Conference on "Renewing Our National Archaeological Program"
Bill Lipe and Chuck Redman
Table of Contents
Preface to the Preliminary Report
This preliminary report of the Tempe Conference on "Renewing Our National
Archaeological Program" is a slightly revised version of the draft report that
was produced in March 1995 following the conference. This draft was circulated
fairly widely by electronic means and in paper form at an open forum at the SAA
Annual Meeting in New Orleans.
In response to circulation of the draft preliminary report, a number of
letters, email messages, and verbal comments have been received by members of
the "renewing" task force. A summary of those comments is presented below,
following the preliminary report.
The next steps for the "renewing" task force will be to take these comments
into account, to prioritize the issues and recommendations, and to develop a
final report. The task force is also expected to propose specific actions that
the SAA, SOPA, and other archaeological organizations might take to see that
the report's primary recommendations are implemented.
Publicly mandated archaeology in the U.S. has achieved enormous success over
the past 25 years, working within a legal and regulatory framework largely
provided by sections 106 and 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act
(NHPA), the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (ARPA), state and local
laws, and most recently, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation
Act (NAGPRA). This framework forms the core of what we are calling a "national
archaeological program." This is not a program in the formal sense, and the
archaeology done under it articulates in various ways with historic
preservation, environmental protection, and academic training and research. The
various aspects of publicly mandated archaeology are interrelated, however, and
the human and financial resources currently being devoted to public archaeology
in the U.S. represent a significant national commitment to preserving,
managing, and interpreting the archaeological record.
As it has developed over the past 25 years, this program has changed the face
and practice of archaeology in the U.S. It has resulted in a great increase in
substantive knowledge, new research methods and management techniques, new
career paths, and new organizations that provide research and preservation
expertise. Those of us who were in the field before 1970 well remember how few
tools were available when economic development or other federal agency actions
posed threats to archaeological sites. From that perspective, today's treatment
of similar problems is a marvel of comprehensive attention to archaeological
values. Despite these successes, however, today is not a time to rest on our
laurels and remain unreflectively satisfied with "business as usual."
During the past year and a half, criticisms of aspects of the national
archaeological program have multiplied, and in some quarters, have grown more
strident. Currently, many new ideas for productive change are being discussed
by archaeologists themselves. Anyone who attended the May 1995 forum on
"Restructuring American Archaeology" at the SAA annual meeting in Minneapolis
or who has logged on recently to archaeologically oriented electronic mailing
lists is keenly aware of the extent and intensity of the debates going on
within the field of archaeology. And from outside our field, there have been
criticisms of the federal role in archaeology and historic preservation from
certain members of Congress, as well as from scattered voices in the private
sector, state and federal agencies, Indian tribes, and the larger historic
preservation community. During the past year and a half, an attempt to cut
funding for the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation nearly succeeded, the
archaeology grants program of the National Endowment for the Humanities was
suspended due to budget cuts, the Historic Preservation Fund was reduced, the
federal contribution to the National Trust for Historic Preservation was
halved, and most federal agencies saw declines in their allocations for
cultural resource programs.
It was in this context of internal and external calls for change that a small
conference on "Renewing Our National Archaeological Program" was organized by
the Society for American Archaeology (SAA) and the Society of Professional
Archeologists (SOPA) with support from the National Park Service. The
conference, which was held February 11-13, 1996, was hosted by the Department
of Anthropology at Arizona State University and co-chaired by Chuck Redman and
The participants were experienced in the major work environments present in
American archaeology today: Roger Anyon (Zuni Archaeological Program),
Catherine Cameron (University of Colorado--and formerly, the Advisory Council),
Don Fowler (University of Nevada-Reno, and past president, SAA), Edward
Friedman (Bureau of Reclamation), Tom Green (Arkansas Archeological Survey),
Bill Lees (Oklahoma Historical Society and president-elect, SOPA), Steve Lekson
(University of Colorado Museum), Bill Lipe (Washington State University and
president, SAA), Frank McManamon (National Park Service), Mike Moratto (Applied
EarthWorks), Charles Niquette (Cultural Resource Analysts, and president,
American Cultural Resources Association [ACRA]), Charles Redman (Arizona State
University), Lynne Sebastian (New Mexico Historic Preservation Division), Donna
Seifert (John Milner Associates, and past president, Society for Historical
Archaeology [SHA]), and Gary Stumpf (Bureau of Land Management). This group
continued after the conference as a task force, charged with receiving input
from archaeologists and other interested parties and preparing a final report
on the topics considered at the conference.
