Robert E. Funk Memorial Archaeology Foundation

Posted by Edward V. Curtin on May 28, 2010 in Archaeology |

Robert E. Funk was the New York State Archaeologist from 1971-1993.  He made significant contributions to the archaeology of several regions, but most substantially to the understanding of the prehistoric and early contact periods in the Hudson, Mohawk, and Susquehanna valleys.  In the 1960s, Bob also initiated Cultural Resource Management archaeology at the State Museum during the planning phases of I-81 and the Southern Tier Expressway.  Bob’s publications provide the substantive basis of much of New York State archaeology, and his syntheses represented Northeastern U.S. archaeology in books such as Ancient Native Americans (Jesse D. Jennings, editor, 1983), and Volume 15 of the Handbook of North American Indians (Smithsonian Institution, 1978).  When Bob passed away in 2002, he was actively working on important monographs that were published posthumously by the New York State Museum in Albany.  He had a good many friends in the worlds of professional and amateur archaeology.

Since 2004, The Robert E. Funk Memorial Archaeology Foundation has been promoting archaeological research in New York State by providing small grants and encouraging the dissemination of research results.

The Funk Foundation’s Governing Council includes Alfred Funk (Bob’s son), representing the Funk family; at-large member Patterson Schackne; Jonathan Lothrop, representing the New York State Museum; Wayne Lenig, representing the New York State Archaeological Association; and Ed Curtin, representing the New York Archaeological Council.  Ed Curtin serves as Chair. To contact the Funk Foundation, please email Ed at ecurtin12003@yahoo.com.

One of the first Funk Foundation grants was made to Donald Smith (then a University of Buffalo student) for study of the Carpenter Brook site in the Finger Lakes region (This site was the setting for William A. Ritchie’s famous interpretation of bear ceremonialism in association with early Owasco ceramics).  Don‘s current interpretation of his research on Carpenter Brook ceramics in this highly significant context was presented at the 2010 New York State Archaeological Association (NYSAA) Annual Meeting in Ellenville.

The Funk Foundation’s current grant project is an award to the Upper Susquehanna Chapter of the NYSAA for radiocarbon dating.  This project was proposed by Richard and Ruth Wakeman, and focuses on the Snook Kill component of the Behnke Farm site in Otego, New York.  This effort promises to provide important, almost unprecedented information on the age of the Snook Kill phase.  This blog will provide an update on this project after the radiocarbon dates are reported.

Like all small non-profits, the Funk Foundation seeks donations in order to conduct its work.  The Funk Foundation has no employees or paid directors, so the donations are used only to provide grant support or otherwise promote New York State archaeology.  If you would like to make a donation of any size to the Funk Foundation, please send a check payable to the New York State Museum Institute, along with a note indicating that the donation is for the Funk Foundation.  Please mail your contribution to:

Robert E. Funk Memorial Foundation
c/o The New York State Museum Institute
3025 Cultural Education Center
Albany, New York 12230


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