As I often complained about in previous posts, I spent most of last year (and, in fact, the hottest months of the year) in the area around Taft, CA performing survey in oil fields. A few months ago, the client finally approved the necessary budget to produce the report, but I was placed on other projects, which reduced my ability to actually work on the report.
As of this week, my employer has freed up the resources necessary to get this report done. The catch is that a report that should have taken 3-4 months to produce because of the huge number of site records produced is now going to be done in six weeks (during a week of which I will be out of the country).
So, I am writing this post for two reasons. One is to explain why the next several weeks postings may be a bit spotty. But another reason is that part of the rationale for me keeping this blog is to describe what working in archaeology is really like, and these sorts of chaotic deadlines are a part of the job.
Environmental consulting in general, and contract archaeology in particular, runs on a feast-or-famine schedule. Two months ago, I was having to scrape and scrounge for work to do, and now I am working close to 16-hour days. The especially long days this week are due to prep work necessary to get the report information distributed to the appropriate people in order to have the report produced. Over the next few weeks, I will likely work long days, but not nearly as bad as this week (hopefully).
This report has over 600 site records, and each of these will need to be created using standardized forms from the California Department of Parks and Recreation (the DPR 523 forms). The information from our GPS units is currently being compiled, and will be useful both for creating the site records, and for providing the agency in charge with a GIS (geographic information system) layer to help them track the sites in the future.
In other words, we're doing what needs be done to get this report out the door in six weeks. Then we can go back to wondering what we're going to do with ourselves until the next crunch comes.