faster.

Also, I will be responsible for three field crews, with another project supervisor helping me out but with me having ultimate responsibility. It will be the most complex project that I have ever had to do - coordinating work and training* for three field crews, and making sure that all assects of the project are covered 7 days a week (because the oil exploration team works 7 days a week). It'll be a challenge, but I am actually realy looking forward to it. It's not a run-of-the-mill project, and I am excited by that.

Anyway, that's where things stand right now. I'll try to keep up the blog, but I suspect that there will be some "dead air" while I proceed with the project.

Oh, and here's some fun facts about Taft:

Taft was originally named "Moro", but the companies that provided train service to Taft were concerned that travellers might mistake "Moro" for "Morro Bay", and so they added an "n" to the end, resulting in the city bearing the name "Moron".

Taft has spent alot of money on it's high school's football team, providing them with state-of-the-art trainign facilities, and yet they continue to lose to the football team from Bakersfield High School, creating a rather well-known high school sports rivalry. This rivalry was the inspiration for the movie Best of Times.

* Required training includes a 9.5 hour class on al of the ways that you can get kiled while working in the oil fields, and how to avoid death by using proper equipment, as well as orientation on the project itself.


Kay said...

"It'll be a challenge, but I am actually realy looking forward to it. It's not a run-of-the-mill project, and I am excited by that."

Remember feeling this?

Anthroslug said...

Don't remind me.