The 30th Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology was held at the Omni Bayfront Hotel in Corpus Christi, Texas from January 8-12, 1997. The Conference was hosted by Texas A&M University, the Institute of Nautical Archaeology, and Ships of Discovery. There were 363 formal papers (90 of those were underwater) organized into 51 symposia running in eight concurrent sessions. The Plenary Session, "A Year of Discovery: The Earliest Explorers and Colonies in the United States," highlighted the discovery/recognition of Charlesfort, a Coronado campsite, the first fort at St. Augustine, the first fort at Jamestown, and La Salle's ship La Belle. In addition to the formal presentations there were ten posters, four workshops, and two forums. Sixteen roundtable lunches were held on Thursday and Saturday.
There were 809 people registered at the conference (747 pre-registered, 62 on-site). Most of the registrants were from the U.S. (749), but registrants came from 18 other countries as well. Forty-six states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands had representatives at the Corpus Christi conference. After the U.S., Canada sent the most participants with 27 from six provinces.
There were a number of special events organized during the meeting. A reception for students was held on Wednesday evening. On Thursday evening about 300 attended a reception hosted by the Corpus Christi Museum of Science and History which featured food, drink, country music, and a wealth of interesting and informative exhibits. The conference banquet was held on Friday evening and was followed by the Awards Ceremony which recognized Pilar Luna Erreguerena, the Texas Historical Commission, and the Texas Archeological Society with Awards of Merit and the James Deetz with the J. C. Harrington Award. Following the banquet, the Austin Lounge Lizards provided their unique blend of bluegrass and humor until after midnight.