Oil boom produces jobs bonanza for archaeologists

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Associated Press

Posted on June 11, 2014 at 1:01 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jun 11 at 1:01 PM

TIOGA, N.D. (AP) — The oil fields of North Dakota are producing a rare jobs bonanza in American archaeology, a field in which many highly educated professionals hop from project to project around the world and struggle to make a living.

Before it can be developed, land often has to undergo an archaeological survey to determine if it contains any buried historical treasures. The work involves looking for artifacts or other evidence of human habitation.

If significant discoveries emerge, most oil companies will change their plans to avoid the hassle of drilling in a sensitive area.

The jobs also come with a constant tension: Archaeologists are trained to find evidence of the past, but the companies that pay them would prefer not to turn up anything that gets in the way of profits.

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