Where in the hell am I?

May 3, 2011

Whirlwind trip to Oklahoma

Filed under: archaeology, archeology, Oklahoma, survey — Tags: , , , , — John @ 5:20 pm

I suppose some might consider that title to be in moderately bad taste…

Friday, our office got a call from one of our big wind farm clients who needed us to survey a couple of last-minute, very small changes. The draft report is almost done, and they’re getting ready to go to construction as soon as the report is accepted; they have some important deadlines to meet in order to retain some grants (or something along those lines). The total survey area was less than a half-mile.

Fortunately, this client is also very flexible concerning travel arrangements. So myself and the lead archaeologist on the project boarded a plane at 7:50 am for Oklahoma City. We arrived around 11 am and picked up a rental vehicle. Rather than try and check shovels, we stopped at a home improvement store and bought the cheapest shovels they had (less than $10 each). One final stop to buy some water and we were in the field by 12:30 or so. About two hours and six shovel tests later (plus some notes and photos), we were finished, and back to Oklahoma City to stay in a hotel near the airport. 10 hours, including travel.

By flying up, we actually saved the client a couple thousand dollars. I explained before about billable rates , in a post about budget shortsightedness on the part of clients. In this case, the cost of the airplane tickets was substantially cheaper than the cost for myself and the lead archaeologist to drive 14+ hours round-trip, plus conduct the fieldwork, plus the cost of the fuel. Note that the rental vehicle, hotel, and per diem costs would have been the same either way. At the same time, they also recognized that trying to fly here and back on the same day would have been too demanding, and allowed for no flexibility in the field in case of a significant discovery.

On a side note: I’m working on a blog post commenting on the recent Careers in Archaeology issue of the SAA Record. At the moment, however, I’m too tired to give it the proper thought and attention. I’m not good after waking up at 5:30 am!

Second side note: I update my Twitter feed much more regularly than this blog. It’s archaeology about half the time, and random softball/music/politics/retweets the other half. I  try and retweet interesting US archaeological stories from the media, particularly when they’re CRM-related. So click here for my Twitter link, if you’re so inclined!



  1. Wow. That is the craziest survey story I have ever heard. And also sounds like some seriously impressive-ly fast field work.

    Thank you for sharing! I’m going to click over to billable rates now…

    Comment by archaeofieldtech — May 6, 2011 @ 5:42 pm

  2. APE isn’t very wide, so only one transect. Oklahoma also has flexible survey standards, and the “drainage” has water maybe twice a year after torrential rains, so low-probability area. Also, the soil was loose sand.
    Believe me, neither myself nor my co-worker are the fast diggers in my office!
    Thanks for reading and commenting!

    Comment by John — May 6, 2011 @ 5:49 pm

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