Meet a Member: Paul Avery

Over the coming months, we’ll be bringing you entertaining interviews with a diverse array of your fellow SHA members.  Meet a member for the first time or learn something about a colleague that you never knew before.  This blog series also offers current members an opportunity to share their thoughts on why SHA membership is important (Camaraderie? Professional service? Exchange of ideas in conference rooms and beyond?  You tell us!). If you would like to be an interviewee, please email the Membership Committee Social Media Liaisons Eleanor Breen (ebreen@mountvernon.org) or Kim Pyszka (kpyszka@aum.edu).

An Interview with Paul Avery, Principal Investigator, Cultural Resource Analysts, Inc.

Who influenced your decision to become an archaeologist?

I have had many influences through the years.  The first was a gentleman named Ed Reed, who was the Superintendent of the New Echota State Historic Site in Calhoun, Georgia where I grew up.  He was a family friend and spent a lot of time showing me the place.  My first actual exposure to archaeology was at Jacksonville State University where I did my field school.  It was run by Chris Hill, who was a fine teacher and became a good friend.  He and I spent many days in the lab discussing the science and business of archaeology.  But I would say that the biggest influence on my career was Charles Faulkner at the University of Tennessee.  He was my thesis committee chair and he remains someone that I turn to if I get stuck on something.  And I can’t leave out Pat Garrow, who I have worked with for several years.  He has taught me an amazing amount about the business of archaeology as well as technical aspects.

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

The first site that I worked on was called the Blue Hole Site in Calhoun County, Alabama.  I can’t recall the site number.  It was a Woodland and Mississippian village site located in a pasture next to a deep spring, or blue hole.  That was Jacksonville State’s field school in May, 1989.  Currently, I’m working on a data recovery at the Perry House (40KN275) in Knox County, Tennessee.  This site was the location of a two story log home built in 1799.  It was built by George Perry, who owned as many as 17 slaves at one time.  We are in the process of excavating several cellars that likely mark the locations of slave cabins, the kitchen cellar, two privies, and numerous other features.  The artifact collection is remarkable, with a wide variety of early 19th century decorated ceramics.  It is very exciting!

Fieldwork or labwork?

Fieldwork, any time!

If you could go back in time for only 10 seconds – where, when, and why? 

December 1864 at the Florence Stockade in Florence, South Carolina.  After directing excavations there in 2006, I have been continuing to research the site.  There are many questions that could be answered in that 10 seconds that may never be answered any other way!

Why are you a member of SHA?

Membership in the Society is important for the professional historical archaeologist as it gives you access to information on current projects that just wouldn’t be available any other way.  It connects you with other professionals and allows for an exchange of information that is critical to improving yourself as an archaeologist.

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

I joined as a graduate student.

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

15 years

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

Access to the lessons learned by my peers through the journal is probably the most beneficial aspect of membership.  That and the exchange of ideas that takes place at the conference provide an excellent opportunity to continue learning about the science of archaeology.

SHA Storms the Hill!

The government affairs update in May included a long list of issues being pursued and monitored by SHA and its government relations counsel Cultural Heritage Partners. To ensure that key members of Congress know about SHA and its priorities, President Charlie Ewen, President-Elect Joe Joseph, and Eden Burgess of Cultural Heritage Partners went to the Hill for a full day of meetings on June 20. The group visited six Congressional offices to discuss National Science Foundation funding and the FIRST Act, the Military LAND Act, MAP-21 reauthorization, and the value of archaeological research and education. Check out Charlie in front of the Capitol!

As a follow-up, the SHA board plans to schedule a webinar, hosted by Cultural Heritage Partners, on Tuesday, July 22 at noon ET to prepare members for SHA’s first annual Invite Your Lawmakers Day. Congress members typically spend the August recess (August 2 to September 7) in their home states and districts, providing the perfect opportunity for visits to your projects. SHA will be encouraging its members to invite local, state and federal lawmakers –  and the press – to visit nearby sites and digs and learn why archaeology matters. SHA’s Invite Your Lawmakers Day is tentatively set for August 20, 2014  (confirmation forthcoming).

Please watch for an invitation to the Cultural Heritage Partners webinar, and for announcements for SHA’s Invite Your Lawmakers Day. Contact Eden Burgess with any questions in the meantime – eden@culturalheritagepartners.com or 703-965-5380.

SHA 2015: Seattle, Washington

The City: “The Emerald City,” “Jet City,” and “The Rainy City”

Located in the Pacific Northwest in the shadow of the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, Seattle is the 15th largest metropolitan area in the US and the fastest growing metro in the US. The city, as it’s often referred to by locals, has a number of nicknames, “The emerald city” because of the lush evergreen forests in the area, “Jet city” through the local influence of Boeing, and “The rainy city,” because it does a rain a lot in Seattle and is often overcast, but many cities in the Northeast, Ohio, and Michigan average about the same number of sunless days.

