A Final Note on Our Most Recent Series of Posts and Some Related Matters

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog understands that the four preceding posts on the Jimmy Carter Clause and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) may leave some artifact collectors in Tennessee and throughout the United States feeling hurt and angry. We hope you will realize that any sense of hurt and anger you feel is coming directly from the federal government rather than us here at the blog. It was not our intent to make you feel bad. We were just attempting to explain and clarify an element of the law that gets many artifact collectors confused. We here at the blog would like to say that we have nothing personal against most artifact collectors and avocational archaeologists. Some of the nicest and kindest people we have ever known were and are artifact collectors and avocational archaeologists.  We further understand that artifact collecting was once a time-honored American hobby that was generally accepted in the same vein as mom, the American flag, and apple pie.  As some have pointed out, the Boy Scouts of America once offered a merit badge for assembling a small collection of Native American artifacts. We also understand that it must be very difficult to live in a time when the government, a number of professional archaeologists, and many Native Americans tend to view all artifact collecting as immoral and sometimes criminal behavior.

During the 1960s and very early 1970s, professional archaeologists were nearly nonexistent in the Nashville area. If a kid was interested in archaeology, the only way he or she had to pursue their interest was reading books and talking to local artifact collectors and avocational archaeologists. The owner of this blog was one of those Nashville area kids. His early interest in archaeology was sparked by a close relative (Mr. Malcolm Parker) who lived in Nashville. When our owner was about 8 years old, Mr. Parker gave him a small canvas board with prehistoric artifacts glued to it. This board was probably a Christmas gift. The mounted artifacts were mostly whole projectile points/knives, haftable endscrapers, and ancient beads―some made out of human teeth. The 8-year-old kid had no appreciation for the board of artifacts, soon tore it all to pieces, and managed to lose all of the artifacts. Only Jesus knows where they are now—probably spread helter-skelter all over the ground of the old neighborhood back home in Gallatin, Tennessee. However, Mr. Parker persisted in his influence, and a strong interest in archaeology was indeed sparked within the kid at a later point in time. In one way or another, it would be fair to say that the kid grew up with artifact collectors and avocational archaeologists all around him. As a result, he learned a lot about prehistoric artifacts, artifact collectors, artifact-collecting practices, and avocational archaeology. Interestingly, the kid never had any real desire to be an artifact collector―perhaps predictable from the experience of that 8-year-old kid and his ill-fated canvas board. He wanted to grow up and be a real archaeologist.

We do not harbor a universal hatred for all artifact collectors here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog. We enjoy talking to artifact collectors, viewing their artifacts, and listening closely to any insights or information they might have that will help us with our own archaeological research projects. Unfortunately, it is very hard these days to find artifact collectors who are willing to sit down and chat with us professional archaeologists because of the huge war that has been going on between professional archaeologists and artifact collectors for the past 50 years. Many artifact collectors are afraid to interact with professional archaeologists because they are concerned about a perceived potential for fines, prison, or having their collections confiscated. A few artifact collectors today hate professional archaeologists with what Khan in Star Trek II called a “perfect hatred.” They are perfectly happy to talk with a professional archaeologist if the archaeologist will cede 100 percent approval of artifact collecting, even in its most irresponsible forms, and if the archaeologist is willing to sit silently and suffer heated verbal abuse for all of the perceived hurt archaeologists have inflicted on their hobby. Unfortunately, it has been our experience over the past 40 years that this small handful of hate-filled artifact collectors has been created by a similarly small handful of professional archaeologists who harbor equally vicious hatred for all artifact collectors. Those two extremist groups shout at each other so loudly that the artifact collectors and professional archaeologists who want to talk about their collections and our archaeology rarely get a peaceful and safe moment to do it. 

It should also be said that we here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog do not consider ourselves to be policemen or park rangers. Over the past 53 years, neither the blog owner nor anyone in his household has ever “taken down” or been a participant in “taking down” an artifact collector who was breaking federal laws or regulations. We would hasten to add that he has never witnessed such criminal behavior in others and has only rarely heard about it as a matter of second-hand or third-hand gossip. The truth of the matter is that most everyday professional archaeologists are too busy with their research to focus on such things and pretty much leave such enforcement to the federal and state authorities officially charged with that responsibility.