The goals of the conference were (1) to identify problems that hinder the
effectiveness of the national archaeological program and to suggest some ways
in which these problems could be remedied, (2) to promote further discussion of
problems and solutions within archaeology and related fields, and (3) to
encourage professional societies and other interest groups to press for changes
needed in the national archaeological program to make it better serve the
public interest. The conference was not intended to create a detailed
blueprint, but to recommend general directions for change. One useful model was
the work of the SAA Committee on Ethics in Archaeology, which has raised
archaeologists' consciousness about ethical problems by publishing background
papers and by developing a statement of general ethical principles that has
been adopted by SAA.
The "renewing" conference was intended to be an initial step in focusing debate
and discussion on current problems and their solutions. The next step was the
electronic circulation of a draft of the conference's preliminary report in a
number of venues. The task force also hosted an open forum at the SAA Annual
Meeting in New Orleans, where copies of the draft preliminary report were
circulated and the floor opened to discussion. The report was subsequently
published in the SOPA Newsletter, and the statement of issues and the
preliminary recommendations published below is little changed from this
version. Rather than attempt substantial revisions at this point, it seems more
reasonable to let the draft statement of issues and recommendations stand as
part of the preliminary report. The comments that have been received as a
result of circulating the draft preliminary report are summarized below, and
plans are being made to bring the task force together again to revisit the
issues and recommendations in light of the public discussion the report has
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Issues and Preliminary Recommendations
While recognizing that the national archaeological program is embedded in the
larger area of cultural resource management and overlaps with the related field
of historic preservation, the conferees came together as archaeologists and
focused primarily on issues that affect the field of archaeology and the
archaeological record. The conference organizers felt that at this stage it
would be too difficult to try to organize a meeting of all the interest groups
that influence publicly mandated archaeology.
There was general agreement that the primary social contribution of archaeology
is the information about past human history that can be provided by the
systematic study of the material remains of that history using appropriate
archaeological methods. Understanding the full range of past cultures also
contributes to understanding the diverse cultures of the present. From this
standpoint, the conservation and management of the archaeological record is
important in order to ensure that archaeological studies can continue to
provide society with new information about the human past. The conferees also
recognized, of course, that in addition to being sources of information,
archaeological sites and artifacts have a variety of meanings and values to
numerous groups in society, and they often evoke in visitors a direct sense of
connection with the past. Future archaeological study, therefore, is not the
sole basis for the conservation, management, and enjoyment of the
After an initial review of issues that might be considered, the group decided
to focus on five issues where there appeared to be problems or obstacles to
achieving a more efficient and effective national archaeological program. These
did not exhaust the list of issues concerning the participants, but it was
recognized that the scope of discussions had to be limited if anything was to
be achieved. Below is a condensed and preliminary summary of the issue areas
and the conference's recommendations.
Improving Implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act
The conferees felt that the concepts underlying Section 106 and its
implementing regulations are sound. The process established by Section 106 is
not intended to "stop the world" but allows historical values to be considered
in federal undertakings while projects proceed with minimal risk of litigation.
Although federal agencies have the primary responsibility for taking into
account the effects of their actions on historic properties, they do so under
rules promulgated by the Advisory Council for Historic Preservation and they
must consult with the state historic preservation officers (SHPOs). This
involvement of three parties provides necessary checks and balances.
Section 110 of the NHPA calls for the development by federal agencies of
comprehensive programs for the identification, evaluation, consideration during
project planning, protection, and management of significant historic
properties, including archaeological resources. Few agencies have been able to
develop such programs under Section 110, yet this kind of approach offers
flexibility and a broader view that is not afforded by the project-by-project
method usually applied in the Section 106 procedures.
Given this context, the conferees felt that Section 106 needs to be applied
more flexibly and with more focus on successful and timely outcomes, rather
than on formal process. To this end, they proposed the following
- To the extent possible, implementation of Section 106 should move away from a
case-by-case basis to more dependence on programmatic agreements crafted to
retain flexibility and public participation. The Advisory Council should
periodically review the implementation of such programmatic agreements.
