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

Help the Society for Historical Archaeology make an impact on the Hill

Join us for a Webinar on Thursday, July 25.

Congress’ summer recess is fast approaching. What does that mean to SHA and to you? August is a great time to invite Representatives and Senators to visit local archaeological, historical and architectural sites, and to learn about the importance of cultural heritage education and preservation.  It is also a chance for us to advocate for funding for SHPO offices, curation efforts and Section 106.

Please join SHA’s government affairs counsel Cultural Heritage Partners, PLLC on Thursday, July 25, at 1 pm EDT for a 30-minute webinar: “Making Our Voices Heard During August Recess.” Cultural Heritage Partners attorneys Marion Werkheiser and Eden Burgess will teach you how to reach out to local Congressional offices, prepare for visits, deliver SHA’s message, and make an impact that lasts. Join us and get empowered!

Reserve your Webinar seat now at:


Title: Making Our Voices Heard During August Recess
Date: Thursday, July 25, 2013
Time: 1:00 PM – 2:00 PM EDT [1 hour scheduled to allow for Q&A]

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the Webinar.

Support the Historic Preservation Fund


DEADLINE EXTENDED: April 12th, 2013

Representatives Michael Turner (R-OH) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), co-chairs of the Historic Preservation Caucus, have drafted a letter requesting $55.91 million in historic preservation program funding (via the Historic Preservation Fund) for FY14. The State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs) need your help in garnering House support for this important funding request. This bipartisan letter will be circulated throughout the House of Representatives to members of both parties.

The APRIL 12 deadline for House members to submit the letter is fast approaching, so please contact your Representatives in the House right away and ask for their support!  Note that the best way to contact your Representatives is via email. You can find your Representatives’ names and websites here: http://www.house.gov/representatives/find/

To make it easy for you, we have drafted a basic email for you to send to your Representatives. Just fill in the information specific to you, your company and your House members, and send!

If you need help or have questions, please email Marion Werkheiser at Cultural Heritage Partners.


Subject:          Request for support of $55.91 million in historic preservation program funding for FY14

Dear Representative __________,

I write on behalf of [organization name]. [Brief description of organization or of yourself, if writing on your own behalf. Include the state where organization is based or where you live]. [I/We] request that you support funding for historic preservation program funding for FY14 by signing the attached letter.

Representatives Michael Turner (R-OH) and Rush Holt (D-NJ), co-chairs of the Historic Preservation Caucus, drafted the letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the Interior, Environment, and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee that requests $55.91 million in historic preservation program funding (via the Historic Preservation Fund) for FY14.

This bipartisan funding request asks for funding level with FY12 and slightly increased from the amount allocated to the HPF post-sequestration:

$46.925 million, State Historic Preservation Offices

$8.985 million, Tribal Historic Preservation Offices

[I/organization name] ask you to sign on to the letter to support the program, which funds State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs). As explained in the letter, SHPOs carry out the National Historic Preservation Act, which provides citizens the tools they need to revitalize, rehabilitate and protect the places that give meaning to America. SHPOs facilitate National Historic Preservation Action compliance and funding them at these levels will allow for better protection for historic archaeology sites. Additionally, in 2012, the Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credit, administered by SHPOs, leveraged over $5.3B in private investment and created nearly 57,000 jobs.

Please note that the deadline for submitting the letter is April 12, 2013.

Please contact me with any questions regarding the historic preservation program or the funding request. [I/We] hope you will support this important program and sign the attached letter.

Kind regards,


[Signature block]

[Don't forget to attach or link to the letter]