I forgot…sort of

Hello again,

I feel somewhat embarrassed crawling out from below my stone, some five months since I last posted.  Following all the sweeping changes of the last few months I kind of forgot I had this blog, but I also sort of stopped giving a crap.

A chance email from a friend earlier today jogged my memory, and so I figured I’d bring things up to date.

I moved to the DC area with my wife in September and she began her job as a museum specialist in the Smithsonian, while I kept looking far and wide for work.

The Smithsonian may be a very prestigious institution but my wife’s pay is crap. So for about a month or two we lived at the edge of poverty, our savings cleaned out by the cross-country move and the very high cost of living in the DC Metro area. Both of us began thinking about the option of food-stamps without actually uttering the words.

Then I finally caught a break.

In November I was hired by a large multi-national environmental consulting and engineering firm to be one of their senior archaeologists.  What that means is that I get to plan and execute archaeological survey, testing, and recovery projects ahead of large development projects.  Its a pretty good job with great pay and a goodly amount of responsibilities.

I don’t get to do my own research, but I have been able to take part in some interesting projects in Virginia, Maryland and Delaware over the last few months.  That’s three more states under my belt. I think that brings me up to eight in which I’ve put shovel to earth.

Right now I’m finishing up the project report on work we completed in Howardsville, Virginia. Howardsville is a small hamlet settled by freed slaves after the Civil War and continuously occupied by the descendants of the first settlers until today.  The community is largely abandoned now, and the youngest people still living there are perhaps in their 50s.  The location will probably be developed soon, so it felt good to be able to do some work that is documenting almost a century and a half of life in what is a vanishing community.