- Because certain types of properties (e.g., extensive, low-density lithic
scatters) are not well addressed by the "standard" Section 106 process,
consideration should be given to creating different approaches where
- Federal agencies should assume the responsibilities and prerogatives mandated
by law and not delegate these to the SHPOs. The SHPOs and the Advisory Council
should allow agencies more flexibility to make decisions, but hold agencies
responsible for the outcomes of those decisions.
- Peer review should be employed more frequently, particularly with regard to
data-recovery plans for large undertakings, large-scale programmatic
agreements, and in certain cases where disputes have arisen.
Increasing Professional Knowledge and Expertise at all Levels of
Archaeological Resource Management
The conferees recognized that many of the problems experienced in the
national archaeological program were not failures of system or process, but of
judgment exercised by practitioners, whether they be resource managers,
regulators, or researchers. It was felt that increasing the professionalism of
personnel throughout the system would increase its effectiveness and
accountability. To this end, it was recommended that:
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- Training should be improved for archaeologists entering the CRM field,
whether as consultants, regulators, or resource managers. The knowledge,
skills, and abilities (KSA) required for these positions should be assessed,
and both academic and on-the-job training should be modified to ensure that
these KSA are effectively taught.
- Archaeologists need to achieve and be held accountable to appropriate
standards and qualifications. The secretary of the interior's professional
qualifications standards should apply to all personnel employed as professional
archaeologists by SHPOs and public agencies, the SOPA standards of research
performance and code of ethics should be endorsed by federal and state agencies
and professional societies, and both state and national archaeological
organizations should press for state-level certification of archaeologists.
Making Better Use of Existing Information in Decision Making about
It was recognized that information generated by the national
archaeological program often remains obscure and difficult to access. As a
result, costly decisions regarding survey, assessment, and impact mitigation
are often made without adequate consideration of the results of previous work.
The conferees proposed the following recommendations:
- Syntheses should be prepared at the state or regional level, and should focus
on the characteristics of the archaeological record and substantive results
useful in making decisions about National Register of Historic Places
eligibility and archaeological value. Such syntheses would also help
communicate the knowledge gained from public archaeology to archaeologists and
the broader public.
- Much greater attention needs to be paid to developing and integrating
state-of-the-art electronic databases.
- Syntheses and databases should be given a higher priority by federal
agencies, tribes, SHPOs, and the archaeological community. Representatives of
these groups should work together to produce and periodically revise these
products, and they should forcefully pursue additional funds for these
- Advisory panels of experienced archaeologists should regularly be employed by
resource managers at various levels to offer advice on project research designs
and strategies and otherwise assist in developing flexible, creative management
solutions. If funds are not available for the preparation of syntheses,
advisory panels can serve as sources of information about the results of
Improving the Dissemination of Information from Publicly Mandated
The conferees recognized that the national archaeological program has
produced an enormous amount of new information about the past, but that the
mechanisms for disseminating this information are only weakly developed. This
is a serious problem, because information about the past is a primary source of
archaeological value and hence underlies much of archaeological resource
management. As noted above, providing such information to the public is the
primary social justification for the practice of archaeology. It was
- A significantly greater share of funds going into the national archaeological
program should be devoted to providing direct public benefits, such as site
visits, museum displays, school education programs, and quality treatment of
synthesized archaeological results in print and visual media. Federal agencies,
the ACHP, tribes, SHPOs, consulting firms, and individual archaeologists must
modify existing practices--and regulations, if necessary--to provide greater
and more rapid public access to the results of public archaeology, and these
efforts should be coordinated at a state level.
- Technical "descriptive" reports should be reinvented so their results are
more accessible. Major reports must have concise introductory and summary
chapters separable from technical data presentations that can serve as readable
project summaries. Electronic means of disseminating technical data should be
explored as an alternative to presenting data in paper reports. The National
Archeological Database should receive greater use for recording and accessing
- Because discussion among professionals is an essential part of the process by
which archaeological knowledge becomes assimilated and validated, concise
reports presenting the results of major publicly mandated projects must be
circulated to the professional community and hence be subjected to formal and
informal peer review; agency practices need to be adjusted to encourage or
mandate such reporting.
