Where are they Now?: Derek Butler

This week’s post features Derek Butler. Derek was a field school student at Singer-Moye in 2012. That year, under the direction of Stefan Brannan, the field school shovel-tested the entire site core and all adjacent areas. This work allowed the reconstruction of the site’s occupational history as we know it. In the years since, Derek has utilized and expanded the skills he gained at field school in a successful career in cultural resource management.

Where are you now?

I am currently working in the field of cultural resource management (CRM) and have been for around 3 ½ years. I became involved in CRM by using sites such as acra-crm.org, archaeologyfieldwork.com, and shovelbums.org to find jobs all over the country.


Derek digging shovel tests on a CRM project in coastal Florida.

What projects are you currently working on?

I am currently working on the project 4985 D/E Eglin on the Florida coast. The project I’m on is mostly phase I survey, but does have a week or two of phase II excavation work. We’re digging 50×50 shovel tests at 25 meter intervals in areas of high probability and 50 meter intervals for medium probability. (Probability refers to the possibility of finding archaeological sites.) The phase II survey will involve excavating 1×1 meter units.


How did field school help prepare you for this trajectory?

The Singer-Moye field school was instrumental in me being prepared for the CRM world. One of the most important skills I was taught was how to use a sighting compass and how to dig a proper shovel test. It sounds like trivial and basic skills, but I have encountered far too many archaeologists that do not know how to use a sighting compass and were never taught. Those individuals are hardly hired by the same company again. Also, knowing my pacing for walking anywhere between 15 and 50 meters has been a huge relief to every crew chief I have ever had. Lastly, knowing the hypotenuse of a standard 1×1 meter unit and how to lay a unit in are invaluable skills that I gained from this field school. All in all, the Singer-Moye field school taught me every skill I needed to perform archaeology at the professional level.

About Dr. Jennifer Birch

I am an archaeologist who specializes in the Archaeology of Eastern North America. Conceptually, my interests are underpinned by the desire to understand how the lived experiences of individuals and communities articulates with long-term, large-scale processes of social and cultural change. My current research is concerned with the development of organizational complexity and diversity in eastern North America. Ongoing projects in Northeastern North America include: - Geophysical investigations of Late Precontact Iroquoian Villages - Regional synthesis of data on Iroquoian settlement patterns, including intra-site patterns, interregional interaction, and geopolitical realignment Ongoing projects in Southeastern North America include: - Multi-scalar investigations of the Late Woodland to Mississippian transition in the Deep South - Household and community archaeology at the Singer-Moye site
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