Hi everyone. Please allow me to apologize for not entering a new post here in recent weeks. The Archaeology in Tennessee blog has not been shut down, and I have not quit blogging about Tennessee archaeology or archaeology in general. Rather, for the past few weeks, I have spent more time than I had planned blogging with comments on the SEAC Underground Blog, which is located at the following URL:
In case many of you are not aware of it, this blog was established by a group of very bright, up-and-coming archaeology graduate students who have a deep personal and professional interest in southeastern archaeology. Surprisingly, perhaps lulled into an alternative state of consciousness by the Ghost of Christmas Past and the power of mistletoe, a primary SEAC Underground Blog post on the tradition of “niceness” in southeastern archaeology has led to an extensive and ever-widening discussion about this “niceness” and how it touches on assorted levels of unhappiness about the current state of affairs in academic archaeology, archaeological ethics, feminism in archaeology, the benefits of cultural resource management (CRM) to the general public, and a stunting spirit of academic individualism/personal ego that needs to be transcended by a new emphasis on collaboration to solve archaeological problems. In addition, these on-line discussions have led to a number of parallel, confidential off-line discussions among various individuals on the same set of topics. All of these discussions (on-line and off-line) that I have participated in so far have maintained the tradition of “niceness” in southeastern archaeology by being civil, and they in all cases have involved deep thinking and personal reflection on the part of the participants. Putting both sets of discussions (on-line and off-line) together, I must truly say that I have never attended a graduate school seminar that was this good in terms of both participation and the participants having something of true gravity and concern to say. Unless I miss my guess, the graduate students had no earthly idea how disillusioned many of their professional elders have become with various aspects of American archaeology and “the system” under which it has operated for so long. It should be noted that most of these archaeological elders grew up in the 1960s when criticism of “the system” was the main course on the American social menu, and old dogs still remember those days and the spirit of reform that they entailed. However, these have not been just critical discussions. Rather, they have been discussions with an eye toward keeping what is good and fixing what is broken.
The primary impact of these discussions on the Archaeology in Tennessee blog has been an unexpected surge in visitation, primarily by people who visit the SEAC Underground Blog first, scratch their heads in awe (and probable disbelief) at assorted statements I have made there, and (having eaten that hors d’oeuvre) come over to this blog in hopes of finding a full entree of similar archaeological nonsense on which to feast. I trust that they have not been too disappointed.
Two of the most clicked buttons at this blog have been the “My Profile” button and the “Contact” button. If this were 1974, I could feel fairly assured that the people who clicked those buttons were outraged leaders and minions of “the system” bent on learning my identity so as to cut off my grant funding and make sure that “…I will never—ever—work in American archaeology again.” [There's an idea for you Taylor Swift (my cousins in Hendersonville attended high school with her)]. Sorry to disappoint, but I have no grant funding in American archaeology, do not expect to have any such funding (nor do I want any), work mostly in another scientific discipline, and sit on the verge of retirement. The temporary removal of my professional background information and contact information from this blog was in response to a short-term privacy issue that arose in another context during 2013 and has absolutely nothing to do with my recent posts at the SEAC Underground Blog.
I hope to be blogging again here very soon. In the meantime, you can go on over to the SEAC Underground Blog and check out the assorted past and current discussions there. The hottest current post is entitled Theoretical Modesty at SEAC? (December 20, 2013). This blog is really a great place. Feel free to insert yourself into the discussions with an appropriate level of southeastern “niceness.” You might also congratulate the assorted graduate students on creating a professional archaeology discussion blog that has been sorely needed in both American archaeology and southeastern archaeology for a long time—a very long time. Personally, I just hope and pray that these forward-looking and very creative graduate students are never moved to a point where they regret having established this blog. Meaning, I would hope that the self-serving outrage in high places, interpersonal pettiness, and associated vindictiveness that reigned in American archaeology and anthropology during the 1970s is gone. If it has not, someone needs to quickly put a bullet in its head so this new generation of American archaeologists can live, thrive, and create in an archaeological environment with both a heart and a conscience.