In Memory of Robert J. Gorall

Posted by Edward V. Curtin on September 30, 2011 in Archaeology |

Earlier this month we were saddened at Curtin Archaeological to learn of the passing of Bob Gorall.  I had known Bob for about 20 years, maybe a little longer.  Bob was a great citizen of the community of archaeologists in New York State.  A former president of the New York State Archaeological Association (NYSAA), he was a leader, a uniter, and a man of grace and humor.  He reached out to those who didn’t know about or understand archaeological ethics, or who didn’t grasp the significant role of the avocational archaeologist, and tried to bring them into a common understanding.  We will miss him greatly.  His perspectives on knowledge, archaeology, and the NYSAA live on in samples of his writing such as this (Gorall 1996:43):

‘One of the great advantages of the New York State Archaeological Association is that it has been able to draw upon so many talented people of different backgrounds and this diversity has been a great strength.  We ask about the future of archaeology and whether the avocational has a role in it.  The answer is yes, of course.  The NYSAA needs both the avocational and the professional for we all have in common the pursuit of knowledge.  And so, I would like to close with this quotation and a question:

“knowledge is power…knowledge is safety, and …knowledge is happiness.”

Those words were written a long time ago by Thomas Jefferson  —  writer of the Declaration of Independence, President of the United States, and —  an avocational archaeologist (Harnsberger 1964:150).  Now I ask you:  Who wouldn’t want him on their dig?’

References Cited

Gorall, Robert J.
1996 A Vital Connection:  Avocational Archaeologists and the NYSAA.  In A Golden Chronograph for Robert E. Funk, edited by Chris Lindner and Edward V. Curtin, pp. 41-43.  Occasional Publications in Northeastern Anthropology, No. 15.  Archaeological Services, Bethlehem, Connecticut.

Harnsberger, C. T.
1964 Treasury of Presidential Quotations.  Follet Publishing Company, Chicago.

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