Assessing the Big Picture:
Society for American Archaeology Publication Address Archaeology and Landscape-Scale Policy Issues
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has made the May 2016 issue of Advances in Archaeological Practice freely accessible. A themed issued devoted to landscape-scale management, it contains three key reports on landscape-scale cultural heritage management of interest to non-archaeologists .The three multi-authored reports combine centuries of personal experience by distinguished practitioners in archaeological survey, documentation, and valuation. Read more...
October 24, 2016
SAA Statement on the Dakota Access Pipeline
On September 13, 2016, SAA sent an urgent letter to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) expressing concerns over their use of the Nationwide Permit 12 in this project and about deficiencies in NHPA Section 106 consultation on traditional cultural properties. SAA also expressed concern over possible violations to ARPA and North Dakota State Law 23-06-27 (the "Protection of Human Burial Sites, Human Remains, and Burial Goods" section of "Care and Custody of the Dead") in the events of September 3. Finally, the letter raises wider issues about USACE's use of its own Section 106 rules.
For your information, a copy of the letter can be found at http://saa.org/Portals/0/SAA/GovernmentAffairs/DAPL_LETTER.pdf
SAA Joins Veterans Curation Program to Celebrate Expansion of Virginia-based Lab
Veterans returning home after serving overseas are continuing to serve their country by protecting our cultural heritage, all while gaining job skills and experience, thanks to the Veterans Curation Program (VCP).
Run by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ (USACE) Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections (MCX-CMAC) the VCP provides veterans with tangible work skills and experience through rehabilitation and preservation of federally owned or administered archaeological collections. SAA honored USACE’s MCX-CMAC with the Award for Excellence in Curation, Collections Management, and Collections-based Research at its 81st Annual Meeting in Orlando.
Recently, SAA Executive Director Tobi Brimsek and Maureen Malloy, SAA's manager, Education and Outreach, joined Assistant Secretary of the Army (Civil Works) Jo-Ellen Darcy, Major General Michael Wehr, MCX-CMAC director Michael “Sonny” Trimble, and others to celebrate the expansion of the VCP’s Alexandria, VA archaeological lab.
USACE manages one of the largest archaeological collections in the world and more than 300 post-9/11 veterans have received training through the VCP.
SAA Announces 2016 Award Recipients
SAA award recipients are selected by individual committees of SAA members - one for each award. The Board of Directors wishes to thank the award committees for their hard work and excellent selections.
Award of Honorary Membership by the Board of Directors
Recipient: Khaled M. al-Asaad
In recognition of his long career of scholarship, stewardship of Syrian antiquities, successful nomination of Palmyra to the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and his courageous determination to continue protecting these at all costs. The President and Board of Directors can think of no higher honor from us as archaeologists to a colleague whom we would be glad to call one of our own.
Gene S. Stuart Award
Recipient: Tamara Stewart
For her fascinating and responsible article “Archaeology in the Ice Patches” in American Archaeology Magazine.
Geoarchaeology Interest Group M.A./M.S. Research Award
Recipient: Kendal R. Jackson
Mr. Jackson's impressive ongoing M.A. thesis project focuses on the analysis of pollen from a series of sediment cores collected from mounds on the Crystal River Site (central Gulf Coast of Florida) and nearby marshes.
Dienje Kenyon Memorial Fellowship
Recipient: Arianne Boileau
For her proposed research on a unique corpus of zooarchaeological remains from the Terminal Postclassic to Early Colonial contexts at the Maya site of Lamanai investigating how the community and society were transformed by the Spanish.
Dienje Kenyon Memorial Fellowship
Honorable Mention: Ashley N. Petrillo
Fred Plog Memorial Fellowshp
Recipient: Jacob Lulewicz
For his dissertation research on social networks and the emergence of organizational complexity in Southern Appalachia during in Late Woodland and Mississippian periods.
Douglas C. Kellogg Fellowship for Geoarchaeological Research
Recipient: Jennifer Kielhofer
The award provides support for the analysis of soils located near archaeological sites in central Alaska.
Recipient: Guy David Hepp
In recognition of his outstanding dissertation and the important contributions it makes to our knowledge of Mesaomerican prehistory, the origins of sedentary agricultural societies, and the development of social complexity.
Book Award: Scholarly Catagory
Recipient: Robert Bettinger
For his book entitled “Orderly Anarchy: Sociopolitical Evolution in Aboriginal California," published by University of California Press.
