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Careers in History: Cultural Resource Management

Jared Renaud

Archaeologist, Illinois

Jared Renaud, archaeologistAlthough it’s only been a few years since graduating from Calvin College, my archaeology minor has provided me with just the right interdisciplinary framework needed to deeply engage within archaeology in a variety of places and situations.

I transferred to Calvin in my junior year of college, where I began my archaeology minor while  majoring in history, two fields I fully intended to pursue since early in high school. During my college studies, I quickly became acquainted with Prof. Bert de Vries, taking several classes under him, and eventually working in his archaeology lab as a research assistant. I participated in the 2009 and 2010 field seasons at Umm el-Jimal, Jordan, where I participated heavily with the virtual reconstruction of the site’s ruins. These experiences, combined with my Calvin education, prepared me well for the many different travel experiences I’d have with archaeology.

After graduation, I relocated to my home state of New Jersey. While there I volunteered at my state museum’s archaeology department, where I implemented archaeological site locations into their GIS database. I did not do this for long; soon after I moved again to begin work with the Illinois State Archaeological Survey on the New Mississippi River Bridge project in East St. Louis, Illinois. There I participated in the field excavation of a Mississippian Mound center,  recovering the remains of a prehistoric Native American town.

Jared workingMy work hasn’t stopped there; it has taken me to even more places. In spring 2011 I began a season-long internship through the Student Conservation Association at Yosemite National Park. During my internship I worked under the park’s fire archaeologist, analysing and updating archaeological records on their site and GIS databases, and creating maps for their fire reports. Aside from learning much about their procedures with fire, I gained good insight into archaeology work and responsibilities at the federal level and in the national parks. I even participated in a few site survey evaluations in the park while there, despite the mostly inclement winter weather.

Jared at workCurrently, I’ve returned to work on the lab portion of the Mississippi River Bridge Project, where I’ve assisted with preparing the project’s immense material collection for further analysis, and digitizing the many site maps for the project’s GIS database. In the near future, I intend to enter graduate school for anthropology, where I will further my skills and interests in GIS, spatial analysis, and archaeology.

Roger Kiers

Transportation Archaeologist, Washington

I had wanted to become an archaeologist since middle school but wasn’t convinced it was a “real job” until Prof. de Vries started the Archaeology minor midway through my Calvin career. But I was majoring in Geology at the time and, in combination with the Archaeology minor and Umm el-Jimal field school, I was well prepared for graduate school and a future career in archaeology.

I received an MA in Anthropology from the University of Washington, where I had opportunities to work at sites ranging from Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Virginia, to Lewis and Clark’s Fort Clatsop in Oregon, to 8,000-year-old Native American campsites in western Washington. I first found employment in the Cultural Resources Management field with a private firm in Seattle, and since 2007 have worked for the Washington State Department of Transportation.

As a transportation archaeologist, I am responsible for ensuring that our agency complies with state and federal laws that apply to archaeological sites, historic structures, and culturally important areas. I enjoy the challenges that come with balancing our agency’s mission of operating and improving transportation systems with our responsibility as stewards of our state’s cultural resources. I am continually learning new things about our rich and diverse cultural heritage, while working on a wide variety of projects and sites around the state.