Excavating Academic Professionalization

Rebecca S. Graff
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Lake Forest College, Lake Forest, Illinois, USA

In the American academic job market, it seems neoliberally optimistic if not willfully obtuse to suggest to graduate students and early career archaeologists that, if only they adjust some personal practices to become more professional, they will successfully find and retain employment. Structurally speaking, “professionalization” at this individual level will not alter the corporatizing of the academic job market, with up to 70% contingent faculty in a professoriate with deteriorating working conditions. It won’t impact a public sector whose existence is threatened by government agency closures and reviews of existing National Monuments and antiquities legislation. And it can’t resolve the issues surrounding what constitutes academic labor. That being said, there remain legitimate reasons to think seriously about professionalization.

In writing this post I reached out to colleagues in a variety of archaeological careers and stages (grad student, recent grad, postdoc, administrator, untenured T-T professor, etc.) to get their thoughts on professionalization. The pieces of advice that follow, grouped by theme, come from myself and from these women in my network, who generously took some time to think about lessons we learned. A couple of caveats: First, since professionalization can mean a variety of different things, note that many of the suggestions listed below treat professionalization as a social practice and a mindset associated with those practices and interactions. Second, these interactions are very personal and play out among intersecting gender, race, class, and (sub)disciplinary identities within these social institutions. Thus for me as an assistant professor of anthropology at a small liberal arts college, who has worked at larger R1 and R2 universities, including as an archivist in academic libraries, many but not all of the suggestions ring true. Take what you think will help you, and ignore the rest (another good thing to remember when people give you advice!).

Self-Identity/Creation of Public Self

  • Own your expertise. Say aloud what you are an expert in (use that word, it’s hard!), until it comes naturally. Imposter syndrome is real!
  • Please replace “in my dissertation” with “in my upcoming book, article, whatever” whenever possible (especially job talks!).
  • Learn from others, learn to work with others to achieve what you need, and learn to lead in a way that is effective and fulfilling for you.
  • Be an “ethnographer” and pay attention to the institutions you are interested in as well as the people who populate them.
  • Be observant: when you’re in a room of academics, watch the dynamics.
  • Consider how you might comport yourself professionally. I recall attending meetings as a grad student where others were clearly not paying attention—cleaning their wallets out, checking their phones, etc. People notice these actions and may negatively perceive them.
  • Remember to review and/or “curate” your presence on social media. Everyone checks this.
  • Sit on a difficult email for a bit before sending a response, and remember that all email is potentially public—you never know who else might read it.
  • In the classroom, it’s ok to insist on “Professor” or “Doctor.” I like this poem by Susan Harlan on the gendered dynamics of instructor naming conventions.

Work/Life “Balance”

  • Prioritize finding some kind of work-life balance. You’ll have more energy to be the best scholar/teacher/colleague you can be if you’ve recharged by doing something other than your job….Of course, that assumes that you don’t have to teach five courses a semester and hold a part-time job just to cover your rent, student loans, and day care.
  • Learn how to say no. As per the article I linked to [Epistemic Reproductive Labor and the “Academic Wife”], women end up doing a lot of uncredited work. Prioritize things that are important for your career/family. Never commit to things immediately; walk away and think about it for 24 hours.
  • Stop apologizing—for your family needs, tardy reply, whatever.
  • There is never a good time to have children.

Networking and Job Searches

  • Do attend and present at academic conferences, but stop putting panels together that are just you and your grad school friends. It’s important to use these opportunities to meet scholars from other institutions and organizations.
  • Never go over time in a job talk. The floor will open up and swallow you.
  • Never accept the first offer—i.e. always negotiate. Prioritize what’s most important to you (salary? start-up? spousal hire? etc.) and make the case for why this request is integral to your ability to be the best teacher-scholar you can be for that institution.

