Pros: visit remote places, find artifacts that are sometimes thousands of years old, good field crew that have a decent sense of humor, experience with mapping devices and wilderness navigation
Cons: very short notice on work opportunities, work may be very forthcoming for a while then dry up suddenly, disconnect between those in the field and those making decisions in the corporate office, occasional hellish conditions that require great patience / endurance
My work at Louis Berger has largely been survey and excavation archaeology. Many times we work in poor weather conditions (extreme heat or cold) with few breaks and difficult tasks. On some projects we worked many long hours and hiked over six or seven miles with our equipment (shovels, screens, backpacks and supplies) in tow.
I have learned many skills from this job, including excavation techniques such as setting up test-units, wet-screening, and electronic survey (using mapping devices like GPS / Total Station to record sties, set-up excavation units, and prepare topo maps). The job, because of the difficult conditions, has also taught me endurance, patience, and the value of a good sense of humor.
The hardest part of this job is uncertainty. As a contract worker, I am not always working and may be called out on very short notice. I may find out about a project two days before I need to drive fourteen hours to get there. Also, because of the corporate nature of Louis Berger, those of us in the field are that the mercy of poor decisions and agreements about projects made in an office without any regard to actual field conditions. This can be frustrating and can cause major problems for those of us in the field on a project.
The most enjoyable part of the job is that I am able to see out-of-the-way places that others do not get to see often. Sometimes it is extremely nice to hike to the top of a remote mountain ridge or be out
in the middle of nowhere. It's also nice to find useful archaeological objects (stone points, pottery, etc.) on these projects. We don't always find things.