|Abstract or Summary
- Since the late 1970s, archaeology has grown into an industry whose
practitioners work in both public and private sectors. As an industry, modern
archeology is commonly known as Cultural Resources Management, or CRM. CRM
emerged from a surplus of employment opportunities made available to archeologists
after the passing of National heritage legislation. This legislation defines the
importance of discovering, documenting, and recovering the places and objects
associated with people and events important to United States' history.
As there are many different people who are considered to be important to
United States' history (e.g., past presidents, Native Americans), there are as many
different archeologists seeking to participate in its interpretation, each with various
educational and experience backgrounds. While CRM has been successful in partially
piecing back together history, its practitioners confront numerous challenges. These
challenges are often associated with meeting the standards outlined by the legislation
but also include challenges associated with industry personnel. In some cases, the
industry's efforts to meet these standards have led to labor problems.
As a result, many CRM employees today see a separation between industry
managers and industry laborers that has made it increasingly difficult to fulfill the
goals of the legislation and to ultimately contribute to our understanding of the past.
Primarily, the role and contribution of field technicians to CRM is being debated by
many CRM practitioners.
This thesis explores the relationship between the two primary CRM personnel
parties - the managers and laborers in an effort to define the labor problems
confronting CRM personnel, how they have evolved, and what solutions are available
to them (both managers and laborers). To this end, I surveyed industry managers and
field technicians to better understand how each perceives the role of field technicians.
Challenges confronting CRM personnel will be shown to partially stem from
low industry wages, deficient safety policies and procedures, out-dated academic
curricula, and a lack of communication between managers and field technicians.
Investigations of the relationship between management and labor provide a unique
opportunity to explore a multitude of questions related to CRM employment over the
past two decades and in the future.