Recognizing Multiple Interests in Archaeology and Archaeological
In addition to the information they can yield to archaeological
research, archaeological resources have heritage value to many groups within
American society, and management decisions about them may also have significant
economic implications for the users of other resources. The conferees felt that
certain problems in the national archaeological program can be traced to a lack
of understanding, by archaeologists, participants in the consulting process,
and resource managers, of the multiplicity of legitimate interests in
archaeology and archaeological resources and the extent to which federal law
requires that these interests be recognized. The participants therefore
- Regulators and managers dealing with archaeological resources need to
explicitly recognize that values other than archaeological information may
exist and proactively use Section 106 consultation, ARPA notification, NAGPRA
consultation, NEPA compliance, and other processes to identify multiple values
and bring their proponents together in an atmosphere of mutual understanding
and respect. Consultation must begin early enough to ensure that multiple
interests are adequately represented.
- Archaeologists must understand when they are providing information and views
as archaeologists (i.e., as specialists who extract certain kinds of
information from the archaeological record) and when they are functioning as
resource managers helping to represent multiple interests, as noted above.
- Archaeologists must recognize that considering multiple interests regarding
archaeological resources may constrain what can be done with these resources in
the name of research (or for other goals).
- Federal agencies, tribes, and SHPOs must use the full range of existing legal
and regulatory options more flexibly and creatively to assure recognition of
multiple interests in archaeological resources while permitting agency
undertakings to proceed in service of the broad national interest.
Translating Recommendations into Action
Although the "renewing" task force is not itself designed to serve as a
political action group, the conference participants hope that their work will
be a positive influence on the multiple and diffuse efforts to rethink and
renew our national archaeological program that are currently under way.
The preliminary report of the Tempe conference is being disseminated to raise
consciousness about the issues, largely within (but not confined to) the
archaeological profession, and to promote discussion of these issues and
possible solutions to the associated problems. The task force felt that a
reasonable consensus among archaeologists was possible on most of the problems
and potential solutions discussed at the conference. Most of the
recommendations developed by the task force are at this point stated in a very
generalized manner. Archaeologists, resource managers, and others participating
in the national archaeological program need to consider how and whether the
proposed solutions might work "on the ground," and provide feedback to the task
The "renewing" task force felt that many of the problems it identified were
amenable to solution by changes in practice, but that some might require
regulatory change. Whether amending existing laws would be desirable remained
an open question; most thought there should be greater efforts to apply the
laws more effectively. A number of mechanisms for promoting change in practice,
laws, and regulations are available at a variety of levels.
First, as has been noted, a number of organizations that participate in the
national archaeological program are engaged in redesigning and rethinking roles
and practice. Federal agencies are in the process of "reinventing" themselves,
and budgetary constraints are requiring them to accomplish the same functions
with less money. The SHPOs are under similar constraints. The Advisory Council
is in the process of revising its regulations governing Section 106. And
judging by the traffic on the ACRA list-server, many consulting archaeologists
are engaged in a reexamination of current practices. We hope that the
recommendations of the task force can be an important influence in the outcome
of these efforts to change.
Second, the major archaeological societies have some ability to promote
particular courses of action in Congress and within the federal agencies, often
in conjunction with other historic preservation groups. We hope that at least
some of the recommendations of the task force will be adopted as policy goals
by the major societies and that they will effectively promote these goals in
their contacts with Congress and the agencies.
Third, most states now have active professional archaeological councils or
similar groups. These organizations have the potential to be very effective at
the grassroots level, and many are in fact achieving this potential.
State-level groups are in the best position to work with SHPOs to promote
change, and can also be effective in influencing agencies and members of
Congress. These groups will also be key to any efforts to develop statewide
certification processes for professional archaeologists. Again it is hoped that
the reports of the task force and the discussions stemming from these reports
will help focus the change agendas of statewide archaeological organizations.
Bill Lipe is president of SAA and Chuck Redman was the chair of the Tempe
conference on "Renewing Our National Archaeological Program."
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Summary of Comments on the Draft Preliminary Report
A number of comments and responses to the draft preliminary report were
received after it was circulated electronically and in paper form at the SAA
annual meeting. Over 20 SAA members spoke from the floor at the open forum in
New Orleans. A number of people sent thoughtful critiques and suggestions to me
by mail or email, and several members of the task force weighed in with
additional perspectives, some derived from discussions with colleagues. In July
I was able to attend the meeting of the National Conference of State Historic
Preservation Officers in Duluth, Minn., where the preliminary report received
some attention. I would like to take this opportunity to thank all those who
took the trouble to respond to me and to other members of the task force
regarding the issues raised in the preliminary report.
Many comments indicated support of the "renewing" study and general agreement
with most of the recommendations made in the preliminary report. In my summary
below I have concentrated on those comments that provided criticism or
additional points of view. I have rarely used direct quotations in this
summary. Rather, I have attempted to synthesize the main points raised.
