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National Park Historian Jobs

History has numerous accounts of early American life from the tales and written exploits of the explorers, traders, settlers and minors who made the first European discoveries and journeys into the vastness of the New World.

But much of the history of human life in North America predates the European immigrants and explorers, and the Native American peoples that inhabited this land before them did not leave a written record of their history or culture. Without written records, historians and archeologists might be at a loss to discover the ancient cultural roots of our nation, but the national forest lands hold their own records of human history, stretching back into the past for more than ten thousand years.

The evidence of pre-European culture and history lies hidden in the ground, and carved into the stones and hillsides of the National Forest Service lands. Archeological teams carefully uncover and examine the remains of these ancient Native American societies to learn more about human history and pre-historic events. They work in collaboration with historians to identify, catalog, and analyze the archeological evidence they find. This helps to build the story of our land and peoples, connecting ancient times to modern.

FACT! Over ten thousand years of human history can be found in the National Petrified Forest, which houses more than eight hundred archeological and historic sites.

Job Descriptions

Archeologists and historians work together to uncover our ancient past.

  • Archeological Technicians provide technical support to archeological studies and research through information and data gathering, development and dissemination.
  • Archeologists plan and develop archeological and heritage resources program policy objectives and priorities, and manage the operation and execution of archeological expeditions and assignments. This includes the examination of reservoir, road, recreation, construction and other potentially ground disturbing projects. They analyze, identify and evaluate resource needs, verify archeological and historical sites, and provide guidance in the warding, protection and salvage of such sites.
  • Historians research, analyze and develop historical reports, assembling historical data. However, they do more than simply compile reports. They also provide advice and guidance on the identification and management of cultural resources, and generate a baseline of historical information and data that is useful in the inventory, evaluation and compliance of past practices and the development of future practices. They frequently work in collaboration with forest service archeologists to preserve and protect some of America's most valuable cultural resources.

FACT! An orphaned bear cub was found on the burn path of a large wildfire that raged through the Lincoln National Forest in Mexico. The cub was rescued and became the official mascot of a national fire awareness campaign. He was called Smokey Bear.

Education and Pay

To qualify to work as a archeological technician for the National Forest Service, you must have a high school diploma or equivalency, and a minimum of one year of specialized experience working in the field. It's possible to substitute the experience requirements if you have completed a bachelor's degree or at least four full years of study an accredited higher learning institution with related coursework.

To be hired as an archeologist or historian, applicants must have completed at least four years of study at an accredited higher learning institution, with a focus on archeological or historical coursework or a related field such as anthropology. Alternatively, job candidates may substitute four years of experience working in the historical or archeological fields, including professional experience in archeological survey, excavation, laboratory analysis and documentation.

Archeological technicians typically start off at grade levels 5-6 of the General Schedule (GS) category of the Federal Wage System. Archeologists and historians fresh out of college are hired as trainees at GS grade levels 5-7. After two years they are promoted to full-status and typically qualify for GS grade levels 9-11.

Quick Summary:

  • Archeological technicians must have a minimum of one year of specialized experience working in the field and performing work similar to the duties required by the job.
  • In order to work with the National Forest Service, archeologists and historians must have completed at least four years of study at an accredited higher learning institution.
  • Archeological technicians typically start off at grade levels 5-6.
  • Entry level archeologists and historians fall under grade level 7 of the General Schedule (GS) category of the Federal Wage System.
  • After one year of satisfactory job performance, you may be promoted to a higher pay grade level.