Your Chance to Weigh In! NPS Revising U.S. World Heritage Tentative List

GovAffairsFor the first time in almost ten years, the National Park Service (NPS) is revising the Tentative List of nominees to the World Heritage List. Inclusion on the Tentative List is a necessary prerequisite to being nominated by the United States to the World Heritage List. NPS has asked US/ICOMOS to structure an Expert Consultation for the revisions to identify and prioritize themes in U.S. cultural resources that fill gaps identified in the World Heritage List. US/ICOMOS seeks inter-disciplinary input to insure inclusion of a wide variety of themes, such as the “archaeological sites or landscapes of global significance” theme. If you would like to participate, please register and respond to the survey here. You can join one or more moderated professional discussions, and follow the on-line discourse.

Management Challenges, Public Relations, and Professional Issues

Seattle 2015 Logo

This week we bring you another video recorded session from the 2015 SHA conference. This was a general session so the topics will be diverses. If you are interested in seeing more great archaeology presentations be sure to book your tickets to this year’s SHA conference in Washington DC.

 The presentations:

Urban Archaeology in the City of the Saints and the Growth of a Real Frontier City

Donald D. Southworth II

While archaeologist in the western United States survey wide open expanses for federal and state agencies, archaeology in the urban centers themselves are often ignored. The majority of city centers consist mostly of businesses and business is money. Archaeology in these districts cost time and money, so archaeology is almost never undertaken unless it is done for an agency that must follow established laws and regulations that include archaeology. The new United States Courthouse for the District of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah, presented just such an opportunity to conduct urban archaeology. The results of these excavations have highlighted contrasting interpretations of the accepted narrative history of the city, and the life style of its inhabitants. This paper presents some of the evidence for a reinterpretation.

Present in the Past: Environmental Archaeology and Public Policy

James G. Gibb

Eroding farmland, diminishing forest stocks, sediments choking navigable waterways….these are environmental changes wrought, at least in part, by human decisions and human actions. In the present, these are highly politicized issues, providing thin veils to debates about ideology. Exploring environmental changes in the distant past creates a safe place in which dialogue participants have little or no vested interest and ideology a less prominent role. Public dissemination of archaeological research into historic changes in the lands and waters of Southern Maryland, USA, specifically dealing with erosion and sedimentation, have a direct bearing on the current statewide “rain tax” debate. Research at the Port Tobacco townsite and the Sellman’s Connection plantation contribute to a scientific basis for public policy without direct reference to the politics of imposing a new tax to fund solutions to a centuries-old problem.

Digital Archaeological Data: An Examination Of Different Publishing Models

Mark Freeman

The open data movement, inter-site analysis, and the desire for public outreach are encouraging archaeologists to share data, as well as results. Yet the history of archaeological collections provides concerns about access and preservation that extend to managing digital assets. This paper will examine the availability of digital archaeological data in Virginia, based on a recent survey, and examine the strengths and weaknesses of different models of archaeological data publication.

Finding Successful Solutions for Environmental, Engineering, Cultural Resources, and Public Relations Challenges at the Presidio of San Francisco, California

Sean E McMurry

In 2012-2014, AMEC successfully balanced the needs of the National Park Service (NPS), the Presidio Trust, and regulators to preserve historic resources, maintain public relations, engineer safe and effective solutions, and address environmental concerns during remediation activities to remove contaminated soil at the Presidio of San Francisco, a NHLD and NRHP-listed property. For over 150 years, the Presidio, located near the Golden Gate Bridge, was used by the U.S. Army to protect San Francisco. Remedial activities removed approximately 14,800 cubic yards of contaminated soil. Working with NPS staff, AMEC archaeologists developed an archaeological monitoring, sampling, and excavation strategy that preserved archaeological resources while keeping the project on schedule and budget. The 32 features recovered included a buried 1870s ammunition magazine and large, intact 1870s and 1890s coastal defense battery features. This presentation discusses the challenges of working in an archaeological landscape and the innovative techniques used during remedial excavations.

Overwhelmed with Possibilities: A Model for Urban Heritage Tourism Development

Tristan J. Harrenstein

The city of Pensacola, FL has been attempting to create a heritage tourism industry for half a century but has never achieved the same level of success of some of the most notable destinations they were trying to emulate. This is, in part, due to a significant level of development in the historic district, much of which is now historic as well, combined with an impressively complex history concentrated in a relatively small area. If Pensacola, and any community in a similar situation, is to develop an effective heritage tourism program then a well organized plan is required. This paper presents a model for the development of an interpretive program which aims to provide the best possible results for the community, the tourist, and the archaeological resources.