Book Award: Scholarly Catagory Honorable Mention
Recipient: Guolong Lai
Book Award: Popular Catagory
Recipient: Miranda Aldhouse-Green
For her book entitled “Bog Bodies Uncovered: Solving Europe's Ancient Mystery," published by Thames & Hudson.
Award for Excellence in Archaeological Analysis
Recipient: Barbara Voorhies
For her demonstrated excellence in the archaeological analysis of the Mesoamerican Pacific coast Archaic period, including the advancement of multi-disciplinary research, ethnoarchaeology, and gendered archaeology.
Award for Excellence in Cultural Resource Management
Recipient: Dr. Tom Emerson
In recognition of his invaluable contributions to Midwestern archaeology and to promoting the research focus under the cultural resources management (CRM) umbrella.
Award for Excellence in Curation, Collections Management, and Collections-based Research and Education
Recipient: US Army Corps of Engineers Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections
For providing leadership in archaeological curation and collections management for over two decades and for implementing innovative solutions for the care of the significant cultural heritage represented by archaeological collections.
Recipient: Steven Freers
For his contributions to California and Arizona rock-art studies, consultation with the Luiseño and other native nations, site preservation and public education.
The Fryxell Award for Interdisciplinary Research
Recipient: Elizabeth J. Reitz
For her central role in American archaeology, particularly in coastal contexts, based on a remarkable combination of excellent scholarship, professional leadership, public outreach, and student training.
Award for Excellence in Latin American and Caribbean Archaeology
Recipient: Robert D. Drennan
For his influence in the development and practice of a professional, paradigm-oriented Latin American archaeology, contributions that illustrate a remarkable record of substantive academic accomplishments and establish him at the forefront of the archaeological discipline.
Lifetime Achievement Award
Recipient: Margaret (Meg) W. Conkey
For her pivotal role in broadening the field of archaeology, including her contributions to scholarship as well as professional and institutional leadership.
SAA's new Committee on Climate Change Strategies & Archaeological Resources addresses the need to protect the archaeological record.
Climate change isn’t just imperiling the future; it’s also putting the past at risk. In response to the need to protect the archaeological record from the effects of climate change, the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) announces the formation of the Committee on Climate Change Strategies and Archaeological Resources. Read more...
SAA Reiterates Its Concern Over Re-Branded "Nazi War Diggers" Television Show Now Premiering in Britian and Australia
The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) is dismayed to learn that Nazi War Diggers, a television show the archaeological community successfully halted in the United States, has been re-branded and is scheduled to air in Britain, Australia, and New Zealand.
SAA would like to stress that re-branding the show from Nazi War Diggers to the less provocative Battlefield Recovery in no way diminishes our concerns, which were clearly stated in an earlier joint letter.
In response to more recent protests, Clearstory, the London production company responsible for Battlefield Recovery, has issued a statement (which you can read here) that pointedly leaves out any mention that professional archaeologists were involved in the production and which fails to address archaeological concerns.
Clearstory’s statement is so carefully couched in generalized terms—“in accordance with the relevant guidelines” and “fully compliant both legally and editorially”— as to be nearly meaningless. In fact, while assuring the viewing public that there are no “…compliance issues with the content and there never have been,” the statement then fails to name one organization, respected or not, that assisted them with the delicate task of excavating historical sites containing human remains and artifacts.
Clearstory asks that the archaeological community “…at least views the series, should it become available in the UK, before making a swift judgement.” But the series is in the can, and that’s the problem. Any damage has been done and there is no going back.
Update: Since SAA issued its statement, Battlefield Recovery has been dropped in Australia and New Zealand.
January 6, 2016
Illinois State Museum Closure
Writing on behalf of SAA's nearly 8,000 members, President Diane Gifford-Gonzalez strongly opposed the closure of the Illinois State Museum in a Chicago Tribune Letter to the Editor. Read her Letter to the Editor here.
September 8, 2015
In Memoriam; Khaled al-Asaad
We join with the world in condemning the barbaric, violent death of Syrian archaeologist Khaled al-Asaad. We are horrified that his commitment to preserving, protecting, and understanding the history of the ancient city of Palmyra has led to his death. We have lost an important scholar, visionary, and friend.
