18th Annual Archaeological Photo Contest in Quebec

There is still time to enter!

The ACUA invites SHA members and conference attendees to participate in the 18th annual Archaeological Photo Festival Competition. You can submit entries by sending or by bringing them to the conference in Quebec. Entries must be mailed by December 15 to insure delivery. For all the details, download the 2014 Instructions & Application from the ACUA website (www.acuaonline.org) or the SHA conference website (www.sha2014.com/events.html).

Whether you plan to bring or courier your entry, please email the form to Charles at: Charles.Dagneau@pc.gc.ca or fax it to him at: 613-993-9796. All entries will be displayed during the SHA conference on Historical and Underwater Archaeology and will be posted to the ACUA website. Selected entries will be included in the 2015 ACUA Photo Contest calendar. Just think, your photograph could be featured on the cover! You too can enjoy the adulation of your friends and colleagues, but only if you enter.

Some of our colleagues’ images are featured in the brand new 2014 Photo Contest Calendar! It has fantastic photos by: Drew Buchner, Brett Seymour, Thierry Boyer, Robert Church, Sue Reichert, Erica D’Elia and Dan Warren.

ACUA 2014 Calendar

Historical Archaeology, the NSF, and Why Archaeology Matters

As many of you know, last week the SHA responded to Eric Cantor and Lamar Smith’s USA Today letter advocating NSF funding regulations.  There was a rush of tweets on the issue, many tagged #WhyArchMatters; SHA’s social media sounded our collective anxieties; and a host of bloggers including the SHA Blog, AAA Archaeology Division President Rosemary Joyce, and the Society for American Archaeology echoed many of our collective concerns about the ways archaeology is being characterized in these public discussions.

The issue of NSF funding is certain to re-emerge with the end of the government shutdown, and it raises bigger questions about how we articulate the value of historical archaeology beyond our scholarly circles.  The SHA needs your help on both counts documenting the value of NSF-funded historical archaeology research.  We want to underscore specific social and economic values of historical archaeology that need to be articulated to members of Congress and the general public.

Today a form is posted on the SHA Blog that asks you to provide us some specific examples of the value of NSF-funded historical archaeological research. The form asks for

  1. a description of your project;
  2. a description of the specific thing your project taught us about the past; and
  3. how your project directly benefited your career, your institution, and most importantly, the community or communities associated with your project – socially and economically.

Instead of providing talking points to legislators and people who are interested in archaeology, we would prefer to provide them concrete examples of the benefits of what historical archaeologists do, especially with the taxpayers’ money.  If we do not make stronger cases for all the ways historical archaeology shapes communities financially and socially we risk having others misrepresent the discipline.

We will have a Saturday lunchtime session at the January SHA Conference that will identify an action plan for engaging the US Congress and the public on why archaeology matters and the importance of NSF and other federal funding.  I will report back on that on the SHA Blog in the next couple of weeks, but I certainly hope all of you who can make it to the meeting will join us.

These are simply first steps toward effectively sharing our scholarship beyond historical archaeology circles.  Some of this communication needs to be with legislators and their staffs, many of whom have never met a historical archaeologist and simply need to know what we do.  Some of this discussion also needs to be for our public constituents who support heritage preservation and are interested in sharing the research their taxes made possible.  The SHA has been firmly committed to public archaeology for much of the past half-century, so we have laid a solid foundation.

 

Response to Eric Cantor and Lamar Smith

Many of you know that Representatives Eric Cantor (R-Virginia) and Lamar Smith (R-Texas) last week published a piece in USA Today advocating tighter controls of National Science Foundation funding.  Their piece seized on several archaeological research projects as symptomatic examples of ill-conceived scientific research priorities.  Representatives Cantor and Smith did not single out historical archaeology, but their aim is squarely on social sciences, and many historical archaeologists have been fortunate to receive NSF support.  NSF funding has significantly impacted the discipline, transformed many scholars’ careers, and supported many archaeological projects benefitting communities throughout the country.

Today the SHA has written Cantor and Smith responding to their piece in USA Today.  Cantor and Smith’s piece is perhaps a rhetorical assault on social sciences, but some legislators are intent on radically changing the NSF in particular, if not all federal funding of the sciences.  The potential for such changes at the highest levels of federal funding could have dramatic effects on historical archaeology.

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