Archaeology can be stressful, especially if you have to live out of your backpack or a remote roadside motel for months on end. Many who work for CRM firms find themselves trotting all over the country. If you have a family, the long hours and time away from home can be tough. Work is seasonal and often paced by the hectic timetables of developers who by law have to pay you to look for sites, but who really want to just build condos over them.
Archaeology can be a cutthroat business. Field techs or “shovel bums” may have a lot of field experience, but they usually have a difficult time getting promoted if they don’t have a graduate degree. Temporary field crews also have to deal with end-of-the-season layoffs, which mean they have to find new projects, wait for the ground to thaw, or come back when the next phase of the project continues.
Also, can you imagine trying to carefully dig up something thousands of years old with a backhoe idling near your head? Handling artifacts is not a walk in the park. Archaeologists have to get proper training to avoid accidents. Imagine how tough it is for underwater archaeologists to document shipwrecks? Waterlogged objects tend to shrink and distort when they’re brought to the ocean’s surface. You have only one chance at doing it right when it comes to removing and properly conserving an underwater artifact. Stressful? Indeed.