The Best Kept Secrets in Archaeology: The numbers no one knows, but everyone talks about.

Doug Rocks-Macqueen

How many professional archaeologists are there? How much do they make? How many women are archaeologists? Where do they work? It has been 20 years since the data to answer these questions was gathered through a survey and published in the report The American Archaeologist: A Profile by Melinda A. Zeder. However, there has yet to be a follow up project. Our only profile of professional archaeologists is arguably out of date, significantly. This paper uses a variety of different data sources to build up a profile of current American archaeologists and what has happened in the intervening years. While it is not possible to replace such a large scale survey as the one undertaken 20 years ago, this paper will layout what we know, a current profile, and our gaps in knowledge.

New Articles from Technical Briefs in Historical Archaeology

Figure 2-4

Technical Briefs in Historical Archaeology has recently published several exciting and useful articles. Three are artifact studies, including a discussion of the origins of French faience based on stylistic and compositional data (Métreau and Rosen), an analysis of bottle contents with some surprising results (von Wandruszka et al.), and a case study of utilized glass analysis (Porter). At a larger scale, Thomas and Volanski offer a geochemical method of for identifying laundry washing sites. Three additional authors discuss innovative photography applications. Rivera’s article provides a primer on applying forensic photography techniques to archaeology collections. A two part article by Whitely introduces the use of drones in archaeology and methods for collecting video footage for site mapping. Finally, an article by Selden presents the uses of photogrammetry in grave marker recording.

Please also consider submitting an article to Technical Briefs. Technical Briefs is a peer-reviewed publication devoted to the fast dissemination of shorter specialized technical papers in historical archaeology, maritime archaeology, material culture technology, and materials conservation. Technical Briefs articles reach and international audience through the SHA webpage and provide free, open access to your ideas. At 3,000 words and with an average of four months from submission to publication, Technical Briefs also offers a relatively painless way to publish. Submission guidelines are available on the Technical Briefs webpage and inquiries can be sent to Ben Ford.

Cover image is an aerial view of Waddington Roadhouse, oblique angle. (Photo by Thomas G. Whitley, 2015.)

Autumn is here! #SHA2016 registration is near….

Good afternoon SHA members!

Autumn is here, and registration for #SHA2016 begins next week! Be sure to mark your calendars for next Thursday, October 1. For general #SHA2016 conference details, please follow this link.

 In addition, the #SHA2016 conference program is now posted! Please follow this link, to take a look. Please note that Symposium organizers may notice the names associated with the Introduction, Discussants and breaks in their session are not correct. These names will be updated in the program once the individuals who will be performing these roles register for the #SHA2016 Conference. Only individuals who are registered in ConfTool can be added to the program; it was necessary, therefore, to create “placeholders” to ensure that the timing for each session is correct.

Otherwise, as we get closer to #SHA2016, our blog posts will focus on conference related details as well as Washington, D.C. related information. Before we begin our next round of blog posts, however, we would like to hear from you. Is there anything specific you would like us to blog about, leading up to the conference? Is there anything you wished you knew beforehand, about previous conferences?

Please comment below this blog post with any thoughts- we’d love to hear from you.

Don’t forget to register for #SHA2016, next Thursday, October 1!

