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BRIEFINGS

by

Ralph Johnson

Members Sworn In at White House Ceremony: Congratulations to Prudence M. Rice (Southern Illinois University) and Hester Davis (Arkansas State Archaeologist) on their appointment to the Cultural Property Advisory Committee. I was privileged to attend their swearing-in ceremony on January 30 and to hear incoming chair Martin E. Sullivan (director of the Heard Museum) speak highly of the appointees and warmly about SAA and its support of cultural property protection.

The Cultural Property Advisory Committee was established by the Convention on Cultural Property Implementation Act of 1983 (Public Law 97-446). The act enables the United States to participate in the Convention on the Means of Prohibiting and Preventing the Illicit Import, Export, and Transfer of Ownership of Cultural Property. This treaty, adopted by UNESCO in 1970, is designed to further international cooperation in protecting cultural artifacts from pillage and unlawful trade.

The committee is comprised of 11 persons who are appointed by the U.S. president for three-year staggered terms. Representation on the committee is stipulated by law in the following manner: two members who represent the interests of museums; three experts in archaeology, anthropology, ethnology, or related fields; three experts in the international sale of cultural property; and three who represent the interests of the general public. Rice and Davis join Frederick P. Lange, another SAA member, on the committee.

Consistent with committee recommendations, the U.S. government now restricts the importation of pre-Hispanic archaeological material from the Cara Sucia Region of El Salvador; antique Aymara textiles from Coroma, Bolivia; Moche material from the archaeological site of Sipan in northern Peru; Maya archaeological material from the Peten region of Guatemala, and archaeological material from the region of the Niger River valley and the Bandiagara Escarpment of Mali. A final determination is pending for the committee's recommendation on Canada's request for protection.

Life Plan Credit Announced: Members insured in the SAA Life Insurance Plan as of September 30, 1994, will receive a credit of 50 percent of their semiannual premium due on the April 1, 1995, renewal and a second credit of 20 percent of the semiannual premium due on October 1, 1995. This marks the 31st consecutive year in which premium credits have been granted due to the strong financial condition of the plan, thus further reducing the costs of this valuable protection for insured members and their families.

The SAA Life Insurance Plan offers coverage up to $300,000 for members; protection for spouses and dependent children is also available. For more information, contact the Plan Administrator, SAA Group Insurance Program, 1255 23rd St. N.W., Washington D.C. 20037, (800) 424-9883 or (202) 296-8030.

National Trust Adopts Principles on Archaeology: During the winter of 1993, Richard Moe, president of the National Trust for Historic Preservation (NTHP), convened an Archaeology Task Force. The objective Moe presented to the group was to identify what role, if any, the National Trust might play in assisting in the protection of archaeological resources. Katherine Slick, a National Trust trustee from New Mexico, was asked by NTHP to chair the task force; Lynne Goldstein (University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee), Shereen Lerner (Mesa Community College), and Lynne Sebastian (deputy New Mexico SHPO) were invited to serve on the task force as representatives of SAA.

As the task force worked to develop its report and recommendations, Slick was invited to meet with SAA's Executive Board in Anaheim (April 1994) to inform the board of the NTHP initiative. Board members praised NTHP for undertaking this effort and exchanged a range of ideas on closer cooperation between SAA and the National Trust. Slick subsequently participated in the SAA-sponsored Save the Past for the Future II conference held in Breckenridge, Colorado, in September 1994.

The task force report contained recommendations for NTHP action and a set of seven principles on archaeology, which note that the National Trust should focus its efforts on providing leadership within the preservation community by incorporating archaeology as an element in a broader preservation movement. This goal, the principles continue, can be accomplished by increasing awareness of archaeological issues for National Trust members, staff, preservation partners, and the general public. For instance, the principles point out, the National Trust should apply the highest standards of protection for archaeological resources associated with its own properties, and all other institutional programs, such as its publications, should include archaeology in program planning and coverage.

At its meeting in Boston in October 1994, the National Trust's Board of Trustees accepted the report of the Archaeology Task Force and adopted as board policy the Statement of Principles on Archaeology. Task force member Lynne Goldstein noted, "The National Trust's adoption of the principles is a significant step toward having archaeology be recognized by preservationists as a critical component in historic preservation. I commend the trust's leadership -- in particular Dick Moe—for recognizing the importance of archaeology in the National Trust's mission and for initiating the task force."

As an initial demonstration of the trust's good faith, Goldstein has been appointed as one of two NTHP advisors from Wisconsin -- the first time an archaeologist has been so appointed. And as a symbol of collaboration, President Bruce Smith, President-elect Bill Lipe, Government Affairs Manager Donald Craib, and I met at the National Trust's headquarters on February 23, 1995, for a "brown bag" lunch with staff members interested in learning more about archaeology and its link with the historic preservation movement.

Members who are interested in learning more about NTHP or who wish to receive a copy of the Statement of Principles on Archaeology (or the full report of the Archaeology Task Force) may contact Paul Edmondson at the National Trust for Historic Preservation (202) 673-4035, fax (202) 673-4038.

Ralph Johnson is executive director of SAA.

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