About Terry Brock

Terry is a PhD Candidate at MIchigan State University, and is currently conducting his dissertation research at Historic St. Mary's City in Southern Maryland. He is currently the Chair of SHA's Technology Social Media Subcommittee. You can visit his personal blog at Dirt or read his posts at the Inside Higher Ed Blog Gradhacker.

#WhyArchMatters: What You’re Saying

Last week, we launched our first-ever online petition to send a message to US Representatives Eric Cantor and Lamar Smith to continue supporting publicly funded archaeology. This has been part of a month-long effort to raise awareness about their threats to the National Science Foundation’s (NSF) support of social science research, in particular their opposition to archaeological research.

You can sign the petition here.

As of Sunday morning, we have reached our first goal of 500 signatures. The response from the archaeological community has been overwhelming. But we want more: we’ve set a new goal of 1,000 signatures. To reach this goal, we need more than your signature, we need your help to communicate the importance of publicy funded archaeology to people outside the archaeological community. Here are some ways you can help:

  1. Share the petition on social media with your friends and colleagues. Be sure to tell them why archaeology is important to you and our country.
  2. Share the petition with the other archaeological organizations that you belong to, large and small, and encourage them to share it with their membership.
  3. Include a link to the petition in your newsletters or emails to the members of the general public who support your museums, historical societies, avocational groups, or archaeological organization. Tell them why publicly funded archaeology is important to the work that your organization does, and request their support.
  4. Email this to your family members, asking them for their support. Let them know that publicly funded archaeology supports the museums they visit and provides jobs for archaeologists just like you.
  5. Share the petition with your co-workers. Let them know how publicly supported archaeology helps your business or place of employment. Encourage them to sign and share.

A number of you have left comments with your signatures, letting us know #WhyArchMatters to you, and why it should be publicly supported. We wanted to share a couple of those comments with you:

As an archaeologist, historian, preservationist, and history buff, I feel passionately about studying, stewarding, and educating people about our fragile historic resources. Our heritage is a vital part of who we are, it helps define us as people and as a nation, and it can help guide us into the future. To squander the past is like cutting our legs out from under us. – Thane, Virginia

As a former public outreach coordinator for an archaeological research facility for several years, it was my job to engage a wide range of people from age 7 to age 100 in the fascinating history of our nation. Archaeology provides tangible, physical evidence of how people, from the President to the share cropper, lived their lives, and encompasses all ethnicities and income groups. Please continue to fund this important way to make history relevant to our citizens. Thank you. – Regina, California

As an archaeologist that works closely with descendants, heritage organizations, and the general public and as an educator at a public university, I’ve seen firsthand that archaeology can have a significant impact on diverse communities, including improving “American’s quality of life” through civic engagement and community projects. We MUST continue to support the humanities through public funding!! These projects ENRICH our communities and serve as touchstones of communal memory – They give current generations a sense of historical perspective and rootedness. They remind us all of how our nation came to be and what is unique about our local communities!!! – Jason, Utah

I am an archaeologist and veteran of Operation Enduring Freedom. I have recently submitted a proposal to NSF to fund my research on the resilience of communities after the collapse of a political institution. This research directly relates to my experience in Afghanistan and can be very relevant to modern situations. – Ronald, Illinois

Thanks to all of your for continued support!

Why Archaeology Matters: A Petition

Gov Affairs

Over the past month, the Society for Historical Archaeology and the archaeological community have been actively engaged in voicing our concern for the recent op-ed published by US Representatives Eric Cantor and Lamar Smith in the USA Today. SHA President Paul Mullins drafted a letter to Cantor and Smith, and our push to encourage people to share their thoughts about #WhyArchMatters was a surprising success. We’ve also asked for your stories and experience with NSF funding, a process that has yielded a number of responses that will aid in our efforts to further engage the federal government regarding why archaeology matters, and how public funding supports archaeological research.

We’ve also been working behind the scenes to establish a way for you and the people you serve to be even more engaged in communicating your opinion about the importance of publicly funded archaeological research. Today, we’re announcing the beginning of our first SHA Change.org petition.

By visiting the petition and adding your name, you will join us in telling Representatives Cantor and Smith that we believe archaeological research matters and should be funded by the US Government. But we need you to do more than just sign this petition: in order for this effort to be successful, we need you to take this petition into your own communities. Share it with the people who visit your museums, who you engage with through your research, or who volunteer at your labs. Post it on Facebook and Twitter and send it out through email, and let the communities you work with know how publicly funded research supports the work that you do, and how that work, in turn, benefits them.

We also want to draw your attention to a similar petition drive being led by our colleagues at the National Humanities Alliance. The National Endowment for the Humanities is also facing proposed budget cuts of 49 percent, and the National Humanities Alliance has begun a campaign to petition Congressional leaders. We encourage you to support their cause, since NEH funding has been a critical source of funding for historical archaeology projects, as well.

Your support is important to archaeology and to SHA. Thank you!

Sign the SHA Petition to encourage Eric Cantor and Lamar Smith to continue Supporting publicly funded Archaeological research

GMAC Activities at SHA 2014

The Gender and Minority Affairs Committee (GMAC) works to address equity issues affecting women and minority groups within the SHA and in the field. Three panels will be presented by the GMAC at the upcoming conference in Quebec City. Please check the conference website (http://www.sha2014.com/) for scheduling information.

“Queer Forum: Queer Scholarship and Queer Experience” is a hybrid forum that begins with presentations on current queer scholarship and transitions to conversations about issues facing queer (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer/questioning, and allied) archaeologists. The goal is to draft a white paper outline on LGBTQ issues that will serve as a basis for further discussion. Forum details, including presentation abstracts, are posted online at http://tinyurl.com/queersha2014

Archaeologists will also meet to address “A Question that Counts: Why is Achieving Diversity and Confronting Racism in the SHA Important for the Future of Our Organization, Profession, and Theoretical Understanding of the Past, Present, and Future?”  In conversation with each other and audience members, panelists discuss the intersection of theory and practice, racism and diversity in the SHA and our profession.

The symposium, “Theorizing African Diaspora Archaeology” is co-organized by the Society of Black Archaeologists in collaboration with GMAC. Papers in this session use theoretical perspectives from Africana Studies, Public Health and other disciplines to help rethink old African diaspora sites and help explain new ones.

Those interested in equity issues and activities of the GMAC are invited to attend the GMAC committee meeting. The committee meeting is traditionally scheduled early in the morning so that it does not interfere with presentations.

Awardees of the inaugural 2014 GMAC Diversity Field School Competition will be announced in Quebec City. The award recognizes those who have shown a commitment to diversity in historical archaeology in a field school context. Information on the award, including application information (deadline: December 15, 2013) is online: http://eepurl.com/G7uGX

You can also enter the GMAC Diversity Photo Competition. Contest winners will be announced on the blog, Facebook Page, and at the conference.