Courtesy of


Five Tips for Managing Your Time in Graduate School

by Theodor Maghrak
I’m often approached by fellow grad students asking me, simply, “How do you get it all
done?!” Throughout my graduate career, I’ve worked at least one job alongside school,
oftentimes without having a complete day off for the entire semester. A lot of us know
this situation, trying to avoid student loans at all costs by working ourselves to the bone.
Even with funding, it often seems like there just aren’t enough hours in the day to keep
up with our schoolwork, much less having a job and a social life. Here are few tips on
“getting it all done” in grad school that I’ve found useful, regardless of your particular
1. Be busy.
While it at first seems counter-intuitive, I have found that maintaining a full schedule actually helped me to develop excellent time management skills by force. While this isn’t an ideal situation in graduate school, it helped me to adhere to scheduling and make time for the important things. That brings us to the next point.
2. Make a schedule.
It’s elementary, and may sound a little juvenile, but regardless of how full your plate is, you should always have a schedule. Most of us go into the weekend with a long list of things that we have plenty of time to accomplish. But it’s far too easy to keep saying “I have all weekend,” or “I’ll get around to it,” or “I have plenty of time.” By Sunday evening, many of us will have accomplished nothing on that ever-growing to-do list. That being said, plan your day. Block out a specific hour or two for each task. This will eliminate the “I’ll get around to it” factor as we all get increasingly distracted by daily
life. For a lot of us, a calendar app, spreadsheet, or daily planner can accomplish this very well. For more visual people, there are lots of other great tools to organize just about all of your work like Trello.
3. Make time for yourself.
Working on the same principle, schedule time for yourself. Doing so makes a rigorously
planned day more bearable, but it will also help you to enjoy that time for yourself much
more fully. Without that time planned into a busy schedule, most of us would likely fall
behind and get backed up, overwhelmed by all the work. That would make a rigorous
schedule unbearable. Building in time for friends and self-preservation is key.
4. Don’t even consider incompletes as an option.
Let’s be honest. Many of us end up taking incompletes in graduate school courses
because of the sheer amount of work involved in any given semester. Lots of professors
will give them without much fuss, a pattern that can be unproductive at best. Knowing
that an incomplete is an option can make you ignore work for one or more courses while
focusing entirely on one or others. An incomplete will also add additional stress and
weight on your shoulders until you can finish that course, resulting in an even greater
backlog of work. While sometimes an incomplete is unavoidable, treat them as the last
resort they should be rather than a legitimate option.
5. Set writing goals.
While a schedule helps to organize your time, you should make sure to use your time
most efficiently. Whether you are writing a term paper,a conference presentation, an article, or your dissertation, explicit writing goals will help to move your work along in small, digestible chunks. In my undergraduate career, I always tried to write an entire paper in one sitting. While I could do this with some courses, I pushed other work to the side because I could not dedicate the consecutive hours to write the entire thing. Learning from this, I developed the skill to write in chunks in
graduate school. Try a daily goal of 3 pages, a weekly goal of 12, or a monthly goal of 30. Having a
concrete schedule and page goal will help to motivate you as you move deeper and deeper
into your own dissertation research. (For more tips on writing, check out this blog post). While I could mention a few more useful ideas, following these five guidelines should help you to get yourself and keep yourself on track. If you feel like you’re going under,don’t give up on the schedule. Maybe allot more time per task, smaller goals, or longer
breaks between tasks. Whatever works best for you, you’ll find it. We’re all in this together, and no one should feel like they’re alone on a sinking ship. Good luck!

New thematic issue of Historical Archaeology: Contemporary and Historical Archaeology of the North

49.3 Cover image compressed

The new issue of Historical Archaeology, 2015, Vol. 49, No. 3 is soon to be hot off the press. In this issue, guest editors, Jeff Oliver and Neil Curtis (University of Aberdeen), have assembled papers originally presented at the 2010 Contemporary and Historical Archaeology and Theory conference in Aberdeen (CHAT ‘north’), which brought scholars from both sides of the Atlantic to discuss and debate northern worlds in contemporary and historical Archaeology. Northern worlds have always suffered from stereotyping. Since the Enlightenment, north played the role of frontier of geographic knowledge and wilderness of harrowing and sublime proportions. The last century saw its diversification as a space of untapped resources, from fur and gold to oil and gas. In other historical moments, north figured large as a relational concept in the formulation of identities and mentalities, especially by those farther south. The papers in this special issue of Historical Archaeology move beyond the concept of the global north as a space on the map and instead consider how the ‘placing’ of the north and its diverse cultural geographies has been shaped historically through connections with others, notably through relations of exploration, mercantilism, colonialism, and capitalism.

This thematic issue of Historical Archaeology showcases the research of scholars from Europe and North America. It includes eight substantive papers, beginning with an essay contextualizing the creation of the Northern World followed by seven case studies examining on the contemporary and historical archaeology of Alaska, Iceland, Newfoundland, Northern Ireland, Orkney and Scandinavia. An introduction to the volume by Oliver and Curtis is freely available to download here: 1 HA49-3-OLIVER.

