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BRIEFINGS

by

Ralph Johnson

Magnificent Minneapolis--From a staff perspective, the Annual Meeting is an awesome event where broad intellectual, business, and social agendas converge. While organizing the meeting consumes untold hours of time from volunteers (such as Program Committee Chair Paul Minnis and Local Advisory Committee Chair Phyllis Messenger), that investment is rewarded when meeting registrants are energized and rejuvenated by the meeting-- and both personal observations and evaluation forms indicate this happened magnificently when 2,281 registrants came together in Minneapolis.

Nearly 1,200 individuals delivered presentations in a variety of session formats, and the New York Times and other newspapers have already published stories based on research results delivered at the meeting. General session topics ranged from finding creative solutions for restructuring American archaeology to "telling" archaeology to the public. Applications of technology in archaeology were demonstrated in the sold-out exhibit hall and in poster sessions that incorporated CD- ROM and total station. An expanded series of awards was presented to honorees with a standing-room-only audience. Hundreds of members were involved in meetings of SAA committees and task forces, which are developing recommendations for Executive Board consideration and carrying out action plans that seem to be growing exponentially in both breadth and depth.

The meeting generates a huge new work load, but this reflects the healthy position of a vibrant organization. An enthusiastic commitment to archaeology and to SAA was wonderfully evident in Minneapolis--and my staff associates and I were among those who were energized by it.


April in the Crescent City--Hold the dates of April 10-14, 1996 for SAA's 61st Annual Meeting in New Orleans, where the mighty Mississippi River has molded both the land and the culture. Plan now to participate in what is sure to be an educationally enriching and professionally productive gathering of archaeologists in a city renowned for its festive hospitality. The call for submissions was mailed to all members on May 19, but is also available via fax from SAA's FaxBack service [call (800) 375-5603 and request document 7222]; guidelines for organizers are also available through this service (request document number 7221).


Watson Honored--Patty Jo Watson (Washington University--St. Louis) was among five women scientists honored on March 9 at an afternoon briefing at the White House and an evening reception for Women in Science and Technology at the Kennedy Center. Recognized for her work in cave archaeology in the search for the origins of agriculture, she is one of six women scientists highlighted in Discovering Women, the six-part television series produced by WGBH Boston and sponsored by the Public Broadcasting System (broadcast in March and April).

The documentaries chronicle the lives of women whose work has enhanced our understanding of the world. To encourage young scientists, WGBH developed a national campaign titled S.O.S.: Seek Out Science to accompany the series. The project aims to spark the interest of middle school students in science, broaden their understanding of careers that incorporate science, and generate connections between young people and women scientists in their communities. For information about this project, call WGBH Educational Print and Outreach Department at (617) 492-2777 ext. 3848; for information on the series, contact Judy Mathews, WGBH Boston, ext. 3773.


Interest Group Guidelines Approved--At its meeting in Minneapolis, the Executive Board approved guidelines for the formation and operation of interest groups within SAA. If you have an idea for an interest group or questions about the guidelines, please call me. The guidelines are as follows:

Ralph Johnson is executive director of SAA.


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