Clearly, this short blog post is not meant to fully summarize recent writings on the state of graduate student and early career academic professionalization. Further reflections and advice on academic professionalization can be found at Inside Higher Ed (see “5 Professional Skills”) and elsewhere, including those by the SHA’s Standing Committees in their blogs.

Thanks to all who answered my call for their professionalization advice. One of the most important reminders from one of these colleagues was how important these friendships are, especially in navigating this career. One friend wrote “I don’t know how to succeed in academia, but I do know how to enjoy it: surround yourself with colleagues and mentors you like and trust.” And another reminded all of us during our conversation, “Be kind—to yourself and to others.”

New Thematic Issue: Challenging Theories of Racism, Diaspora, and Agency in African America

Posted on behalf of William A. White, III and Chris Fennell, guest editors

We are delighted to introduce a new, thematic collection of articles in Historical Archaeology entitled “Challenging Theories of Racism, Diaspora, and Agency in African America.” The studies provide an engaging sample of the diversity of creative approaches to theory and interpretation in African diaspora archaeology. The authors critically examine competing theoretical approaches and apply their perspectives to African-American pasts revealed through evidence in built environments, material culture, embodied experiences, documentary accounts, and archaeological remains. Their focus spans geographies from the far northwest of the United States to the Caribbean, and from urban to rural and island settings across several centuries.

The majority of authors in this thematic issue are individuals from heritage groups that are underrepresented in our community of professionals. They represent an emerging generation of new scholarship by individuals who bring their lived experiences of related heritage and racial dynamics to bear on their analytic sensibilities. The insights of critical race theory promise a bright future for our field with this new wave of experiential and intellectual engagements. Researchers of European-American heritage work to provide contributions as well, engaging in intensive collaborations with members of descendant communities and colleagues who bring such historical sensibilities to the arena of interpretative challenges.

Following the introductory essay, “Navigating Intersections in African Diaspora Archaeology,” by Chris Fennell (open access online: http://rdcu.be/pr57) articles in the forthcoming issue include: 

* Where Tradition and Pragmatism Meet: African Diaspora Archaeology at the Crossroads–Anna S. Agbe-Davies

* Materialities of Homeplace–Annelise Morris

* Homesick Blues: Excavating Crooked Intimacies in Late Nineteenth- and Early Twentieth-Century Jook Joints–Jamie M. Arjona

* Cruise Ships, Community, and Collective Memory at Millars Plantation, Eleuthera, Bahamas–Whitney Battle-Baptiste

* Locating Marginalized Historical Narratives at Kingsley Plantation–Ayana Omilade Flewellen

* Imagining Conformity: Consumption and Homogeneity in the Postwar African American Suburbs–Paul R. Mullins

* Race and Agency in the Williamsburg Area’s Free African American Population from 1723 to 1830–Rebecca Schumann

* Access Denied: African Americans and Access to End-of-Life Care in Nineteenth-Century Washington, D.C.–Justin Dunnavant

* Writ on the Landscape: Racialization, Whiteness, and River Street–William A. White, III


This is also the first issue of Historical Archaeology published by Springer. You can view the articles here: https://link.springer.com/journal/41636/51/1/page/1. SHA members can access full text PDFs by logging in to the SHA website (www.sha.org) and navigating to the Historical Archaeology page where you can find a link to the Springer site.

Anti-Oppression Activities at SHA Annual Meeting in Fort Worth

by Laura Heath-Stout

Boston University Department of Archaeology


This year, I attended the SHA Annual Meeting for the first time. I came to Fort Worth because of my research; not to present it, but to conduct it! My dissertation focuses on diversity issues in archaeology, and the ways they affect the knowledge we produce about the human past. At the SHA conference, I observed and participated in a variety of events devoted to making our discipline more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming.

The Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC)

One of the first events I visited was the Gender and Minority Affairs Committee meeting. GMAC works on a variety of issues related to gender and race within the SHA, from ensuring that gender-neutral bathrooms are available at conferences to running anti-racism workshops to honoring especially diverse field-schools to setting up mentoring relationships for young archaeologists. One especially interesting development was the effort to reach out to Historically Black Colleges and Universities near Fort Worth to invite professors and students to our conference. GMAC is also working on a special issue of Historical Archaeology on minority issues, so keep your eyes peeled for that!

GMAC Anti-Racism Workshops

One of GMAC’s biggest projects over the last few years has been to offer anti-racism trainings at SHA annual meetings. As in previous years, trainers from Crossroads Antiracism Organizing and Training came to present their “Introduction to Systemic Racism” workshop on Saturday morning. In that workshop, each table wrote a six-word essay on why we must do anti-racist work as archaeologists. We wrote, “We can do better historical archaeology,” and “Collaboratively breaking patterned barriers with intention,” and “Lean back, let others lean in,” among others. Then, we discussed the ways that social institutions in the United States value white people over people of color, men over women, straight people over queer people, thin people over fat people, nondisabled people over disabled people, etc. After talking in general, we zoomed in to the specific: how does the SHA as an institution continue these oppressions? The conversation began with discussion of the orthodoxy of the SHA, the expense of coming to conferences, who is invited to symposia, and the scheduling of the conference.

The conversation continued on Sunday morning in the “Second Steps Anti-Racist Workshop,” where folks who had participated in the introductory training continued our educations. In this workshop, we primarily focused on the SHA, talking about where we stand on the road to becoming a truly multicultural organization. Then, we brainstormed ways to move forward: creating a sliding scale for conference fees, conducting outreach efforts to diverse institutions, livestreaming symposia so that people who cannot attend the conference can still participate, developing a more transparent culture about leadership and governance, and putting one person in charge of making our annual meeting accessible to people with disabilities. I hope that many of these changes will occur over the next few years, and that more people will attend the anti-racism trainings every annual meeting!

Intersectionality as Emancipatory Archaeology Symposium

Anti-oppression work was evident in the archaeological research being presented as well, especially in the symposium “Intersectionality as Emancipatory Archaeology.” With too many participants for a typical symposium slot, this symposium had two sessions on Friday morning and afternoon. It was organized by Stefan Woehlke, Megan Springate, and Suzanne Spencer-Wood, with Whitney Battle-Baptiste serving as discussant. In sixteen papers, a diverse group of scholars applied the idea of intersectionality to a wide variety of different archaeological contexts. The term intersectionality, coined by Black feminist legal scholar Kimberlé Crenshaw, refers to the way that systems of oppression like racism, patriarchy, and classism, interact with each other to create many different effects on people depending on their many identities. Symposium participants applied intersectionality theory to educating Washington, D.C., youth about archaeology (Alexandra Jones), the Pauli Murray Project (Colleen Betti), analysis of white women planters’ roles at Montpelier (Matthew Reeves), and Black women’s consumption patterns at a postbellum farm in Texas (Nedra Lee), among many other subjects. Intersectionality in archaeology is a hot topic right now: the SAA Annual Meeting in Vancouver this spring also featured a symposium on intersectionality issues.

Women in Diving and Archaeology: Past, Present, and Future

ACUA members took part in anti-oppression work too! On Thursday afternoon, Jessica Keller and Mary Connelly organized a forum with about fifteen women underwater archaeologists discussing their experiences of sexism and advice for young women in navigating the field. Although the panelists agreed that underwater archaeology is a male-dominated world, they argued that through hard work, building networks of women colleagues and mentors, and patience, the field can become more welcoming to everyone.


It was exciting to see so much anti-oppression work happening at the Society for Historical Archaeology meeting. I hope that all these efforts will continue, making archaeology a more diverse and equitable discipline.