Here’s the complete list of articles:

  • Contemporary and Historical Archaeology of the North: An Introduction, by Jeff Oliver and Neil Curtis
  • Placing North, by Jeff Oliver and Neil Curtis
  • I Wish I was where I was when I was wishing I was here: Mentalities and Materialities in Contemporary and Historical Iceland, by Oscar Aldred
  • The Changing Lives of Women’s Knives: Ulus, Travel and Transformation, by Emily Button Kambic
  • Confronting Marginality in the North Atlantic: Archaeological and Historical Perspectives from the French Colony of Plaisance, Newfoundland, by Amanda Crompton
  • Time, Seasonality and Trade: Swedish/Finnish-Sami Interactions in Early Modern Lapland, by James Symonds, Timo Ylimaunu, Anna-Kaisa Salmi, Risto Nurmi, Titta Kallio-Seppa, Tiina Kuokkanen, Markku Kuorilehto, Annemari Tranberg
  • North/South Encounters at Sami Sacred Sites in Northern Finland, by Tiina Aikas and Anna-Kaisa Salmi
  • Memorials and Marching: Archaeological Insights into Segregation in Contemporary Northern Ireland, by Laura McAtackney
  • Northern Worldviews in Post-Medieval Orkney: Towards a More Holistic Approach to Later Landscapes, by Dan Lee

The West as an Edge: The SHA 2015 Plenary

Seattle 2015 LogoDoug Rocks-McQueen

At the 2015 SHA conference in Seattle, myself and the organising committee tried an experiment in video recording some of the panels and presentations. The goal is to share some of the remarkable research and thoughts that were presented at the conference with everyone who could not attend. Or maybe did attend but could not see every session/roundtable/presentation you wanted to because of conflicting schedules.  Over the coming weeks we will be posting the videos and discussion about many of the exciting topics filmed, from how to publish as a student to work/life issues in professional archaeology.

The first set of videos we would like to share with you are those from the plenary. The topic of the SHA 2015 Conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology plenary was ‘The West as an Edge: Defining and Exploring Current Approaches in Archaeology’. This explored the conference theme—boundary and periphery—and took the idea of “the west” in its myriad forms as its secondary theme. We hope you enjoy watching them discuss the topic as much as we did.

Symposium Chair: Carolyn White (University of Nevada, Reno)

Panelists: Chelsea Rose (Southern Oregon University)



James Delgado (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration)



Kelly Dixon (University of Montana)



Laurie Wilkie (University of California, Berkeley)



Margie Purser (Sonoma State University)



The Q & A.



If you like these videos be sure to check out this years conference, which is sure to be amazing. If you are interested in more conference videos be sure to check out Recording Archaeology and subscribe there to receive updates when more videos become available.

What to do when there’s no to do: The search for public dig alternatives

PEICBy: Melissa Timo

Developing new avenues of public archaeology is not always easy. Last year I highlighted my difficulties trying to connect a temporary or transplanted population to the archaeology of southwest Florida. By (tourist) season, I’ve made headway through persistence.  Thanks to some amazing partnerships with regional museums, public library systems, and National and Florida State Parks, Florida Public Archaeology Network (FPAN) and I have been able to reach a growing variety of people through lectures, children’s programming, tours, and heritage events. It’s supremely satisfying to chat with attendees who, even after 20 or more winters spent in the area, “didn’t even know ___.”

However, my elation grinds to a halt when they pose their inevitable follow up question: “Where can I help at a dig?” I am forced to admit that there aren’t any. We aren’t so lucky down here as wonderful St. Augustine where visitors might “stumble upon” an active, professional dig site. In fact, the number of field projects that have happened in my region’s five southwest Florida counties in the last four years couldn’t even fill up one hand. There are no regularly accessible labs either. A visitor might have to drive two or more hours to find a lab to visit or help out. How do I connect the people who’ve seen the lecture, read the panel, taken the tour, or visited the museum with an active, responsible way to do fieldwork nearby when no such opportunities exist locally? Fortunately, I don’t have to reinvent the wheel. FPAN already has two popular workshops that empower the engaged public with vital aspects of archaeological work that require no excavation or artifact removal.


The Cemetery Resource Protection Training (CRPT) workshop, recently awarded the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation’s 2015 Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Preservation Education/Media, teaches participants how to manage, maintain, and record human burials and historic cemeteries.  The Submerged Sites Education and Archaeological Stewardship (SSEAS) workshop teaches sport divers about submerged resources and how to monitor and record them scientifically.  In both cases attendees are furthered charged with the task with going out into the world and recording and reporting additional cemetery or submerged resources to the Florida Master Site File (FMSF). Using these successful workshops as models might be my ticket to investing the more eager members of the public to our local resources and the field of archaeology in new and unexpected ways.


