The Ethics of Historical Archaeology
Virtually all historical archaeologists are fascinated by seemingly prosaic things like ceramics, bones, and buttons…
Many SHA members realize that Parks Canada has recently been subjected to absolutely draconian cuts that risk crippling one of the world’s most influential stewards for cultural and natural heritage and historical archaeological research. Very few historical archaeology labs are not outfitted with a host of essential Parks Canada publications like Olive Jones and Catherine Sullivan’s Parks Canada Glass Glossary, Lynne Sussman’s The Wheat Pattern, its Archaeological Recording Manual, and many of the technical publications available on the SHA web page. In January, 2014 the SHA will hold its conference in Quebec City, so it is especially demoralizing to know that by the time we arrive most of Parks Canada’s archaeology staff will have been released. At the Quebec center, a team of 12 archaeologists was reduced to one; in Cornwall six of seven staff members were eliminated; and just one archaeologist will be responsible for the whole 120,000 km2 of the Canadian Arctic.
The SHA has written a letter to the Canadian Prime Minister joining our international colleagues including the Society for American Archaeology who have appealed to the Canadian government to reconsider the scope of these transformations in one of the world’s models for historic preservation, cultural heritage, and historic archaeology. Let’s hope that by the time we meet in Quebec in January, 2014 the Canadian government will reconsider the breadth and sweep of these changes.