The Weather: Everyone’s Favorite Love-Hate Relationship

Last year from January 6th to January 12th, 2013 the temperature ranged from 55F/13C to 37F/3C (highs) and 42F/6C to 26F/-3C (lows) with no snow and 1.75 inches/4.45 cm of rain over the course of the week. The previous year from January 8th to January 14th, 2012 the temperature ranged from 50F/10C to 41F/5C (highs) and 39F/4C to 27F/-3 (lows) with no snow and 0.35 inches/0.89 cm of rain over the course of the week.

The Conference Hotel: Sheraton Seattle Hotel

This year’s conference will take place at the Sheraton Seattle hotel (1400 Sixth Ave, Seattle, WA). The hotel is located at the corner of 6th and Pike St., in the heart of downtown Seattle’s central business district. All of the conference sessions, plenary, meetings, and banquet will take place at the hotel. Off-site events at a variety of unique venues are being planned, most notably the Burke Museum at the University of Washington, whose annual public “Archaeology Day” will take place during the conference this year, and the Museum of History and Industry/Center for Wooden Boats, located on the lakefront at the south end of Lake Union.

The hotel is located within two blocks of premium shopping at two malls, the flag ship Nordstroms (5th and Pine St.), numerous fast food and gourmet establishments (and bars), and the hotel is within one to two blocks of four Starbucks. If Starbucks is not your first choice there are a number of local coffee shops, all with a few block radius of the hotel. As the venue is in the heart of Seattle, the area has a wide array of events, museums, and attractions to see, including the iconic Pike Place market (1st and Pike St.) which is only six blocks from the conference hotel.

The SHA has special rate of $129.00 (plus a 15.60% tax per room/night and a $2.00 per room/night tourism fee) for a single/double occupancy room (online booking code will be available soon). A $20 fee per room/night will be added for a rollaway (if desired) and a $20 fee for additional adults above two. Suites are also available at a conference rate of $350 (plus tax and fee) per room/night. For additional information please visit: http://www.starwoodhotels.com/sheraton/property/overview/index.html?propertyID=460

There are a number of hotels within a mile radius of the conference hotel, if the limited number of rooms at the conference hotel are filled an overflow hotel may become available.

Traveling to the City: Planes, Trains, and Automobiles

Traveling to and from Seattle by air, train, and car is quite easy. The Seattle-Tacoma International Airport or Sea-Tac (SEA airport code) is the 16th busiest airport in the US and boasts of the world’s largest parking structure with over 13,000 parking spaces under one roof. The top 5 carriers into Sea-Tac are Alaskan, Horizon, Delta, Southwest, and United Airlines, but the airport has flights from over 20 airlines.

The easiest and cheapest way to get to the hotel from the airport is to take the Central Link Light Rail. The service runs from 5am to 1am Monday through Saturday and 6am to Midnight on Sundays. The trip from the airport to downtown (below Westlake Mall at 4th and Pine; 2 blocks away from the hotel) will take approximately 37 minutes and cost $2.75 each way. The trains run every 7.5 to 15 minutes depending upon what time of day. (http://www.soundtransit.org/schedules/central-link-light-rail)

If you prefer a taxi service the trip can cost $40-$50, with some hotel to the airport services for $40 and may take 25-30 minutes without traffic.

For travel around the city, the “Metro” public bus system operates throughout Seattle and King County, and is one of the most extensive and highly-praised in the nation. To find a route, maps, and fare information visit Metro online at (www.metro.kingcounty.gov).

There is a scheduled bus service to downtown Vancouver, Canada, through Quick Shuttle, with stops in downtown Seattle, Bellingham International Airport, the Canadian–U.S. border, and at the Vancouver International Airport (www.quickcoach.com).

If flying isn’t an option or you’re worried about the weather, the train is another option. Amtrak offers a number of trains running from Chicago, Los Angeles, Portland, OR, and Vancouver, BC and all across the west coast of the US. (http://www.amtrak.com/home)

If you choose to drive to the conference, Seattle is the beginning or the end (depending on which way you’re traveling) of Interstate 90 which connects to Interstate 5 which runs through the heart of the city with numerous downtown exits. However, parking downtown and at the hotel ($46 a day) can be very expensive and hard to find. Luckily if you choose to drive you can park at the Sea-Tac airport for cheaper (<$20 a day) and take the light rail for $2.75 each way.

Throughout this summer and fall, the SHA website, blog, Twitter, and Facebook page will be updated with information about local attractions, restaurants in the area, and updates on the conference including the preliminary program, call for volunteers, reminders for the ACUA photo contest, and much more! Don’t forget the deadline for papers and posters is Thursday July 10, 2014! http://sha.org/index.php/view/page/annual_meetings

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