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Briefings

Ralph Johnson


Contents:

Advisory poll on Current Research

The society's executive board seeks your advice on how to publish Current Research. Please review the advisory poll on page 13, completing and returning it to SAA headquarters by December 31 so your opinion can be considered in executive board deliberations about Current Research.

Free subscription for members

Archaeology and Public Education is issued three times a year by SAA's Public Education Committee. The newsletter contains useful lesson plans and information for educators, interpreters, archaeologists, and others who share archaeology with the public. Members can receive the newsletter free as a benefit of membership, simply by notifying SAA headquarters of your interest so that your name can be added to the distribution list.

In a recent survey, readers rated Archaeology and Public Education very highly and indicated that each issue is shared with several additional readers (up to 20). Because of escalating printing and distribution costs, readers are asked to subscribe ($10/year) or to become an associate member ($30) to receive the newsletter free. We are delighted at the number of memberships this is generating, but suspect that some teachers and school systems will not have the financial resources to subscribe. A gift subscription or membership could help sustain the newsletter's reach into classrooms, and ensure that archaeology public education can continue to generate many positive outcomes. Credit card or check payments can be sent to SAA headquarters along with the name and address of the recipient. We will advise the recipient of your gift and send him/her Archaeology and Public Education.

Get your membership card?

You probably noticed some changes in the membership renewal mailed in October. A new invoice was developed to make use of optical mark reading technology, which allows staff members to scan data into membership records instead of manually keying it in. The system increases productivity so we can spend time on programs and services instead of "keyboarding" financial transactions. I recognize the form may have required some extra time to process and I thank you for your help.

Another change was a perforated membership card, to be removed and retained, as part of the invoice. Unfortunately, we failed to provide instructions to make sure you noticed the card, and I am chagrined that its inauguration suffered from my failure to point out the new feature. The membership card is destined to become a regular feature of the renewal invoice, and so are the instructions!

Send us email

Many members have remarked that the new edition ofArchaeologists of the Americas is more helpful because it contains so many email addresses. We have recorded email addresses for more than 25 percent of all members, but suspect many more have yet to inform us of their addresses. You can do so in the space provided on your membership renewal invoice, or you can send an email message to headquarters@saa.org and we will update to include it.

Calendar watch

In January, you will receive the ballot and candidate statements for annual elections, as well as the preliminary program brochure for the 61st Annual Meeting, which will take place in New Orleans, April 10-14, 1996. When planning your travel consider arriving in time to participate in the pre-meeting workshops on Wednesday, April 9, or staying long enough for some spectacular Saturday night activities and the French Quarter Festival on Sunday. Details will appear in the preliminary program brochure.

Shumway convicted under

The Salt Lake Tribune recently published "Pothunter is where Officials Want Him" about Earl Shumway. Excerpts from the article, written by Mary K. Arnold, are included here to underscore SAA's continued support for law enforcement and ARPA prosecutions. Shumway "was the Moab man who pleaded guilty in 1984 to damaging archaeological resources by excavating, among other things, 34 Anasazi baskets in the high-profile Basket Case. And two years later he was the key witness against his friend, Buddy Black, as part of a plea bargain that netted Shumway only probation for his Basket Case conviction. Shumway also bragged about his pillaging expertise on a 1988 KUTV documentary, claiming his chance of getting caught digging up ancient American Indian remains was `about a million to one.' Consequently, the 38 year-old's reckless digging has caused inestimable damage to the cultural, historical, and biological record beneath the sand in San Juan County, experts say.

"Now, authorities finally have Shumway where they want him. Last week, a federal jury in Salt Lake City convicted him of four violations of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act at two San Juan County Anasazi sites. And when he is sentenced on November 13, a stiff penalty will be in store. Sentencing guidelines call for additional punishment for defendants with a history of prior illegal activities. Shumway's conviction, said BLM agent Marty Phillips, may dissuade others from digging up protected lands. Because of education campaigns, the number of `innocent' tourists digging has decreased, Phillips said." The case was also the subject of an extensive feature article in the New York Times (November 2, 1995).

SAA has launched an exciting new initiative in archaeology public education

A request for proposals was released to identify one or more states interested in funding for an Archaeology Education Coordinator who would focus on pre-collegiate archaeology public education. The grants provide for a one-year pilot project to assess potential activities and cost for a nationwide network of coordinators. The coordinator will develop a state information inventory (e.g., identifying current teachers of archaeology in state classrooms, their level of training, and materials utilized), introduce archaeology education curriculum in state schools , and develop a plan to ensure continued support for archaeological curricula. The coordinator will initiate local programs and develop local resources tailored to have maximum impact in the state. Because major funding for the pilot project has been provided by United States government agencies, participation is limited to U.S. states and territories.

'Tis the season

This issue of the newsletter will reach you while the holiday season is in full swing. However you observe the holidays, I hope that your season is joyful and that your new year will be productive and satisfying. Happy holidays!

Ralph Johnson is executive director of SAA

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