Help Wanted

OAS relies on the experience and generosity of many friends who support our educational and scientific mission in a variety of ways. Joining the Museum of New Mexico Foundation and the Friends of Archaeology is a great way to find out about opportunities with OAS and keep up on our activities.

Help Wanted

OAS' volunteers at work

The Office of Archaeological Studies is a not-for-profit enterprise within state government, and more than 90 percent of the annual budget comes as reimbursements from client-supported projects. Any work other than that required by clients must be funded through grants, donations, or special appropriations. In order to accomplish the most with the least and to make the most of research opportunities, OAS depends on volunteer and financial support from the community. That support can take some surprising forms—yet another exciting dimension of archaeology.

 

Volunteers

Many of our projects make use of a dedicated corps of volunteers. Occasionally, project directors need extra help in the field during archaeological excavations. The pressures of deadlines and hazardous working conditions can prevent volunteers from working on some field projects, but in other cases opportunities abound and can provide rewarding experiences for everyone involved. Volunteers also process and analyze artifacts recovered from those excavations, working side-by-side with OAS staff in both general and specialized roles. General roles include artifact cleaning and processing, and preparing artifacts and samples for analysis and long-term storage. Specialized roles include archaeomagnetic field sampling, statistical advising, and artifact analysis and photography. To inquire about volunteer work, please contact Eric Blinman at 505-476-4404 or eric.blinman@state.nm.us.

 

Current volunteer opportunities

Volunteer Opportunity: Friends of Archaeology (FOA) Board Membership.

Description: FOA is looking for dedicated board members to help guide Friends of Archaeology activities and support the mission of the Office of Archaeological Studies which includes archaeological research, education and community outreach.

Timing: Meetings are held every other month at Center for New Mexico Archaeology.

Please call Ann Noble at 505-471-2351 if you are interested.

 

Volunteer Opportunity: Friends of Archaeology (FOA) Activities Committee.

Description: FOA needs help to plan and implement archaeological field trips and lectures. Volunteers who participate join a group interested in exploring New Mexico’s past and the places, and research, that make our history and prehistory come alive. They have the opportunity to visit locations, and are exposed to subject matter, they would not otherwise have experienced.

Timing: Volunteer time commitments vary and can be as simple as supporting the FOA reservations hotline, or as involved as trip planning, coordination and support.

Please call Jennifer Kilbourn at 505-982-3928 or e-mail her at jennifer.kilbourn.sfe@gmail.com if you are interested.

 

Volunteer Opportunity: Inventorying, dusting, and boxing archaeomagnetic dating samples.

Supervisor: Eric Blinman, eric.blinman@state.nm.us, or 505-476-4404, and Jeff Cox, Jeffrey.cox@state.nm.us, or 505-476-4414.

Description: Roughly 20,000 archaeomagnetic dating samples have just arrived from the University of Oklahoma laboratory of the late Dr. Robert DuBois, the father of archaeomagnetic dating in the Americas. The samples are in old computer punch card cabinets that are in poor condition, and we need to temporarily (for the next several years) transfer them to boxes while creating an inventory of what we have in each box.

Timing: URGENT! The need is now, and several people can get involved either independently or as a group.

Duration: This is a one time (we hope) need, but it will take several weeks to complete even if we have several people involved.

 

Volunteer Opportunity: Preparation of yucca fiber for education replica projects.

Supervisor: Eric Blinman, eric.blinman@state.nm.us, or 505-476-4404.

Description: Yucca fiber textiles figure into a number of OAS education outreach programs. We need a supply of prepared yucca fiber (cleaned to the point of being ready to spin into thread-string-rope). The cooked (then frozen) yucca leaves are held in the OAS freezer, ready for extraction. The extraction kits are portable, so that the work can be done at CNMA (Monday through Friday, 8:00 until 5:00) or can be taken home if that is more convenient for the volunteer. Although this is “unskilled labor,” cleaning must be meticulous despite the tedious nature of the task. The cleaned yucca fiber is kept dry until needed for spinning projects, and as long as the cooked leaves are kept frozen between extraction efforts it is not “stinky”.

