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Location: Sonora
State: California
Program: Cultural Resources
Contract Length: 7 Months

Job Description:

The Great Basin Institute, in cooperation with the USFS, is recruiting Archaeology Crew Leads to complete Section 106 cultural resource surveys, site recording, and monitoring for various projects within the Stanislaus National Forest. These projects all serve the Cultural Resources program’s greater mission of helping the USFS in their critical goal of improving forest resilience in the face of worsening climate conditions and increased wildfire threats. The work that you will do directly protects sensitive cultural sites, helping ensure the stories they tell are preserved for generations to come.

The Archaeology Crew Lead position provides professional development and leadership opportunities in cultural resource management including increased exposure and responsibility enacting USFS processes, procedures, and compliance measures; assisting in reporting and data entry/quality assurance and control; and increased technical experience. Expanded opportunities and exposure to additional disciplines (e.g., forestry, wildlife, hydrology, etc.) and projects may exist. This position will serve USFS vegetation management and fuels reduction efforts, supporting initiatives for healthy, productive, and resilient forest landscapes and resources.

The Archaeology Crew Lead will perform a variety of activities to support all stages of project work. Leads will be responsible for crew safety and oversight, provide or assist in training, and communicate with agency and GBI staff as needed. Crew size will range between 2-6 people. Primary archaeology field duties include, but are not limited to:

  • Lead archaeology crew to conduct and complete field surveys to document, assess and characterize the status of new cultural resources.
  • Monitor existing sites and complete site updates and condition assessments.
  • Prepare California DPR site records, GIS maps, and photographic records in addition to inputting data to the USFS heritage database.
  • Lead and collaborate with agency personnel and all other crew members to support field safety, communication, planning, logistics, quality assurance, field implementation, and reporting efforts.

This physically demanding work, often in remote locations, will provide Archaeology Crew Leads with rewarding exposure to some of California’s backcountry forested landscapes. These positions require extensive hiking in steep terrain at high altitudes (5,000-9,000 ft.) with heavy packs on a daily basis, possibly during extreme or inclement weather conditions such as heat, snow or rain. Work schedules, generally four 10-hour days with 3 days off each week, are subject to change depending on weather and project needs. Camping near a work site for several days may be required to meet project objectives.

Contract Timeline:

Start and end dates may vary according to local conditions: Tentatively mid-May through mid-November.

Projects are weather dependent and there is always a chance the season will end earlier if weather prevents safe field operations.


The four counties within the Forest’s immediate sphere of influence are Alpine, Calaveras, Mariposa and Tuolumne. These counties are primarily rural in nature, and are characterized by rolling foothill and/or steep mountainous terrain, very low population density, and an attractive and unspoiled natural environment. The latter three are in the heart of California’s historic “Mother Lode,” and contain many historically significant Gold Rush era towns, and both historic and prehistoric heritage sites.

Collectively, all four counties have an abundance of outdoor recreational sites, including numerous rivers, lakes and reservoirs, two state parks (Calaveras Big Trees and Columbia State Parks), one national park (Yosemite National Park), several alpine and nordic ski areas, and portions of several national forests, including the Stanislaus, El Dorado, Toiyabe, and Sierra National Forests.

Alpine County is the smallest of these four counties, with 465,030 acres (727 square miles) of land, all at high elevation on the crest of the Sierra Nevada. A total of 423,520 acres, or 91%, of Alpine County is located within national forest, of which 124,285 acres are within the Stanislaus National Forest (the remainder being located within the El Dorado and Toiyabe National Forests).

Calaveras County has a total of 663,290 acres (1,036 square miles) of land. Of this total, 75,072 acres (11%) are located within the Stanislaus National Forest.

Mariposa County is the second largest of the local counties, with a total land area of 934,690 acres (1.460 square miles). The county contains portions of both the Sierra and Stanislaus National Forests, as well as the greater part of Yosemite National Park. Mariposa County has no incorporated cities, and 84,456 acres, or 9% of the total land area, is located within the Stanislaus National Forest.

Tuolumne County, the largest and most populated of the local counties, has 1,467,300 acres, or 2,293 square miles, of land. The county contains Columbia State Park, as well as a portion of Yosemite National Park. A total of 611,395 acres, or 42% of the county’s land base, is located within the Stanislaus National Forest.

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Wage: $26/hour with overtime at 1.5x hourly rate. Full time, average 40 hours per week.
    • Health, Dental, and Vision Insurance premiums are covered 100% by GBI. Available on the first day of the month following the start of employment.
    • Shared housing provided.
    • Camping Per Diem: $15/night as necessary.
    • Uniform Stipend.

Job Qualifications:


  • Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, archaeology or related discipline, including relevant field methods training coursework AND one year of archaeology related field work;
  • Experience leading crews in the field, including oversight of crew safety, communication, fidelity to methods and data quality;
  •  Proficiency in navigation using GPS, topographic map and compass;
  • Ability to recognize and record prehistoric and historic artifacts, features, and architecture
  • Possess a clean, valid, state-issued driver’s license with the ability to safely operate and maintain a 4WD vehicle on and off paved roads;
  • Ability to work effectively in a team setting with USFS staff, GBI staff, interns, volunteers, academic, state, and federal partners;
  • Ability to work safely and productively in remote field settings under adverse conditions. This may include occasionally overnight work & camping in remote areas for consecutive nights;
  • Ability to understand, implement and adhere to established data collection, inventory, assessment, and monitoring protocols;
  • Capacity to collect and maintain field data in an organized manner that is easily understood and accessible to other resources staff;
  • Strong communication skills with a diverse audiences, both written and oral;
  • Willingness to work a variable schedule in response to project needs, possibly including some weekends, nights, holidays;
  • Physically fit to work outdoors, carry up to 50 pounds of personal and/or field equipment, and withstand the rigors of a forested and/or high desert environment in all seasons.


  • Master’s degree in anthropology, archaeology or related discipline and at least one year of field leadership experience;
  • Familiarity with Section 106/110 NHPA and California SHPO compliance procedures;
  • Knowledge of cultural resource management issues in the Western United States;
  • Familiarity with cultural history and forested habitat of the Sierra Nevada region;
  • Advanced skill using specialized software such as Microsoft Office Suite, ArcMap GIS, and Google Earth.

We encourage you to explore GBI’s upcoming and current employment opportunities HERE, and reach out to the appropriate GBI staff if you have questions or concerns regarding the application process or eligibility standards.

Thank you for your commitment to GBI’s cause – promoting science-based adaptive management of public lands through field studies programs, conservation practices, public outreach and more.