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Location: Mammoth Lakes
State: California
Program: Cultural Resources
Contract Length: 7 Months

Job Description:

The Great Basin Institute, founded at the University of Nevada, Reno in 1998, is a mission-driven non-profit organization headquartered in the eastern foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains. GBI has been a leader in the conservation stewardship field for over two and half decades, supporting thousands of individuals pursuing a career in public land management or advancing their academic standing. In partnership with Devils Postpile National Monument (DEPO), GBI seeks to hire one Lead Archaeologist.

The NPS is responsible for protecting and managing over 420 individual “units”, including 63 National Parks, 74 National Historic Sites, and other designated areas such as battlefields, monuments, nature preserves, and more.

This position will begin in May-June conducting background research and developing the technical approach for the project.  Once the park opens, this person will serve as the on-site park archeologist.  Duties include conducting archeological site assessments, drafting determinations of eligibility, supervising others in the field and lab, and providing archeological site monitoring as needed to accomplish project goals. This person may also be tasked to support the superintendent’s consultation with traditionally associated tribes during all phases of the project. They will help provide opportunities as appropriate for project input, participation, and guidance from interested tribal members.  During the off-season (typically November-June), this position will focus on report writing and collections management.  Most off-season work may be done remotely from an off-site location, but travel to curation facilities or to the park offices may be required during the off-season to fulfill project goals and park needs.

The Lead Archaeologist will have an advanced degree and work experience in archeology, anthropology, or similarly relevant field.

The necessary skills needed to perform well in this position are as follows:

1. Attention to detail and strong organizational skills.
2. Good communication abilities, both written and oral.
3. An interest in cultural history and/or archeology and the management of
information pertaining to these fields.
4. Database management and/or GIS knowledge and experience.
5. Cultural history research and writing skills.
6. Demonstrated ability to design, implement, and complete archeological research (through to reporting).

The NPS will collaborate with Great Basin Institute in the hiring process to assist in determining the best candidates. The Lead Archaeologist work will focus on the following:

7. Research and compile information on history of work and content of known sites within DEPO.
8. Work closely with DEPO superintendent, YOSE CR staff, and other NPS staff as needed. Support the superintendent’s consultation with traditionally associated
tribes during all phases of the project, providing opportunities as appropriate for project input, participation, and guidance from interested tribal members.
9. Develop and implement work plan for archeological evaluation of approximately ten (10) archeological sites known at the park, supervising others in the field and
lab work needed to accomplish goals.
10. Develop information to make Determinations of Eligibility under the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) for each site and for the archaeological
11. Construct a technical report needed to document work performed, analysis of data collected, and support arguments of significance as appropriate. Follow standards for archeology as per the State of California and NPS-28. Work in this project will provide experience needed to meet qualifications under the Secretary of
Interior’s Standards for Archeology.

Contract Timeline:

30 weeks


The town of Mammoth Lakes is in the Eastern Sierra Nevada Mountain range and hosts only 8,000 year-round residents. During peak seasons, this town hosts over 20,000 tourists. Devils Postpile National Monument is located approximately 12 miles from the town of Mammoth Lakes, a 30-minute drive with stunning views. Mammoth Lakes is a small resort town that attracts skiers in the winter, and activities like fishing, hiking, mountain biking, and climbing in the summer. Devils Postpile National Monument works closely with Yosemite National Park and Inyo National Forest. More information may be found at Visit Mammoth (https://www.visitmammoth.com)

Compensation and Benefits:

  • Rate of pay: $33/hour
    • Park housing is available at a charge.
    • Health, Dental and Vision Insurance will be completely paid for at no cost to you by the Great Basin Institute and available starting the next month after your first day of service.
    • Paid time off
    • Paid federal holidays

Housing: On-site housing within Devils Postpile National Monument may be available for these positions during the peak season of June to October. Housing within the park consists of small, single furnished canvas tents. Electricity is available within these housing units, but other amenities are available in the Employee Facility. The Employee Facility includes a shared kitchen, restrooms and shower rooms. It also has a shared lounge area with satellite TV. Internet and television use satellite connections that may not have consistent reception. Canvas tents are located on plywood platforms and are furnished with bed(s) and electricity, but they have no water nor kitchen facilities.

Inexpensive camping options and off-site dormitory housing may also be available. No on-site park housing will be available outside of the peak season (typically June-October). However, off-site dormitory housing may be available for rent at Mammoth Lakes, Lee Vining, or Mono City on a case-by-case basis.

Job Qualifications:

Required Qualifications

Bachelor’s degree in anthropology, archaeology or related discipline (including relevant field methods training coursework and/or an accredited archaeological field school);
Two years of fieldwork experience including archaeological survey, site recording, monitoring, GPS data collection, and associated reporting;
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;
Strong organizational skills and ability to work cooperatively as well as independently;
Strong written and oral communication skills with diverse audiences;
Ability to work effectively in a team setting with NPS staff, GBI staff, academic, state, and federal partners; and
Ability to work safely and productively in remote field settings under adverse conditions. This includes some overnight camping in remote areas for consecutive nights.

Preferred Qualifications

Master’s degree in anthropology, archaeology or related discipline and at least one year of field leadership experience;
Completion of an accredited archaeological field school;
At least six months of field leadership experience;
Familiarity with Section 106/110 NHPA and California compliance procedures;
Knowledge of cultural resource management issues in the Western United States;
Familiarity with cultural history and forested habitats;
Proficiency in navigating using a GPS, topographic map and compass;
Ability to exercise quality control in data collection and management; and
Advanced skill using specialized software such as Microsoft Office Suite, ArcMap GIS, and Google Earth.


The Archaeology Crew Lead position provides professional development and leadership opportunities in cultural resource management including increased exposure and responsibility enacting NPS 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.
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.  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 NPS 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.

Successful applicant must complete a Department of Interior (DOI) Background Investigation (BI) or submit paperwork to NPS human resources indicating an active and fully adjudicated BI has already been completed prior to beginning position. If you already have a fully adjudicated BI, please let us know in your application.