Historic Preservation Advocacy Week –Advocating on Capitol Hill

Rebecca Allen (Environmental Science Associates),
Sara Mascia (Historical Perspectives, Inc.), and
Joe Joseph (New South Associates)

One of the few issues that Washington, DC-based politicians agree on across the aisle is that the history of the United States is important. Yet even with Democratic and Republican support, the Historic Preservation Fund and other legislation is in jeopardy. The HPF is funded by off-shore oil revenue, not taxes, and while Congress re-authorized the HPF at the end of 2016, it has yet to approve funding. The HPF provides funding for the State Historic Preservation Offices, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices, and historic preservation grants. These funds are critical to how architectural historical and archaeological projects across the country get reviewed. School House Rock’s catchy tune “I’m Just a Bill” didn’t teach us this: authorization is nice, but without the funds to back it, laws are nothing. And this is not a straightforward process. Neither is getting the Historic Tax Credit for architecture restorations reauthorized. These efforts need spokespeople.

During Preservation Advocacy Week on Capitol Hill, the authors represented the Society for Historical Archaeology and our respective companies. We spent the week of March 13 flying to Washington, DC, learning the bill numbers and the congressional lingo, discussing strategies for how to talk with legislators and their staffers, and getting tips on what to say to get beyond the receptionist’s desk. Preservation Action is the nation’s oldest grassroots historic preservation advocate (founded in 1974). PA organizes Advocacy Week every year, held in conjunction with the National Council of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO) annual meeting. Accompanied by other state delegates and SHPO staff, armed with our business cards, a congressional letter from the Historic Preservation Fund’s co-sponsors, and wide smiles, the authors opened about two dozen office doors of House Representatives and Senators.

View of the Capitol from Rayburn House Office Building (House of Representatives)

We learned that the halls of Congress are very long. House representatives are not in one building, but in three. Senators are in yet another three buildings. Washington, DC can be very cold in March (it snowed on us every day), House and Senate buildings are not next to one another, and although every building has nice views of the Capitol, Congress members and their aides walk in underground tunnels between office buildings and between offices and the Capitol, out of the cold and away from the public. Legislation is messy, many are shell shocked at the new administration (both sides of the aisle), but the best way to get heard is to show up in person. Constituents matter. Republican staffers respond best to discussions of the economic importance of heritage tourism. Democrat staffers respond best to representations of diversity, and the importance of history in education.

Our experiences were varied. For Rebecca, solely representing California, stating that she had traveled to DC from their home state got a “heads up” look from the receptionists of California representatives. Telling the receptionist that she was there to thank the Congressperson for their support of historic preservation got a smile and nod. Telling the person that she was an archaeologist got a conversation, and that she was as happy to talk with a staffer rather than directly with a congressperson got her four in-person meetings, and a dozen or so business cards of the right legislative staffer to email.

Rebecca Allen standing outside Tom McClintock’s (R-CA 4th District) office. Mr. McClintock is the representative of El Dorado County where she lives, and yet it was easier to get an in-person meeting with his Legislative Aide in Washington, DC than his office in Roseville, California. According to his Aide, Mr. McClintock obsessively watches the History Channel.

For Sara, New York has a very active SHPO office as well as several non-profit preservation groups. Representatives from each of these organizations participated in the Hill visits along with her. A representative from the NY Governor’s Office scheduled all of the meetings with congressional staffers from numerous districts over a period of three days and attended many of the meetings with the larger group. Sara traveled with a large delegation that split 10 of NY Congressional offices between them. Joe also traveled with a larger Georgia delegation, and visited nine offices for congressional appointments. We all learned to be succinct, have Congressional bill numbers at the ready, and have arguments well-honed and backed with figures. We were also able to share information about successful projects that had a direct and positive effect on the districts that they represent, and detail the number of individuals that are employed (directly and peripherally) in our field.