Probably not everyone who sent in comments will agree with my phrasing;
however, the approach I took seemed better to me than stringing together short
quotations taken out of the context of longer messages.
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- It will be difficult for SAA to promote real structural change from
within archaeology--too many professionals depend on the status quo, and are
reluctant to see any change in the present arrangements.
- Rather than presenting "solutions to problems," SAA should turn the more
negative problem discussions into positive goals that will create less
polarization and promote participation and support.
- Arriving at effective solutions to these problems will require more than
archaeologists talking to each other. Additional stakeholders, including
businesses, tribes, amateur archaeologists, and members of the general public,
need to be part of the process.
- The report largely ignores the deepening split between academic
archaeologists and those involved in resource management.
- The report has a "western public lands" bias; more input is needed from the
eastern U.S., especially with respect to doing publicly mandated archaeology on
private lands. Implementation of NHPA also poses somewhat different problems
for granting, permitting, and technical assistance agencies than for those
responsible for the public lands.
- A national archaeological program should be concerned with all types of
archaeological resources of each region of the U.S., not just those subject to
Section 106 review. On private lands, qualified avocational archaeologists are
often in the best position to conduct surveys and studies; they need
encouragement and support.
- We need to hear from the opponents of publicly mandated archaeology and
historic preservation and be prepared to take them seriously.
- Partnering with industry, states, local government, and tribes holds promise
for progress on most if not all the problems under discussion.
- We need to base restructuring on a good knowledge of what works and what does
not in all the areas under discussion.
- Archaeologists' responses to all of these issues is taking place within a
specific legislative, policy, and regulatory environment. We need more
archaeologists who understand this environment--especially at the federal
level--and who can be effective advocates for archaeology within it.
- We can't just keep adding activities and costs to publicly mandated and
funded programs. If we want to expand public involvement or the dissemination
of results, something else will have to be cut back.
- Some of the problems that are mentioned have been with us since the 1970s.
What is it about them that has been intractable? Most of the problems mentioned
require improving the existing system rather than revolutionary change.
Improving the Implementation of the National Historic Preservation Act
- Regulated industries are most concerned about delays and lack of
definitive closure in the Section 106 process. These issues must be addressed
in any reforms that are undertaken.
- Industry should have access to an effective and time-limited appeals process
regarding decisions made under Section 106.
- The Advisory Council must make a genuine effort to encourage more flexibility
and common sense in applying Section 106, rather than just giving lip service
to this goal.
- Changes in the Section 106 process must not unbalance the system so that
tribes, states, or various publics are excluded from commenting on specific
cases that concern them, or so that cases have to be revisited because these
groups were initially bypassed.
- We need to move away from an almost exclusive emphasis on Section 106
compliance toward more proactive agency programs under Section 110 of the NHPA
and to the production of more products for public and professional use.
- Serving the public interest is not something that can be tacked on at the end
by "disseminating information." We need to involve the public more at all
stages of Section 106 decision-making to ensure that the result is actually "in
the public interest."
- SHPOs and the Advisory Council need to get out of their current roles as
regulators and decision-makers and return to their roles as advisers to the
federal agencies. The Council should focus on programmatic issues and play a
mediating role for cases involving conflict and controversy.
- Checks and balances will continue to be needed in the Section 106 process to
ensure that poor decisions and poor work are rejected and as a defense against
political pressures on a single agency or SHPO.
- SAA should promote more simultaneous processing of projects pursuant to NEPA
rather than the traditional sequential processing that creates unnecessary
duplication, delays, and costs.
- Archaeologists should work more closely with architectural historians,
historians, and other preservation specialists so that the treatment of
archaeological sites is included within a larger historic preservation package
and is not considered something separate--either by archaeologists or by others
in the historic preservation field.
- More specific criteria should be developed for National Register eligibility
to eliminate many of the wasteful and unproductive studies now being done as
part of Section 106 compliance.
- We need to keep in mind that Section 106 is not designed to protect
archaeological sites, but to protect the public interest in these properties.
The public is not served when marginally important archaeological sites are
elevated to National Register status.
- Beware of shifting away from Section 106 compliance to reliance on programs
developed under Section 110; the latter have no regulatory checks and are
increasingly being cut back due to funding problems. Agencies have much greater
incentives to comply with Section 106 than with Section 110. It would be better
to focus on developing good programmatic agreements under Section 106.
