Every year Circle hires several student archaeologists to help out for the summer. One way in which we connect with students is through the Career Fair hosted by the Chacmool Archaeology Association and the Association of Consulting Archaeologists (Alberta) at the University of Calgary. This year we were lucky enough to talk with Noah Miller, and as a result, he became a valuable member of our seasonal crew. We were sad to say see-ya-later to Noah, but we look forward to having him back next year. Check out some details on his experience with us this summer!
First off, we asked Noah to share a little bit about himself to give readers a small glimpse of his personality…
Hi, I’m Noah! I am currently an undergraduate student at the University of Calgary in the final semester of my BSc Archaeology degree. I was born and raised in Regina, Saskatchewan and was fortunate enough to work with Circle this summer! I enjoy long walks on the beach, hunting and fishing, coaching gymnastics and parkour, and using the Oxford comma in my free time. Fun fact, as an archaeologist, I’ve never actually found a dinosaur. Also, I starred in a critically acclaimed pre-school musical as Hedgy the Hedgehog.
So this was your first field season as a consulting archaeologist. Was it at all what you expected?
Yes and no. Coming into the summer, I expected to put in a lot of work and immerse myself in archaeology. For the most part, I think that was true. Working in consulting archaeology has you in the field for weeks at a time for months on end. It is an amazing, immersive experience that takes hard work. However, I came into the summer expecting to find myself mainly doing excavation. Instead, I learned that consulting archaeology consists mostly of surveys. There’s nothing wrong with that, though, and it helped me develop a good eye for picking out artifacts in the field!
Now that you’ve tried it out. Are you planning on returning to the field next year? Is this something you could see yourself doing as a career?
Absolutely! Working in the field allowed me to work outdoors all summer and explore parts of the country I would have never been able to visit. From flying around in helicopters to quadding muddy trails in the backcountry, this job sure keeps you on the edge of your seat. I think making a career out of this would be phenomenal. Every day is unique!
Before being hired by us, how did you prep for finding a summer field job? What led you to your job with us this summer, and what tips can you give other budding archaeologists on their journey to getting their first job?
Preparing to find a summer job is all about networking and highlighting your relevant experience. Participating in clubs at school helped me build the connections I needed to land a job at a company like Circle. Before going to events like the Chacmool Career Fair, I could get interviews for summer jobs, but not the jobs I wanted. By attending different events through clubs like Chacmool, recruiters at the companies I wanted to work for were able to get to know me, and I got the offers I wanted. So, to my fellow budding archaeologists, make yourself known! If people can put a face to a name, you’re much more likely to get a response to your application. Additionally, highlight any relevant experience that you might have. Skills like being able to back up a trailer or drive a quad are much more valuable to consulting companies than a lithics class you took.
Knowing what you know now about the type of work we do, what surprised you the most? What were your favourite and least favourite parts?
The thing that surprised me the most was how far I got to travel. I didn’t expect to work in BC this summer and was happily surprised that I got to spend so much time there. My favourite part of the summer was definitely flying in helicopters. I’m somewhat of an aviation enthusiast and love nerding out about aircraft. My least favourite part was the June mosquitos. If you’re a prospective archaeologist, don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t need a bug net. You do.
I know that everyone you worked with really enjoyed having you as part of our team! Can you share with us a funny (or heartwarming) story from the field?
On my second day in the field, I assisted Maegan and Brooke while we delineated a site. While looking around the area where I was to plant my shovel, I came across a strange-looking rock. Not sure what it was, I asked my supervisors to take a look at it. It turned out I had found a massive biface right on the surface! It was a very reassuring moment for me that reinforced that I knew what I was looking for!
As always, I have to ask, what is the one piece of field gear you couldn’t have lived without?
Hands down my 3L hydration pack. A hydrated archaeologist is a happy archaeologist.
Before we part ways until next season, any last advice for other arky students looking to break into the field?
Sharpen your shovel daily, get ready to dig deep, don’t be afraid to ask questions, and be confident in yourself!