Timing: The need is now, and several people can get involved either independently or as a group.

Duration: The need for this activity will be ongoing and sporadic, depending on the types of replica projects that we or volunteers undertake. Since the task can be tedious, we ask only that the volunteer commit to a full 20 hours of work before they decide to reevaluate whether they want to continue. The same person who prepares the fiber can also become involved in the spinning projects if they wish, so this is a chance to learn thigh spinning techniques if you are a textile artist.

 

Volunteer Opportunity: Sorting and cleaning small animal bones for the OAS Osteology Lab comparative collection.

Supervisor: Nancy Akins, nancy.akins@state.nm.us, or 505-476-4411.

Description: Through the years, OAS has accumulated a number of small mammals that have been turned over to mother nature for separating the flesh from the bones. The specimens have been buried in soil in containers, and we need a volunteer to sort through the soil, separating out and then rinsing the bones. The work needs to be done at CNMA on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays between 8:00 and 5:00, although other arrangements can be made after the volunteer has enough experience. Sorting and cleaning must be meticulous, benefits from someone with an interest and requires the ability for close work with keen eyesight (occasionally under magnification). The specimens are old enough that they are not “stinky”.

Timing: The need is now, and one or more people can get involved depending on their schedules.

Duration: We have about 20 critters that need to be sorted and cleaned, and we guess that it will take about three hours to prepare each specimen.

 

Donations

As a not-for-profit enterprise without any discretionary state funds for research, the OAS often encounters wonderful opportunities that can't be pursued in the course of our normal work. For larger research projects we can apply for grant funds from foundations or agencies, but that solution isn't quick enough or cost effective for smaller or urgent opportunities. For these projects, we also depend on the Friends of Archaeology, a private support group of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation, and donations from other institutions and individuals. To make a contribution, contact our director, Eric Blinman, at 505-476-4404 or eric.blinman@state.nm.us; or go to www.museumfoundation.org/give.

 

Join the Friends of Archaeology

The Friends of Archaeology supports educational and research activities at the OAS. The Friends sponsor lectures, tours, dinners, and fundraising events to share information on our projects with the public. Membership in the Friends of Archaeology is free to members of the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. A list of upcoming events can be found at www.museumfoundation.org/friends-archaeology. Information on the Museum of New Mexico Foundation is at www.museumfoundation.org.

 

Jobs at the OAS

"Permanent" positions at OAS are really "contract-to-contract," but we make every effort to provide career-long employment with full benefits for our staff. Openings for long-term staff positions at OAS are advertised through the New Mexico State Personnel Office. You can find announcements of open positions at the NMSPO web site, www.state.nm.us/spo/. Search for "Anthropologist/Archaeologist" (we occasionally hire for other job classes). Jobs are usually posted for only two weeks, but we try to advertise openings through the New Mexico Archaeological Council list and other outlets. Anyone seeking employment should make sure that they have access to their resumes and photocopies of college transcripts documenting coursework and degrees. Paper copies of all application materials should be sent to OAS after the information has been entered electronically into the SPO web site. Temporary work and jobs for laborers are not advertised through State Personnel. To inquire about these short-term positions, contact Robert Dello-Russo at the OAS.

 

Turkey Feathers

The OAS Education Outreach Program is constantly in need of turkey feathers to make turkey-feather blanket samples for demonstrations. The long, downy body feathers are good for making blankets, and Chuck Hannaford uses tail feathers to fletch throwing spears. Tail feathers are flatter and less curved than wing or body feathers and make the spear more likely to travel straight through the air. Wild or heirloom turkey feathers are needed; domestic brown or white turkey feathers don't have the qualities of the "real thing." If you know someone who is a successful turkey hunter, please ask them to consider sending the feathers to the OAS. Call or e-mail Eric Blinman or Chuck Hannaford for details.

Turkey feather blanket on the loom