- We need more flexibility to combine survey and testing or testing and data
recovery where it makes sense.
- We need to have more flexibility to incorporate volunteers and avocational
groups into Section 106 compliance activities. This would help to ensure that
these have wider public involvement and support.
- Programmatic agreements may look good on paper, but they do not work if some
of the parties do not meet their responsibilities or if there are no
independent checks on compliance.
- Regulators and managers need to have the timely and productive completion of
required work as their primary goal; specific procedures should be a means to
that end. Measures are needed to ensure that projects don't bog down because
permit applications, reports, etc. languish on desks for months or even years
at a time.
- The Advisory Council must move from a concern with process and control to one
that focuses on successful outcomes.
- Our experience has been that when agencies get autonomy, they tend to produce
lower quality, more poorly reported work done by less well-trained
non-professionals. Standards are required. Review by the Advisory Council and
SHPO as a check and balance works--be careful about doing away with it.
- In the case of many non-land-managing federal agencies, actions with great
potential for harm to historic properties are often delegated to state or local
agencies with little or no institutional preservation infrastructure. In such
cases, the SHPO's active participation--on either a case-by-case or
programmatic basis--becomes much more important.
- Federal agencies vary greatly in the extent to which their activities affect
archaeology and other historic properties, in their staff capabilities and
historic preservation procedures, and in their ability to control outcomes. We
should not expect a single remedy for improving the implementation of Section
106 to be effective across all agencies.
- For agencies that have qualified staff and procedures in place, the Advisory
Council and SHPOs should experiment with a more general level of oversight.
- Federal and state agencies need to prepare more detailed archaeological
resource management plans than they now do and set specific
heritage/archaeology priorities. Archaeology needs to be treated in agency
decision making on an equal footing with endangered species.
- There is great variability from state to state in how archaeological
identification and evaluation is carried out. There needs to be greater
standardization of practice on at least a regional level.
- Upgrading CRM sections of federal agency manuals will promote greater agency
accountability under programmatic agreements.
Increasing Professional Knowledge and Expertise at all Levels of
Archaeological Resource Management
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- Why is it that agencies expect fully professional training and
experience in other scientific fields, but not in archaeology? Is it because
archaeologists themselves are so resistant to the idea of professional
standards, certification, or licensing?
- Professional skills should include the ability to bring archaeology to the
general public or to work with people who can.
- Many of the problems in public archaeology are the result of inadequate
training and experience among CRM staff on the regulatory side of the field
(i.e., Advisory Council, SHPOs, federal agencies). Individuals in these
positions not only need academic training, but in-the-field experience in the
practical implementation of publicly mandated archaeology.
- SOPA (and the proposed ROPA) are unlikely to be successful in upgrading
professional performance unless they are changed to ensure that members have
met truly rigorous standards of professional training and experience. It is not
clear, however, that archaeology is a profession in the same sense as, for
example, engineering or community planning, and that rigorous qualifications
can readily be established.
- A good CRM text is needed, but the publishing industry probably won't support
one given the small classes that are involved. Federal agencies will need to
encourage the production of texts and other educational materials in the
context of agency-supported or partnered training courses.
- Texts and training need to be interdisciplinary and consider the role of
archaeology in agency ecosystem management programs.
- There needs to be a concerted effort to improve university training for
archaeologists so that it is more compatible with real-world employment
opportunities. Currently, the smaller regional universities are more likely to
be doing a good job of training than are the larger ones.
- More opportunities are needed for continuing education of archaeologists in
practical approaches to doing cultural resource management. SAA, federal
agencies, and educational institutions should form partnerships to offer such
- Having different certification procedures in the 50 states and nine
territories would cause problems. If we adopt certification, it should be at
the national level.
Making Better Use of Existing Information in Decision Making about
- Advisory panels are good in themselves, but they also can substitute
for syntheses and regional databases if these cannot be afforded.
- Advisory panels can function to preserve the status quo against needed
change. The question of who would appoint such panels and what their
responsibility would be needs additional discussion.
- By the time they are available for circulation, many syntheses are already
out of date and of limited use for planning and evaluation.
- Fuller public distribution of reports stemming from Section 106 compliance
can help address both this issue and the next one.