Getting support for environmental issues in Washington must be a concerted and consistent effort for the next several years. We need your help. SHA, ACRA, SAA, and AAA have banded together to form the Coalition for American Heritage (http://www.heritagecoalition.org/ or https://www.facebook.com/heritagecoalition/). The Coalition hired Cultural Heritage Partners as our advocate in Washington, DC. Sign up for email on critical legislation on the Coalition’s website. You can also become a member ($40/year) and track happenings on the Hill at Preservation Action (http://www.preservationaction.org). Contribute to either or both. Proposed changes to environmental legislation and death by defunding or non-funding are coming fast and furious. Petitions and protests matter. Media articles and interviews matter. Emails and phone calls matter, but snail mail gets lost in the still-testing-for-anthrax ringer (send an email or better yet, call, instead).

What matters most? According to Javier Gamboa, Nanette Barragan’s (D-CA 44th District) Legislative Director, “Talking with your feet is important. When someone comes here all the way from [each state], we listen. Lobbyists are good, but having constituents in front of us is even better. Genuine and passionate people like you connect us directly to the issues at hand. It’s important. It lets us know what matters, and what is happening in [our home states].” As unique as it is visiting the DC offices of your congressperson, the opportunity is not only for those who can travel to our Nation’s Capital. Each of your Representatives and Senators has offices in their home district. It is just as important to take some time and visit them there when Congress in not in session. Remember to always bring your business card and some printed information to leave with the staff or your actual Congressperson when you go.

There is a “Dear Colleague” letter circulating Congress and asking for support for the HPF. Please email, call, or visit your state House Representatives and Senators, and ask them to sign-on to the HPF Dear Colleague Letter. The Dear Colleague letter closes on March 30th, so please contact your Congressional representatives now.

Thank you!

SHA @ March for Science

I am happy to announce that the SHA has signed on as a partner organization for the upcoming March for Science, to be held in Washington DC and many other locations across the United States on April 22, 2017.

The March for Science is a gathering of people concerned that scientific knowledge and the scientific process has come under attack and who want to have their voices heard by the new administration and congress.

The organizers and steering committee of the march come from varied fields in the sciences, including social sciences, as well as science education and journalism. They include Valorie Aquino, an archaeologist! SHA is excited to join with several other scientific organizations such as the American Anthropological Association, Sigma Xi, Earth Day Network, Union of Concerned Scientists, American Association of University Professors, and many others in supporting this important action for justice and evidence-based policies.

Here is the mission statement of the March for Science:

The March for Science champions robustly funded and publicly communicated science as a pillar of human freedom and prosperity. We unite as a diverse, nonpartisan group to call for science that upholds the common good and for political leaders and policy makers to enact evidence based policies in the public interest.

You can learn more at the March website here:  https://www.marchforscience.com/

I have also set up a new Facebook group: SHA @ March for Science. Please join the group to keep up to date with the SHA’s role in the march and to find other historical archaeologists near you can march with!

Regional Introductions in Historical Archaeology

Readers of Historical Archaeology have certainly noticed the two shorter articles that open up the latest  issue of the journal (Vol 50.4). These are the articles on “Toward a South Asian Historical Archaeology” by Brian C. Wilson and Mark W. Hauser and “Historical Archaeology and Heritage in the Middle East: A Preliminary Overview” by Alasdair Brooks and Ruth Young. These are the first in a new series of articles in the journal of regional overview essays. Two more articles in the series are in the works and are slated to appear in the journal this year. These will be essays on eastern Africa by Jonathan Walz and southeast Asia by John Miksic.

I started this series in an effort to let readers know about historical archaeology being done in regions not typically represented in the journal and to bring greater awareness of Historical Archaeology and the SHA to researchers working there. I was inspired this by our discipline’s commitment to a global understanding of the modern era as well as our new publishing partnership with Springer, which will be giving us much greater worldwide exposure.

Obviously, it is a big world and there are many regions where historical archaeology is making excellent contribution outside of SHA’s traditional Americanist focus. If you are interested in contributing an article on recent research in your region of interest or would recommend a potential author for the series, please let me know!

