California State Parks – Southern Service Center Archaeological Internship/Volunteer Program

California State Parks (CSP) Southern Service Center (SSC) offers a volunteer (unpaid) archaeological internship/volunteer program for current students and recent graduates of archaeology and anthropology programs. This is a valuable opportunity to find out what professional archaeologists do, increase individual experience, and gain a better understanding of how archaeology is conducted in a public agency setting. Many colleges and universities offer course credit for internships, so prospective interns are encouraged to check with their college/university to find out what requirements must be met to get credit for internship work.

The CSP SSC archaeological internship program strives to provide a well-rounded experience, including both field and archaeological laboratory/office work. The attached document consists of a standard duty statement for an archaeological intern, listing an overview of the types of tasks that may be available.

CSP SSC archaeological interns are required to put in a minimum of 4 hours per week for at least 2 hours at a time when working in the laboratory/office and a typical minimum of 8 hours at a time when working in the field. Additional hours are welcomed and for some academic credit programs are required. The normal length of an internship corresponds to a standard academic semester (ca. 16 weeks) or quarter (ca. 10 weeks); although interns are welcomed to continue on for as long as mutually agreed upon. Alternate schedules can be negotiated on a case-by-case basis (for example, 8 to 16 hours every other week, etc.). Flexibility can also be offered for occurrences such as midterms, finals, and other unforeseen events.

Most of the fieldwork SSC does is in the form of construction monitoring, site testing, archaeological survey, and site condition monitoring. We try to offer as many fieldwork opportunities to our interns as possible, and most of the fieldwork opportunities for our interns are in the San Diego or Orange County regions. CSP does not cover hotel or per diem costs for interns, so they do not typically participate in out-of-town/overnight projects. However, if interns can find their own accommodations and cover their own food costs, arrangements for that type of fieldwork can be worked out.

A bulk of the archaeological work at SSC is done in the archaeology lab and office: sorting and cataloging collections, compiling and updating site records, and managing maps, documents, and files for those archaeological sites within our state park boundaries.

Questions regarding the CSP SSC Archaeological Internship Program may be directed to:

Marla Mealey Associate State Archaeologist California State Parks Southern Service Center NTC at Liberty Station, Barracks 26, 2797 Truxtun Road San Diego, CA 92106 Marla.Mealey@parks.ca.gov 619-221-7051

California State Parks Archaeological Internship/Volunteer – Duty Statement

Archaeological Interns/volunteers with California State Parks’ Southern Service Center will assist State Parks archaeologists and other cultural staff in field, laboratory, and office work that may include monitoring, excavation, survey, artifact processing, cataloging, form preparation, and other tasks.

Data Processing and Management (45%) The archaeological Intern/volunteer may assist with preparation of official archaeological site record forms including site and location maps, and may assist in the preparation of technical reports to satisfy State requirements and professional standards. Other tasks may include photo cataloging, data entry, data processing (including digital/GIS data), etc. to assist with preparation, use, and storage of archaeological data. These tasks will assist the intern/volunteer in understanding the details required for site recordation, mapping, and professional report writing, as well as developing knowledge of data organization, filing system structures, and document curation standards.

Laboratory Work and Research (45%): Intern/volunteer will assist with processing (cleaning & sorting), identifying, and cataloging recovered prehistoric and historic artifacts and site constituents. This may include research and will help the intern/volunteer develop an understanding of typologies and recognition of various categories of artifacts, their manufacture, and use. Tasks also may include data entry of artifact information into a catalog database and preparation of artifacts and associated records for curation.

Fieldwork (10%): Tasks may include archaeological monitoring, survey, site recordation, testing (shovel test pits or augers), and/or unit excavation using professional archaeological field methods and current field standards. Archaeological Interns/volunteers will become familiar with processes and methods necessary to undertake and complete fieldwork, and will develop an understanding of problem solving techniques and strategies useful to future applications in archaeology.

 San Diego Archaeological Center
Internship opportunities include: Collections Management, Collections Research, Digital Photography, GIS – Geographic Information System, Library Science, Public Archaeology , and Development & Marketing Intern

Volunteer opportunities include: Center Docents, Project Archaeology Assistants, Outreach Assistants, Library Assistants, General Projects, Spercial Events, Marketing and Administration, Board Committees, and Spearkers Bureau

San Diego Museum of Man
Internships and volunteer opportunities are available through the curatorial department. Some of the tasks include inventory, data control, minor conservation, and identification research. Applications available on the SDMoM website.

South Coastal Information Center (SCIC)
The SCIC is one of ten offices of the California Historical Resources Information System established by the California Office of Historic Preservation to maintain an inventory of the state’s historical and cultural resources. The SCIC is the primary repository for archaeological site records and reports for San Diego and Imperial counties. This information is utilized by archaeologists and other cultural resource professionals to meet the requirements of state and federal law, as well as all levels of academic research. Students interning at the SCIC will aid staff in maintaining and managing the archive, including: processing newly recorded archaeological sites and reports; working with GIS, specifically maintaining SCIC’s geodatabase; gaining familiarity with California and federal law regarding cultural resource preservation namely CEQA and Section 106; and interacting with members of the local archaeological professional and academic communities.  An internship with the SCIC is highly recommended to students interested in pursuing a career in Cultural Resource Management or other local archaeological organizations and institutions.  

For more information, visit the SCIC website

Collections Management Program (CMP)
San Diego State University
Collections is an on-campus curation facility for archaeological and ethnographic collections including an archaeology lab and storage for the over 800 collections featuring several hundred thousand artifacts. Students interning at CMP will get direct experience working with artifacts through the curation of archaeological collections including artifact identification and executing proper curatorial methods. Interns will also assist CMP staff with cataloging, report writing, and research. An internship with CMP is recommended to students interested in gaining experience with artifacts and the curatorial process.

NOTE: Internships for credit must be SDSU students. Volunteers do not have to be students.

For more information, visit the Collections Management website