- How can we justify spending additional public funds on excavations when every
state has museums, repositories, etc. crammed with archaeological materials
collected and maintained at taxpayers' expense? University graduate programs
should be encouraged to use existing collections and "gray literature" reports
as a source of student projects, and state and federal agencies should consider
ways to promote study of such collections as part of their responsibilities in
- Much more attention needs to be paid to electronic means of assembling,
accessing, and disseminating archaeological literature. The ability of modern
archaeology to generate information has outstripped our ability to publish and
disseminate it in traditional site reports.
- High-quality predictive models can incorporate what has been learned and help
make the Section 106 process more cost efficient. Their development requires a
significant investment in time, money, information, and expertise, however.
Improving the Dissemination of Information from Publicly Mandated
- Consider "banking" some of the funds generated by Section 106
compliance to ensure that the information gained in publicly mandated
archaeology is publicly disseminated. Don't forget that scholarly articles are
often an important step on the way to reaching a broader audience.
- Who are "archaeology's many publics?" Why are they interested in archaeology?
We can't design better programs for reaching the public until we know more
about "the public."
- Educating K-12 teachers and students about the practice of archaeology and
about what archaeologists have learned about the past is non-project specific,
but it is a very cost-effective way to increase public understanding of
archaeology and public support for the protection of archaeological sites.
- In some parts of the country, a dependence on close working relationships
with amateur archaeologists once helped ensure public involvement in both
planning and dissemination of archaeological research. The bureaucratization of
the field has largely cut these former linkages.
- The incorporation of local oral histories into studies undertaken under
Section 106 often helps ensure public participation and support and results in
reports that are of public interest.
- Agency policies, as well as some provisions of ARPA and the NHPA, are
increasingly being used to discourage the effective dissemination of
information resulting from public archaeology. This is counter-productive and
violates the spirit of historic preservation legislation as well as the
Secretary of the Interior's Guidelines and Standards, which states that
"Results must be made available to the full range of potential users."
- The profession of archaeology needs to identify, encourage, and reward its
most effective public educators and spokespersons. We need a "Margaret Mead" of
American archaeology, who can apply archaeological knowledge to the "big
issues" of public concern and interest.
- Within each state, accessible regional repositories for the "gray literature"
being generated by CRM work are much needed.
- Archaeologists should form partnerships with professional writers and media
specialists to get their story to the public; archaeologists should not expect
to be able to "do it all" themselves.
- Communities should be made aware of the economic benefits of publicly
mandated archaeology, including potential contributions to tourism.
- The historic preservation system has been successful to the extent that the
loss of major historic landmarks is now rare. As a result, the public--and
legislatures--do not sense that historic properties are threatened. This needs
to be considered in designing public education programs.
- Stabilized or restored archaeological sites can play an extremely valuable
role in public understanding of archaeology.
- Although this section of the report emphasizes the research contributions of
archaeology, a greater emphasis on public benefits will probably mean less
emphasis on research as such. That is not necessarily bad in the larger scheme
- Big money is being spent on public archaeology, and those aspects that have a
research component should address big questions of concern to multiple
disciplines and to a broad public audience.
Recognizing Multiple Interests in Archaeology and Archaeological
Bill Lipe is president of SAA.
- Archaeologists need to recognize legitimate claims made by Native
Americans and other groups regarding the treatment of archaeological sites, but
they must also take responsibility for defining and defending the public value
of the knowledge that only archaeology can provide.
- Blanket claims by certain tribes that all or most archaeological sites are
Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs) are causing a number of problems.
Tribes, agency managers, and archaeologists need to work together to come up
with practical and balanced solutions for treating TCPs in the Section 106
process and in agency cultural resource management programs in general.
- Archaeologists need to stand up for intellectual freedom and to resist
attempts based on religion or narrow cultural interests to prohibit or censor
archaeological research and publication.
- Recognizing multiple interests is much more compatible with a
contextualizing, post-processual theoretical stance than with the late
processualism that dominates most public archaeology. Are archaeological
resource managers taking this into account?
- Balanced recognition of multiple interests will include the majority American
cultural tradition that is broadly derived from European sources, as well as
the more focused interests of tribal and ethnic groups.
- Archaeologists should be advocates for stewardship of the archaeological
record--including conservation, study, and interpretation. They should refrain
from advocacy on behalf of particular cultural, environmental, or economic
interests. Rather, they should maintain their professional focus, integrity,
and credibility while encouraging an atmosphere of mutual respect and trust
among all interested parties.
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