The Halfway Point

So this is my halfway post. It’s been a busy month and a half since this project begin. We’ve completed several field projects and reports at work, I’m slowly making progress on my thesis, and I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with my work in preparing for the upcoming SAA conference. I find myself in a place where I’m weighing the options for my future. As much as I enjoy the work I’m doing as a CRM archaeologist, being an independent contractor is pretty painful when tax time comes around. Additionally, it feels almost impossible to get a foot in the door with one of the federal agencies when the rare archaeology job posting comes up. I’ve thought about going back to school once my master’s degree is complete for a Ph.D. program, but that’s additional time and expense I’m not sure I’m prepared for.

The northern end of the Jemez Mountains from the Abiquiu Basin. Pedernal Peak, source of Pedrenal chert, is on the left. Polvadera Peak, source of Polvadera Obsidian, in in the center. Multiple other obsidian sources are located within the Valles Caldera volcanic crater in the center of the Jemez Mountains.

            As far as this project is going, it has been enjoyable to participate in. It is enjoyable to read the posts of my fellow participants. I only wish that I had the time to fully participate in this project and complete the target of submitting two posts a week. However, between spending my evenings and weekends working on my thesis/SAA presentation, I almost feel guilty taking the time off to do literally anything else, even writing a blog post. Still, I have to remind myself that it’s healthier to disengage from my thesis every once in a while, and let myself think about or do other things, than to burn myself out on this topic.

Pedernal chert biface.

            This week has been particularly difficult. On Monday and Tuesday were worked on a project in the Abiquiu area. The project is only 100 acres and we expected to complete it quickly. However, it turned out that nearly half the project area was a massive site that continued outside of the project area. As a result, we still have one, maybe two more days of field work to complete the contract. Wednesday was an office day, where I spent most of the day working on part of a report for Death Valley National Park. Yesterday, my boss and I spent about 7 hours on the road traveling from Santa Fe to Portales and back to Santa Fe in order to survey about two miles of a highway shoulder for the installment of utility lines. Today I took off to spend some time with my brother, who’s home for about a week between completing a study abroad session in Mexico City and returning to Seattle to continue his master’s program.

Red sandstone cliffs of Abiquiu.

The remaining portion of this project looks to be equally busy. As the weather warms up, we can expect to start doing more and more field projects. Even once the SAA conference is over, I’ll still be spending most of my evenings and weekends working on my thesis. For the most part I enjoy it but I will admit that sometimes I just need to step away from everything archaeology related and do something else for a while. In the meantime, I’ll be looking for to the end of allergy season and the beginning of camping season.   :

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