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 Prehistoric Quarry and Early Mines Interest Group Minimize

Statement of Purpose

The purpose of the Prehistoric Quarry and Early Mines Interest Group is to advance the study of non-industrialized mines, quarries and other forms of extraction sites. As such, the group is concerned with studying the archaeological and geological records of extractive technologies and their remnant manifestations in order to better understand the social, political and economic contexts in which they operated - from the cultural landscapes that quarries and mines have formed to the artifact assemblages associated with them. Unlike mobile and seasonal subsistence resources, mines are fixed on the landscape. Inter-generational knowledge can be assumed for all resources, but especially for mines and quarries in terms of geological, technical and geographical experiences that must have been passed down through the generations.

Like all archaeological sites, mines and quarries are nonrenewable resources in terms of our understanding of the prehistoric past. Mines and quarries, however, are unique in that their on-going use eradicates the record of what has gone before; often these sites (as opposed to other cultural resources) are treated as if they were renewable because of the nature of sites and because there is a lack of awareness of types and quantities of information that these sites represent. As development proceeds, the rate of destruction of prehistoric quarries and mines increases.


  1. Standardize nomenclature and terms as they relate to early quarries and mines.
  2. Raise awareness of these non-renewable resources with the goal of improving the potential for preservation and recordation.
  3. Provide a forum for specialists (especially across international and linguistic boundaries) for the exchange of ideas and for debate on current interpretive issues, conservation concerns, and formulation of broad research questions.
  4. Encourage interdisciplinary quarry and mine research among archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, geologists and other communities in the natural and social sciences.
  5. Develop ethical guidelines for the treatment of such sites.
  6. Provide a holistic and humanistic research framework within which to treat this site type, moving beyond technical issues of procurement, production and quantification analyses to the social, economic and political aspects of quarries and mines.
  7. Provide the archaeological community with suggestions for contextualization and treatment of these types of sites by providing expertise on methods of recordation and conservation through a variety of media. Develop written guidelines, specialized quarry registration forms, field visits or other appropriate responses.
  8. Develop a database of prehistoric quarries and mines in order to study their distribution and to raise awareness toward increasing the measure of protection.


  1. Sponsor SAA symposia at the annual SAA meeting on an annual or biennial basis.
  2. Periodically sponsor field trips in conjunction with the annual meeting, if appropriate.
  3. Publish its own newsletter to extend the forum of debate, which will be produced for group members but can be electronically circulated to the wider SAA membership upon request.
  4. Form an e-mail discussion group, in which members may address the prehistoric quarry and early mines interest group at large (or its officers) with prehistoric quarry concerns.
  5. Provide training workshops to other professionals and/or members of the public in order to increase interest, skills and awareness of prehistoric quarries and early mines in the larger cultural heritage community.
  6. Procedure for Selecting and Rotating a Chairperson

A chairperson should be elected on a bi-annual basis from nominations proposed and seconded by the group as a whole. Other officers would be similarly elected (i.e. publications officer/editor, treasurer if needed, outreach officer, etc.).

Contact Person
Dr. Lynn Fisher, Associate Professor
University of Illinois at Springfield
1 University Plaza, MS UHB 3038
Springfield, IL 62703 U.S.A.
Tel: 217-206-7938
email: lfish1@uis.edu 

Newsletter Archives 

Click HERE to access Newsletter Archives

THE QUARRY–CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS–The Quarry is the interest group's e-newsletter. The Editor invites your short research papers, news, reports or announcements. This is your chance to report your latest findings to our growing group membership, not only to inform, but also to facilitate debate. Our e-newsletter is archived online (see link above), so it is accessible to the wider membership, which increases readership and provides an easy way to disseminate research. The newsletter offers you a great opportunity to report on current research or cultural resources management (CRM) projects and to inform your peers of planned events at the next Annual Meeting.

Contact the Editor for information on submission deadlines and publishing schedule. Research papers should be a maximum of 2,000 words with up to six illustrations (all illustrations as medium to low resolution jpegs); news items should be 500-1,000 words with two illustrations; interim reports can be up to 1,000-1,500 words with two to four illustrations; announcements of events, conferences, etc., should be up to 500 words. Please note that all copyrighted material may only be used if the Editor can be supplied with a written waiver from the photographer or copyright holder to state that permission is granted to use the material in the e-newsletter and posted on the SAA website. Anyone appearing in the photo also has to give permission for the use of his or her image.


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