SSEAS participants mapping.

 I think involving the public in the discourse of archaeology through a direct connection to the resources in the places they have been found is key. Public interest and hands-on participation create a bond that can lead to steps professionals don’t always get to: extensive advocacy, fundraising, the creation of watchdog groups, and lobbying. Plus, I’m not entirely sure the uninitiated public would be prepared for the difficulties of excavation under the hot south Florida sun anyway.

I am in the process of developing such a new workshop, but I need your help! So far, I’d like to discuss archaeological resource types and processes and highlight the laws that govern them. I’d like to teach participants basic pedestrian survey-style techniques as a way of identifying sites and recording archaeological remains for the FMSF. That way, under the supervision of archaeologists or resource managers, participants can help with the vital work of monitoring known (and sometimes infrequently visited) sites or add to/update the general knowledge of Florida’s resources without having to touch a shovel. Ideally, educated volunteers keeping a constant wary eye out for our resources by may relieve overtaxed resource managers of some of their burdens. I’d also like to include specific “modules” geared towards special interest groups.  One idea is to perhaps model a lesson after the cautiously and eloquently designed Archaeological Partnership Program intended to educate avocational metal detectorists. My goal test audience will be park or museum volunteers- those already operating under the supervision of senior staff –and the first workshop will occur late this fall.

As is a concern with all training workshops, I do not want this to become “How to Pot Hunt 101.” Do you think I’m on the right track for my no-digs predicament? What other hands-on, no-dig/ no-lab ways have you done active archaeology with the public? Do you have any suggestions for additional modules? Let me know!  If not, you’ll likely hear how I fared on my own next January in D.C.

SHA Mentoring Program

 by Jenna Coplin
Sponsored by the SHA’s Gender and Minority Affairs Committee and the Academic and Professional Training Committee.
The purpose of the Mentoring Program is to support diversity in historical archaeology, to strengthen the discipline and improve the SHA by facilitating full participation of all people. Your participation as a mentor or mentee will help to ensure that people with diverse perspectives are given equal opportunities to grow and develop as strong archaeological professionals. Any SHA member can participate by filling out an application here:
Make sure to include any particular goals you may have for participation so we can best pair you. We only share your contact information with your partner. All other information remains confidential.
How Mentoring Partnerships Work
Mentoring partnerships can take a variety of forms, and we encourage participants to create a partnership that works for them. Participants can be from any area of archaeology(academic, commercial practice, non-profits, etc.). Partners form relationships of trust based on communication and confidentiality. All types of partnerships benefit from clearly outlined goals and boundaries. Program staff can help you get started and offer support for building a stronger partnership
Students as Mentors
Mentoring is not just something for students – students can also be mentors. Students at all stages of the education process have much to offer one another, and can share aspects of academia only seen and experienced by them! Students can help each other negotiate administrative issues, find available resources, and develop collegial and scholarly skills. Being a mentor or mentee can develop important skills necessary for long-term success in
the discipline.
Potential Goals for your Partnership
All partnerships can help mentees to negotiate job/workplace/school stressors, whatever they may be. This includes issues related to race, gender, ability, etc. which are pervasive. Success in any area of archaeology requires a supportive and diverse environment; one that helps address challenges faced by all people at every stage of education and work life cycles. As a result, partners have an infinite number of productive goals to choose from and it may be difficult for some to decide. Specific goals exist in each area of archaeological
practice. Here are a few examples to help you get started.
Academic success
  • Engaging areas of interest (choosing courses, research directions)
  • Pursuing funding/support
  • Finding a field school/running a field school

Changes in academic status

  • Choosing a graduate school or post-doc program
  • Preparing for the job market
  • Preparing for Adjunct teaching- benefits and pitfalls

Participation in SHA

  • Understanding benefits of participation and how to get involved
  • Preparing presentations or organizing symposia
Participating in social events, networking, etc.
Work success
  • Developing skillsets for a career in cultural resource management or other area of archaeological practice.
  • Negotiating salaries and other workplace issues.
  • Finding the right publication venues
  • Preparing papers for submission; understanding style and writing guidelines
  • Navigating the peer-review process


Sign up
Joining the program is easier than ever. Follow this link
( and fill out the form. You will hear from the
program staff within a few weeks about next steps.
For more information, email

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