Bruce Aument, second from left, with ODOT summer interns in 1983.
Editor's note: ODOT has been a smoke-free workplace since 1990.
Bruce Aument interned with ODOT in the summer of 1983 in the Bureau of Enviromental Services. He holds a bachelor's in History from Capital University, a master's from Universidad las Americas Puebla in Mexco and a doctorate from The Ohio State University in Anthropology/Archaeology. Currently, Bruce works for ODOT as an archaeologist in the Division of Planning, Office of Environmental Services. Here is his story:
What skills have you gained from working at ODOT?
35 years ago I received practical everyday experiences in field survey techniques, site excavation, and curation procedures; and I got paid to do it! I worked all over the state on a variety of different archaeological sites, met a lot of landowner and amateur collectors, and visited most of the state owned historic and archaeological sites. The ODOT staff taught us how to efficiently and effectively budget, organize and execute projects.
What is the most surprising thing you've learned about ODOT?
That archaeology done under cultural resource management could be just as competent and beneficial to the discipline and the public as academic archaeology. ODOT's main mission is to provide a world class transportation system for the state. But ODOT also takes the time and makes the effort to preserve archaeologically significant sites, either through avoidance or mitigation.
How have your educational experiences helped you here at ODOT?
As an intern I came with a lot of book learning that I wanted to put into action. I knew enough to ask the right questions to the ODOT staff when I didn't understand something. I could also suggest ways of doing things differently.
How have your experiences here at ODOT helped with your education?
An archaeologist is a student for life. The goal is to learn something new everyday Truthfully, the majority of ODOT projects are mundane and routine, but there are always some that require additional thought, research, possibly new perspectives and approaches, and collaboration with other specialized archaeologists. Then, in presenting the results to the public I get to meet lots of people interested in Ohio history and archaeology, who provide me with new information they acquired and usually from a different professional perspective.>
What are your goals after graduation?
I'm living my goals, working as an ODOT archaeologist and trying to adapt to the changing cultural resource management scene. Technology is the biggest change, but it's only a tool. And you're only as good as your tools. So my latest goal is to master the tools of my trade.
What do you like to do in your spare time?
Gardening is one, since I don't get my hands dirty enough at work. Hiking is another, since we don't do as much surface collection as we used to. As for curation, I collect stamps and postcards. They can tell you a lot about the recent past and they are quickly becoming extinct.