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Senior Archaeologist

State of South Dakota
Pactola Lake, South Dakota
Closing date
Jun 24, 2024

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Position Type
Cultural Resource Management
Full Time
Organization Type

Job ID: 27049

Agency: Department of Education - South Dakota State Historical Society

Location: Rapid City

Salary: $28.86 - $34.36 per hour, depending on experience

Pay Grade: GJ

Closing Date: 06/18/2024

The Senior Archaeologist acts as a project manager and coordinates a portion of the office's contract duties by managing assigned archaeology projects from creation to completion. They are expected to serve as the Principal Investigator and Crew Lead for archaeological field surveys, testing, monitoring, and site evaluations on both large and small projects.

This position requires:
  • quality control of field and lab work and of project deliverables (including technical reports, site records, analyses, etc.);
  • preparation of work plans, research designs, monitoring plans, cost estimates, etc.;
  • decision making on a project-by-project basis relative to project logistics and field methods;
  • overseeing others' work in the field and authoring and editing technical reports;
  • coordination with other project managers, field crews, Repository Manager, and State Archaeologist;
  • evaluation of resources for the NRHP;
  • representing the office to contractors, landowners, agency personnel (federal, state, local, and/or tribal), and other professionals;
  • assisting with internal staffing feedback and recommendations for internal policies; and
  • other duties as assigned.

The position is located at the Archaeological Research Center in Rapid City (, a growing city known for its natural beauty, recreational opportunities, and dynamic local culture. The Archaeological Research Center is a program of the South Dakota State Historical Society and is the Office of the State Archaeologist. Archaeologists from the Center have provided cultural resource consulting services to hundreds of clients in the region since 1973, and work on a wide range of CRM, grant-funded, mitigation, and research-based projects. The Center has a permanent staff of 15, plus a varying number of seasonal employees, and regularly allocates funding based on staff interests and skillsets (check out some of the Center's publications: This position is built to encourage the Senior Archaeologist to strike a good office-field balance and allows for opportunities for growth and continued learning.

The Senior Archaeologist position is both an office and field-based role. During the field season (generally April through November), work requires regular overnight travel, with crews working four 10-hour days. Applicants should be in physical condition for strenuous outdoor work conditions typical of archaeological survey and excavation, such as hiking long distances over rough terrain, carrying heavy equipment, hand excavation by trowel and shovel, and screening soil. The incumbent will need to be prepared to perform fieldwork work in a variety of weather conditions, including heat, cold, rain, wind, and snow. Fieldwork is balanced with office work, particularly during the winter months, and includes preparing technical reports, email and phone correspondence, budget tracking, GIS, and lab work.

What to expect beyond the paycheck?
  • Health insurance (including well-being programs, employee assistance, dental and vision, health savings account, and life insurance)
  • Membership in South Dakota Retirement System
  • Generous leave (including paid vacation and sick leave, paid family leave, and military leave)
  • 11 paid holidays
  • Flexible work schedule
  • State-provided laptop for remote work
  • Longevity pay
  • Meal per diems during travel
  • Use of state fleet vehicles
  • State-covered hotel expenses

The total compensation of hourly wage plus non-paycheck benefits for a typical year for the Senior Archaeologist position totals over $65,000 annually. The Center strives to promote a favorable work-life balance and allows for flexibility in scheduling. This is a Full-Time position with the Department of Education - South Dakota State Historical Society. For more information on the South Dakota State Historical Society - Archaeology, please visit

Licenses and Certifications:

Candidates must be able to meet the US Secretary of the Interior's standards for a professional archaeologist, including an applicable postgraduate degree in anthropology, archaeology, or a closely related field, and relevant experience. A valid driver's license is required to operate state vehicles. Ongoing professional development is encouraged and supported in this position.

The Ideal Candidate Will Have:

A master's degree in Anthropology or a related field and demonstrated experience managing field logistics, preparing technical reports, and undertaking project management duties. Expert knowledge of principles, practices, and techniques of CRM and relevant laws and regulations. Expertise in archaeological theory and critical thinking. Strong proficiency in writing, including the application of federal guidelines as they pertain to cultural resources management.

The ideal candidate will be equally proficient in field-based skills as well as office skills (i.e. writing and communicating). This role will require a solid understanding of Plains archaeology, project logistics, CRM methodologies, and personnel management.

Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities:
  • ability to serve as Principal Investigator;
  • manage archaeology projects from creation to completion and direct assigned personnel;
  • handle multiple assignments in a fast-paced environment;
  • technical writing skills and the ability to author and contribute to research designs, budgets, and project proposals;
  • experience in applying NRHP criteria and conducting research;
  • excellent interpersonal skills with the ability to sustain effective working relationships;
  • skill to work both independently and collaboratively;
  • assist in training archaeologists in field and reporting techniques;
  • good working knowledge of Plains archaeology, including South Dakota and/or surrounding states, including prehistoric and historic artifact identification and analysis;
  • knowledge and skill to use GIS and handheld GPS technology;
  • comfortable with Microsoft Office suite;
  • model safety guidelines; and
  • understand and follow administrative requirements established by the State for all employees.

Additional Requirements: To be considered, please attach:
  • a cover letter is encouraged but not required;
  • resume;
  • contact information for three professional references;
  • a copy of official transcripts;
  • at least one writing sample that demonstrates independent research and technical reporting.

This position is eligible for Veterans' Preference per ARSD 55:10:02:08.

The State of South Dakota does not sponsor work visas for new or existing employees. All persons hired will be required to verify identity and eligibility to work in the United States and complete an Employment Eligibility Verification, Form I-9. The State of South Dakota as an employer will be using E-Verify to complete employment eligibility verification upon hire.

The State of South Dakota offers employer paid health insurance plus eleven paid holidays, generous vacation and sick leave accrual, dental, vision, and other insurance options, and retirement benefits. You can view our benefits information at This position is a member of Class A retirement under SDRS.

Must apply online:

You must apply online, emailed resumes or submissions will not be accepted.

South Dakota Bureau of Human Resources

Telephone: 605.773.3148 Email:

"An Equal Opportunity Employer"

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