Letters from the Field
Paige Liss, Bureau of Land Management Archaeological Technician
I’ve been working since late June as an archaeological technician through American Conservation Experience, a non-profit conservation orps, in partnership with the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) at the Barstow Field Office.
I work on archaeological surveys of areas within the BLM Barstow field office jurisdictions, including those supporting the West Mojave (WEMO) Plan and Travel Management Plan. These include over 17,000 miles of routes of travel on 3.2 million acres of public lands in the West Mojave Desert, in San Bernardino, Los Angeles, Kern and Inyo Counties, California.
We work towards satisfying the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Specifically, we are developing a Geographic Information System (GIS) model to identify areas with cultural resource sensitivity. The results of the model will direct the BLM’s efforts in historic property identification and evaluation, the location of prehistoric sites, and ultimately, in creating and designating an appropriate and sustainable network of travel that supports the BLM’s multiple use mandate.
I assist with data collection, site recordation, monitoring, and reporting documentation for Section 106 of NHPA compliance. The job is 80 percent outdoors, doing transecting, conducting culturally resource inventories, site identification and evaluation of resources. The remaining 20 percent is spent in the office, processing field data, synthesizing reports and presenting results to BLM staff. We also get the chance to assist with field schools that may be working in the area and public outreach on the importance of archaeology.