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Spring 2014 Meeting of the New York Archaeological Council (NYAC)

Posted by Edward V. Curtin on April 22, 2014 in Archaeology |
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The New York Archaeological Council met in Oneonta, New York on Friday, April 11, 2014.  The business meeting was followed by a presentation on the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) by NYAC’s guest, Patrick Garrow, President of RPA.  This report summarizes some of the highlights of the meeting:

Report on the Robert E. Funk Memorial Archaeology Foundation, Inc.

The Funk Foundation reports regularly to NYAC; for NYAC members, a fuller report is included in the Spring NYAC Newsletter.  Some of the more important Funk Foundation news includes:

  • The Funk Foundation was incorporated on May 29, 2013.  It is seeking 501c3 status as a charitable organization.  This determination by the IRS is expected imminently.
  • Once 501c3 status is granted, the Funk Foundation will develop a cycle of grant applications, reviews, and awards.  The Funk Foundation will be meeting on June 22, 2014 to plan for this.  Additional information will be posted on a revised Funk Foundation website after that date.
  • Two recipients of Funk Foundation grants, David Ingleman and Scott Stull, have published articles on research supported in part by these grants.  These articles include:
    • David A. Ingleman, Stephen Cox Thomas, and Douglas J. Perrelli (2012):   The Pre-contact Upper Niagara River Fishery:  Shadows of a Changed Environment.  Ontario Archaeology, Volume 92, pp. 38-73.  (This may have been issued after the publication date).

NYAC Founders Award Presentations

This Spring’s NYAC Founder’s Award was presented to two individuals:  Paul Huey and William Englebrecht.  Paul and Bill were recognized for their enormous contributions to New York State archaeology.  Although the Founder’s Award has often been presented to individuals outside of NYAC, Paul and Bill are both long-term members.

Discussion of the Gas and Preservation Partnership (GAPP)

Following the attendance by NYAC members of a recent GAPP meeting in Pittsburg, NYAC briefly discussed the GAPP initiative, which seems to seek a way forward by the gas industry for the identification of cultural resources and the mitigation of impacts in lieu of applying the Section 106 process.  The GAPP process apparently contemplates (with the guidance of archaeologists) what might be accomplished to lessen impacts to archaeological resources in situations where federal review responsibilities may be unresolved or not applicable.  This issue is sure to bear further discussion in NYAC.

Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) Presentation

The presentation and discussion of RPA by its president, Patrick Garrow was enlightening and in many ways exciting.  RPA provides a set of criteria to register archaeologists as professionals, subscribes to a professional code of ethics, and identifies a process to follow when complaints of professional misconduct are made against RPA members (most complaints are resolved after discussions that bring misunderstandings to light).

During the presentation and the following question and answer period, several benefits of RPA membership emerged.  These include the:

  • explicit and high standards for membership and ethics;
  • internal process of resolving questions of professional misconduct; and
  • clear recognition of the professional status of archaeologists by professionals from other fields with whom archaeologists work.  The credentialing by a professional organization is important outside of the field of archaeology.
Patrick Garrow and Hope Luhman lead a discussion on  RPA at the recent NYAC meeting

Patrick Garrow and Hope Luhman lead a discussion on RPA at the recent NYAC meeting

While RPA usually is most closely associated with cultural resource management (CRM) professionals, the importance of membership by academic archaeologists who teach standards of performance was also discussed.  Currently, RPA membership is in a period of healthy growth, and the value of RPA membership is recognized in a variety of professional and official contexts.

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