Call for Volunteers

To: Prospective archaeological research volunteers
From: Aucilla River Prehistory Project
Date: March 1998

We are frequently contacted by individuals from all walks of life (See ďThe Class of Ď97") interested in participating in the Aucilla River Prehistory Project. Although our primary focus in the field requires scuba divers, there are positions for non-divers as well. The following is designed to help prospective volunteers evaluate their level of interest in applying for a position on the team.

We are currently organizing the volunteer roster to staff field operations at the Tallahassee-area site for the two major expeditions scheduled in 1998 (May 4 through June 14 and October 5 through 31). If you think you can qualify, and are interested in volunteering four consecutive days (or more) of your time and talent to advance the scientific understanding of the peopling of the New World, read on.

The Aucilla River Prehistory Project is sponsored by the Florida Museum of Natural History, and has been funded annually since 1987 by the National Geographic Society. Substantial grants from the Florida Department of State, Division of Historical Resources, assures our ability to continue expanded field campaigns through 1998. All field activities are organized and supervised by professional archaeologists and paleontologists from the University of Florida and/or their designees.

These expeditions are conducted in remote reaches of the Aucilla River basin, consisting of pristine gulf coastal lowland swamps and wilderness preserves.

The work environment can be taxing (heat/cold, long hours, humidity, insects), with occasional periods of heavy physical exertion. No one is expected to perform beyond their capabilities, but applicants should be in good physical condition.

Because the project is so remotely sited, emergency medical evacuation procedures are in place throughout the term of the expedition with Lifeflight Helicopter Service of Tallahassee Memorial Hospital and Shandscair Helicopter Service of Shands Hospital, University of Florida, Gainesville.

Basic medical equipment and emergency medical personnel are on-site whenever field operations are in progress. Divers and non-divers alike must present proof of a current CPR and First Aid certification prior to their tour of duty with the project. The First Aid requirement can be waived for nurses, EMTís, M.D.s, etc.

These are scientific research expeditions. All fossils and artifacts recovered become part of the permanent collection of the Florida Museum of Natural History.

The preparation of field notes documenting activities and observations is a daily obligation for all team members. Participants will be required to sign liability releases and photo/publication agreements restricting uses of any recorded images or written accounts of the project.

Main camp tents will be pitched in a mowed field in the village of Nutall Rise, the nearest outpost of civilization to our sites. Bathing takes place in Nutall Rise spring. A smaller, more primitive site camp will be established in the swamp on the riverbank nearby the excavation for logistical and creature support during the work day. Sanitation is by portolet at the main camp, and pit latrine at the site camp.

Each team member must provide their own camping equipment, with the exception of cooking gear. Prepared meals will be delivered daily to the main camp cabin at Nutall Rise. All meals are provided by the project. Meal setup and cleanup duties are shared equally by all team members.

All dive operations are conducted in accordance with University of Floridaís Diving Science and Safety Program (DSSP), and the American Academy of Underwater Sciences (AAUS). All dive participants must certify to DSSPís entry level of Diver-In-Training, however candidates should certify to the highest level (Research Diver, Divemaster or Instructor) for which they are qualified. AAUS standards now require current Oxygen Provider certification of all research divers.

Proof of a current nationally recognized open water scuba certification is a prerequisite to DSSP certification. The longest lead-time DSSP requirements are the CPR, First Aid and Oxygen Provider certifications.

The most expensive requirement is the dive physical. For out-of-state volunteers DSSPís written exam, as well as the pool and open water tests, can be scheduled immediately prior to the participantís tour of duty at the project.

Expedition divers must provide a complete set of standard, well-maintained recreational dive gear for their own personal use. Three two-hour dives are scheduled each day. Team members rotate throughout other duty stations (screen deck operator, safety diver, equipment maintenance, activity documentation, etc.) when not diving on the excavation.

Flexibility in scheduling can be an asset for applicants. The project requires a relatively constant volunteer staff throughout the duration of its field operations. Hence, an applicant who wishes to participate for a period of one week, but can permit the dates for that week to be designated by project management (via prior consultation with you), improves their chance of acceptance over someone similarly qualified, but restricted to one specific week which may already be oversubscribed.

All veteran team members as well as first-time volunteers must apply for positions on the 1998 field roster(s) using the application form.

There will be no separate invitation to apply, as there has been in the past. Due to operational logistics four consecutive days is the minimum commitment permissible. Project activities are conducted six days per week.

1998 Site Schedules, (Field Scientific Director):

May 4 - 18, Latvis/Simpson (M. Mihlbachler)
May 19 - June 14*, Sloth Hole (A. Hemmings) *May 21 - 24 FAS Annual Meeting break
October 5 - 31, West Run (A. Hemmings).

Now, if you would like to be considered for a position on the team, hereís how to proceed:

Fill out the ARPP volunteer application form (or photocopy thereof), and return it postmarked not later than April 1st for the spring field season or September 1st for the fall season.

Your application will be evaluated confidentially by a panel consisting of the project co-chief scientists and principal investigators, project operations manager, project operations supervisor, and field scientific directors.

You will receive a response to your application within one week following the application deadlines.

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