Chris Matthews, editor

Historical Archaeology


Roundtable Luncheons at the 2017 SHA Annual Conference – Fort Worth, Texas | January 4-7, 2017

Hi there, everyone. Mason here. I’ve pulled down all of the Christmas lights and boxed up the tree so it’s time to roll up my sleeves and get ready for this year’s annual conference. Though I’m hoping you know the particulars by now, just in case, the 2017 Annual SHA Conference (the 50th Anniversary, mind you!) will be this week in Fort Worth, Texas (January 4th-7th, 2017). Head on over to the Omni in downtown Fort Worth this Wednesday and have some fun while you learn a thing or two.

I know I’m a bit late – but not too late – to talk about Roundtable Luncheons. There are nine different lunches between the proceedings on Thursday and Friday. All roundtable luncheons will cost $30. They are scheduled from 12:00 p.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Omni Fort Worth Hotel, Stockyards 1. Several of them certainly caught my eye.

On Thursday, January 5th, the first session that resonates with me in particular is the “Jobs in Nautical Archaeology” session. I’m going to confess something: 15 years ago when I graduated from the Nautical Archaeology program at Texas A&M University I truly thought that people would be beating down my door offering me a job. Boy, was I wrong! It’s tough out there and I didn’t know the first thing on where to go, who to talk to, or how to have success in the industry! Benefit from my painfully embarrassing naivete, people! Talk with Paul Johnston of the Smithsonian Institution about the different avenues for careers in nautical archaeology and get a leg up on the competition.

Publishing helps a lot, that’s for sure! Come and attend the “Publishing Opportunities for my Research” roundtable on Thursday or the “SHA Publishing Opportunities for Students” roundtable on Friday to see where your research and your ideas can best get out to your colleagues and the public at large.

Once you’re in the “biz,” communication is one of the most essential tools (if not THE MOST) in your toolbelt. The session, “The Language of Advocacy” looks like a goody. Working in CRM, I am constantly talking with government employees and private companies who are weighing my findings against finite budgets. I’ve done my best in navigating these waters successfully, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a better way to go about it. This session seems like it could be a great learning opportunity.

Another notable roundtable follows a different track: “Marketing Heritage Tourism: Examples from the San Antonio Mission World Heritage Site and the Rio Grande Valley Civil War Trail.” A lot of us archaeologists are advocates for the resources with which we work. Heritage tourism is a relatively new solution to the continued problem of funding archaeological preservation and research. Look into it while you’re having your lunch!

On Friday, the roundtables continue. Much like the session on Thursday, the “Careers in CRM and Academia” is one from which I really would have benefited in my latter days of grad school and early days in the job market. It’s a chance to sit down with professionals who have cultivated a career and learn the ins and outs of an insider. I also have a personal interest in public engagement. I’m looking forward to potentially sitting down with Ms. Sara Ayers-Rigsby to talk about new ideas to grab the public’s attention and keep it. After all, they have the potential to be very strong advocates for the work that you do. Look into “Innovative Approaches to Public Engagement and Archaeology” if you’re hoping to excite and invigorate the general public about your site.

If curation is your thing, by all means, you should sit down with Sara Rivers-Cofield and Leigh Anne Ellison to talk about your concerns over long-term care of artifacts, documents, and general data. With the Center of Digital Antiquity being one of the participants, there’s little doubt that you’ll learn something new regarding curation technology. And last (but not least), there’s “Archaeology of Submerged Landscapes: New Directions for Underwater Research.” This roundtable will give the participant to look at bigger picture topics surrounding underwater research such as historic water level fluctuations and their impacts on human occupation. New and interesting stuff!

Ya’ gotta eat lunch anyway. Why not grab some food and talk shop with some innovators and experts in the industry.

50 year SHA online exhibit

In recognition of the 50th anniversary meeting of the SHA – to be held this week in Fort Worth, TX – the History Committee of the SHA is building an online exhibit celebrating 50 years of SHA. Check out all program covers from the past 50 years and an interactive map of past meeting locations: https://sha.org/online-exhibits/exhibits/show/fifty-years-of-sha

Throughout 2017, we will be adding a variety of materials, including photos from each meeting, video and audio recordings, and resources related to the founding of the society in 1967.