Like most professional archaeologists, we here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog do not officially approve of irresponsible artifact collecting―and a lot of it is irresponsible in nature―because irresponsible is easy and relaxing. In addition, while everyone loves a really nice artifact, we are not artifact focused here at the blog, which means we do not get a heated rush from holding a 10,000-year-old artifact in our hands, and we are not focused on art appreciation and the rescuing of artifacts for “art’s sake.” If a 9-inch Clovis point gets washed into the Tennessee River and is never seen again, no one around here is going to be in tears about it because that is not our focus. Instead, we are interested primarily in the 3-dimensional relationships that exist among artifacts, features, postmolds, hearths, and other such things within intact archaeological deposits and what those relationships can tell us about the prehistoric technologies, social organization, and ideology of the people who lived at an ancient archaeological site or at many sites in a river or stream valley. We are interested in the history of American archaeology itself, the current working conditions and state of affairs in the archaeological discipline, elucidating prehistory, and exploring the nature of past human behavior. The strong commitment to art appreciation per se that pervades the artifact-collecting community today is just not our bag.

Some artifact collectors do not like the content of certain posts on this blog. In our honest opinion, it is usually the artifact collectors who are gripped by hatred for professional archaeologists that go bananas over some of our posts that appear to portray artifact collectors in a negative light. As Art Linkletter used to remark, “Kids say the darndest things.” Because our blog owner was raised around artifact collectors, he knows from experience that they too “say and do some of the darndest things,” and those things are at times entertaining or tragic. However, virtually everything we might say about artifact collectors in our posts is something we have actually seen or experienced firsthand. For example, with regard to our post entitled Archaeological Advice Column, we have both read about and actually had conversations with a few artifact collectors who appeared to think that each archaeological site contains an endless supply of museum-grade artifacts, as if they are being reproduced biologically under the ground surface. The point we were making is that most things in this world really do have an endpoint. If you do not go to the grocery store and you keep on eating, the refrigerator will indeed go empty one day, and some artifact collectors need to tune into the basic fact that an archaeological site can be stripped of its meaning by collecting it to death over time. On a final note, some anger-oriented artifact collectors enjoy spewing hatred and verbal abuse at us. Malcolm Parker’s dad repeated a phrase to him numerous times as he was growing up, “Never go looking for trouble with people, but if someone gets on your back―get’em off.”  His son repeated  that maxim over the years, and we adopted it here at the blog.

On the flip side, we will be the first to say that professional archaeologists also “say and do some of the darndest things,” and they too can be quite entertaining and tragic. We are not inclined to circle the wagons about such things. A great many of the things we and other professional archaeologists do not like about the weird little world of professional archaeology (and it is indeed a weird little world) are subject to being addressed and discussed in our blog posts and the comment threads under them. Some of what we say may upset or disturb some professional archaeologists―or even occasionally drive one of them a little bit nuts. American archaeology is a discipline with deep-seated problems and issues (many of them moral and social issues), and it is a discipline that hides from those problems and pretends that they do not exist. It is always much easier to run from those problems than it is to turn around, face them square-on, study them, and implement changes that solve them. During the coming years, we are going to be discussing those tough problems in our blog posts. We suspect that some extremist archaeologists may become as emotionally ripped about our discussions on professional archaeology as some extremist artifact collectors are about some of our posts on irresponsible artifact collecting. Always, as is the case with artifact collectors, we try very hard to avoid naming names when discussing controversial or potentially upsetting subjects, and we have no desire whatsoever to intentionally defame other living archaeologists or make libelous statements that would hurt their reputations or careers.

We do intend to be a positive voice―but also an independent voice―in Tennessee archaeology and American archaeology. The owner of this blog is very close to retirement, most of his work is done in a high-paying field other than archaeology, he does not have any grant funding (and does not desire any), the limited amount of private sector archaeological work he does is funded out of his own pockets, he is already largely isolated socially from most other professional archaeologists (but not all), and he is heavily oriented towards electronic self-publishing. Why are we saying this? We do recall how a number of angry old men in professional archaeology tried to destroy the career of the late Lewis Binford by stripping him of his grant funding. American archaeology can be a really nasty and heartless place sometimes―it should not be―but it is. You know that, and we know that. We guess this is just our way of saying that the famous phrase that once floated around many academic anthropology departments in the old days, “I will see to it that you never work in American archaeology ever again” does not impress anyone here at the blog or have any real meaning to us―and is not likely to ever do so.

