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Theme of the 62nd SAA Annual Meeting:

Celebrating National Commitments to Archaeology

David G. Anderson

At the 1997 Nashville annual meeting we propose to celebrate the triumphs and accomplishments of national archaeological programs in the Americas--that is, work conducted, sponsored, or mandated under national laws and policies. These programs reflect a national interest in and commitment to archaeology and historic preservation by citizens and governments, who in turn are increasingly interested in the results of archaeologists' explorations into the past. The various national programs that have emerged in recent decades have revitalized archaeology, and have changed our understanding of human achievement in many areas of the world, and over a wide range of time periods. By the 1997 meetings, for example, the National Historic Preservation Act will have been in place for 30 years in the United States, and it and complementary legislation have resulted in an unprecedented expansion in archaeological knowledge. There have been similar results in other countries, enriching our understanding of the past and of the importance of archaeology in revealing humanity's common heritage.

The program committee encourages the membership to think about this theme when submitting papers and sessions. Papers and symposia are encouraged that celebrate or critique the results of national commitments to archaeology, e.g., overviews of major field projects past and present; local, subregional, and regional syntheses of work accomplished; discussions of actual or potential problems resulting from political use of archaeological information; surveys of public involvement and public education; or explorations of ways in which various legally mandated programs and systems can be improved. The program committee would particularly like to see major synthetic statements about what we as a profession have accomplished as a result of national-level commitment and support, and how the work that has been done has advanced our understanding of major questions of concern to anthropology, such as settlement or culture change, agricultural origins, technological organization, gender roles, etc., using the full range of data that have been developed. Symposia are encouraged that bring together scholars from different countries and areas.

In advancing this theme for the Nashville meetings, the program committee of course does not intend to use the theme as a basis for reducing the diversity of topics presented and discussed at the annual meeting. The purpose of having a theme is not exclusionary--rather, it is to identify a topic of broad importance to the field of archaeology today, and to encourage members to consider submitting papers or developing sessions that relate in some way to the theme. This is consistent with the SAA's policy of making the annual meeting a free market of ideas. The annual meeting program arises from the diverse interests and accomplishments of the members, and the program in 1997 will continue to reflect such openness. In keeping with the trend of recent years, every effort will be made to incorporate the widest range and numbers of submissions; acceptance rates are expected to remain high.

Members are urged to contact the program chair, David G. Anderson (danderso@seac.fsu.edu), or members of the committee should they have any comments or questions. The program committee (as presently constituted) includes Jeffrey H. Altschul, Barbara Arroyo, Susan Terry Childs, John E. Clark, Laura Lee Junker, Allen McCartney, Mary Pohl, Kenneth E. Sassaman, James Savelle, Kevin E. Smith, Bonnie Whatley Styles, Joe Watkins, and Anne I. Woosley.

We look forward to seeing everyone in Nashville in 1997!

David G. Anderson is with the National Park Service.


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