To ensure as wide a representation as possible of past SHA meetings, we will be reaching out for digital photo or scanned submissions, all of which will be preserved in a digital SHA history archive. To make a submission, please email sha50years@gmail.com.

There will be a variety of SHA 50th anniversary materials available at the meeting, including a commemorative publication recognizing Harrington Medal and Rupee Award recipients and a poster featuring all 50 annual meeting program covers.

See you in Forth Worth!

SHA Meet a Member: Ben Ford

Ben Ford teaches at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

Archaeology Questions

What’s the most interesting artifact you’ve ever found?

I am very fond of the coffee grinder and coffee beans that were recovered from the Mardi Gras Shipwreck. The Mardi Gras Shipwreck is the remains of a circa 1815 vessel located 4000 feet beneath the surface of the Gulf of Mexico. This was the time when America’s caffeine addiction was shifting from tea to coffee because of ongoing hostilities with Britain and the ready availability of coffee from South America. Finding the coffee grinder on a ship lost between North and South America during this period of transition is a good example of how archaeology can make us reconsider the mundane. However, I can’t claim to have found this artifact. I was only one of more than 30 archaeologists, remotely operated vehicle pilots, crew members, ship captains, conservators, and others who were involved in recovering the artifact…but I still really like that coffee grinder.

Who influenced your decision to become an archaeologist?

I honestly, don’t remember who exactly influenced me to become an archaeologist, but I have the uncomfortable feeling that he might have had a whip and scar on his chin. On the other hand, I can say with certainty that Kent Vickery (University of Cincinnati) and John R. White (Youngstown University) influenced me to stay with anthropology and archaeology. They both showed me how much we can learn from the leavings of the past and how much fun it can be. I model many of my interactions with students on the way that Vickery treated me.

What is the first site you worked on? What is the last one (or current one)?

My first real archaeological experience was at the Stubbs Earthworks Site in Warren County, Ohio. I learned a lot there, including that sometimes features are only distinguishable by texture and that an experienced excavator with one arm is far more valuable than a zealous 18-year old (me). I’m currently working on three sites: I’m working with avocational archaeologists to record the remains of what appears to be the wreck of Durham boat in Lake Oneida. Students and I are also conducting a geophysical survey outside of a Revolutionary War fort on an island in the St. Lawrence River. Closer to home in Pennsylvania, I have a long-term project at the Revolutionary War era site of Hanna’s Town where we are doing targeted excavations and grappling with a rich collection that goes back four decades.

What did you want to be when you grew up?

This. There was a brief period when I wanted to be a lumberjack, but I settled on archaeology pretty early…even if I didn’t know exactly what it was. I was lucky that, while archaeology didn’t meet my teenage expectations, the combination of physical and mental exertion appealed to me. It doesn’t hurt that being an archaeologist is better than having a real job.

SHA Questions

Why are you a member of SHA?

I am an SHA member because this is the only US organization that represents my interests as a maritime and historical archaeologist. The organization supports what I do by disseminating information and advocating for cultural resources, so I support what it does by being a member.

At what point in your career did you first join SHA?

I joined SHA during my first year of graduate school.

How many years have you been a member (approximately)?

I’ve been a member for 16 years.

Which article from Historical Archaeology has been the most influential to you?

I was influenced by Charles Cheek’s “Massachusetts Bay Foodways: Regional and Class Influences.” I liked that it answered large-scale questions using data collected from CRM excavations.

Which benefit of belonging to SHA do you find the most beneficial?

The journal on a day-to-day basis and the conference as a special treat. I almost always leave the annual conference energized about the potential for historical and underwater archaeology, but it is the journal that carries me through the year once the excitement of the annual meetings fades. I use the journal weekly in my research and teaching.

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