Archaeologists uncover the past so we can all glimpse our shared story as citizens of the world. The knowledge Mr. al-Asaad contributed to field of archaeology and to the world cannot be silenced or erased by terrorism or any other means. As we mourn his passing and honor his memory, we take comfort that his dedication to and enthusiasm for sharing the wonders of Palmyra will continue to resonate for generations to come.
August 20, 2015
SAA's Update on National Geographic Channel's Diggers
National Geographic Channel's (NGC) Diggers series Season 4 will air beginning on July 20.
In late 2014 and early 2015, the SAA Executive Committee and an excellent team of volunteer members reviewed and commented on 16 episodes of Diggers - nearly all of Season Four. NGC and the show producers screened both rough and fine cuts of each episode so that SAA could see how its comments had been addressed.
In addition, SAA’s then-President Jeff Altschul engaged in a conference call with NGC and the production company staff to engage with specific issues of concern that emerged during production, including context, site location, and landowners' rights. We believe that SAA’s advice did improve presentation of a number of the episodes so that they represent archaeologists' concerns more clearly.
Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) President Charles Ewen goes into more depth about the archaeological field’s concerns about Diggers and how NGC has responded in his recent blog Diggers Done Right. Along with SAA, SHA also worked with NGC and the production company to address the concerns of the archaeological community. SAA member Kristina Killgrove has written about Diggers and how SAA and SHA have influenced the program in her recent Forbes magazine column, 'Diggers' Returns Tonight With Better Collaboration With Archaeologists. NGC has also posted its own article, Responsible Metal Detecting, on the Diggers site.
On July 20th at 10:30 P.M. EDT, Diggers will feature SAA member and Montpelier Archaeologist Matt Reeves's collaborative project with many metal detectorists to explore vanished structures and activity areas on the grounds of Montpelier, the home of James Madison, fourth president of the United States. This program, which we stress was developed by Reeves, exemplifies best practices for collaboration between archaeologists and metal detectorists. Find out more about the episode here.
July 20, 2015
SAA President Diane Gifford-Gonzalez responds to "Stop Paying for Stupid Science," a Los Angeles Times op-ed that calls for cuts in National Science Foundation funding for social science projects. Read her Letter to the Editor here.
July 9, 2015
Get ready for our 80th Annual Meeting! See the press release here!
Feburary 24, 2015
Announcing a new field school scholarship! The Historically Underrepresented Groups Scholarship (HUGS) will be available for summer 2015. Two scholarships are available. Click here for more information.
November 6, 2014
SAA launched the new web-based Career Center. For job seekers the Career Center offers free and confidential resume posting to employers in the archaeology industry, automated weekly email notification of new job listings, and the ability to save jobs for later review just to name a few of the many benefits. On the employer side, the biggest change is a flat-fee based service of $295 with no maximum word count. The Career Center also gives employers targeted access to quality professionals, along with quick and easy job posting and online job activity reports. http://careers.saa.org/
August 6, 2014
As health problems prevented Joe Joaquin, the Cultural Resource Specialist from the Tohono O'odham Nation, from attending the SAA Business Meeting in April to receive his Public Service Award, SAA’s President Jeff Altschul brought the award to the Legislative Council Chambers of the Tohono O'odham Nation in Sells, Arizona.
August 5, 2014
The SAA sent a letter to key Senators in opposition to a provision in a transportation bill that would undermine protections for cultural resources. http://www.saa.org/Portals/0/SAA/GovernmentAffairs/BOXER_VITTER_LETTER.pdf
July 10, 2014
Advances introduced the new How-To Series in Advances in Archaeological Practice: A Journal of the Society for American Archaeology. The first article in this series is open to all. To read this article, written by William (Fred) Limp and Adam Barnes, please visit http://saa.metapress.com/content/277675721jtu1774/fulltext.pdf .
June 18, 2014
Archaeological and preservation groups send a letter of concern to National Geographic urging the reworking or cancellation of a new NatGeo TV program.
March 31, 2014
SAA files comments in opposition to FCC proposed Section 106 exemptions for the nationwide installation of Positive Train Control equipment.
March 25, 2014
Coalition of preservation groups send letter opposing H.R. 1459, Ensuring Public Involvement in the Creation of National Monuments Act.
March 24, 2014
SAA submits comments on a proposed rule “to expedite the environmental and historic preservation review of new wireless facilities” and on related procedures.
February 3, 2014