On Saturday, October 1, I attended the fall meeting of the New York Archaeological Council (NYAC), held at Finger Lakes Community College in Canandaigua, New York. The New York Archaeological Council formed in 1972 as an organization of professional archaeologists whose main mission was to advocate for the identification, conservation, and wise use of archaeological resources. At the time, there were relatively new laws (such as the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, and the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969) that government agencies and the public were just beginning to learn about and understand. NYAC provided much needed guidance in areas such as archaeological resource identification and management. Early on, NYAC was able to provide a forum for articulating policies that involved educational and contract archaeology programs at institutions such as the New York State Museum, New York University, and the State University campuses at Buffalo and Binghamton, and historic preservation review and cultural resource management programs administered by the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation, the New York State Department of Transportation, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the New York State Public Service Commission.
NYAC continues to provide a significant leadership role in New York State Archaeology. For example, following business meetings, NYAC typically provides a program where archaeologists, historic preservation professionals, or other policy-makers provide overviews and discussions of important subjects such as effective field methods, professional standards, or developing policy initiatives. The most recent NYAC program was led by Dr. Douglas Perrelli of the University of Buffalo, and considered the use of geomorphological information in a variety of different archaeological survey and data recovery contexts in western New York. Audience participation brought in comparative information and perspectives from other regions of New York, such as the upper Susquehanna drainage, and the broad Hudson River floodplain at East Greenbush.
NYAC membership is open to all professional archaeologists with an interest in and commitment to archaeology in New York State. There also are reduced-price graduate student memberships, as well as NYAC Associate memberships for organizations, professionals in other fields, and interested members of the public or archaeological profession who are drawn to and enjoy New York State archaeology. For more information about membership, or to obtain an application form visit the membership section of the NYAC website www.nyarchaeology.org.