Ted Koppel and Sam Donaldson at ABC News probably said it best, and we tend to believe in a version of it here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog. Roughly paraphrased, they said, “If the people on both sides of an issue write to us and tell us that we are biased toward the other side, then we know we are doing something right.” Similarly, if both artifact collectors and professional archaeologists are a little unhappy from time to time about what we are doing here at the blog, then we know we are doing something right.

Finally, we realize that some of the language in the four preceding posts on the Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA may ruffle the feathers of some artifact collectors. For example, some might be put off by the phrase “nail their hides to the wall.” We used that language for a reason. Watch this brief video clip from the movie Star Trek IV:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WTvEbUkeLM

The phrase “nail their hides to the wall” was common in the local culture of Middle Tennessee when our blog owner was growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, and it was one of his dad’s favorite expressions. This colorful metaphor, as Spock might call it, was not used to offend a person, but rather to impress upon a person the intense gravity of an offense and the severity of the punishment that such an offense would likely attract. Using this phrase was our way of saying that the cultural resource management (CRM) staffs at federal agencies take the federal CRM statutes and regulations very seriously, and they are now oriented toward strong enforcement, meaning mercy might not be in the cards if a collector gets arrested on federal property. It is important for artifact collectors to know that and take it very seriously. We thought the colorful metaphor would help to better register that fact in the minds of collectors.

The Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA – Part IV: The “Less than 100 Years Old” Argument

We here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog do not claim to be licensed attorneys, and the text of this blog post should not be taken or construed as legal counsel. If you need such counsel, please contact a licensed attorney in your state or U.S. territory.  With that said, the owner of this blog has spent a great deal of the past 26 years working on federal contract projects that involved compliance with the many federal statutes and regulations applicable to protection of the environment in the United States. More than five of those years were spent as the lead Environmental Compliance Specialist for Battelle Memorial Institute (Oak Ridge), a federal prime contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy. Collectively, the texts of these environmental statutes and regulations are voluminous, complex, and highly detailed―much more so than the current federal cultural resource management statutes and regulations. Multiple volumes of these environmental laws and regulations easily fill several shelves in a bookcase. Over the years, our blog owner has found that certain general principles and interpretive rules of thumb apply to the content of virtually all federal statutes and regulations, regardless of the subject matter that they address. Therefore, with his input, the blog feels reasonably qualified to offer some thoughts on the Jimmy Carter Clause and the confusion surrounding it within the artifact collector community.  This post is provided as a public service of the Oak Ridge Archaeological Research Institute.

This one is going to be short and to the point.  Section 3 of the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA) states the following:

(1) The term “archaeological resource” means any material remains of past human life or activities which are of archaeological interest, as determined under the uniform regulations promulgated pursuant to this Act. Such regulations containing such determination shall include, but not be limited to: pottery, basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures or portions of structures, pit houses, rock paintings, rock carvings, intaglios, graves, human skeletal materials, or any portion or piece of any of the foregoing items. Nonfossilized and fossilized paleontological specimens, or any portion or piece thereof, shall not be considered archaeological resources, under the regulations under this paragraph, unless found in an archaeological context. No item shall be treated as an archaeological resource under regulations under this paragraph unless such item is at least 100 years of age. [Section 3 (a)]

Some artifact collectors have been known to state something along the lines of the following:

“Regardless of the Jimmy Carter Clause, Section 3 of ARPA says I can legally keep any artifacts I find on federal lands or in federal waters as long as they are less than 100 years old.  They can’t touch me as long as the artifacts I collect are that recent.”

Wrong!!!!  The ARPA regulations actually give federal agencies the latitude to designate certain items less than 100 years old on certain federal lands as archaeological resources subject to ARPA jurisdiction.  Unless a collector asks the agency, he may never know which items have been so designated and on which federal lands.  Consequently, if he collects these items, he can get nailed with severe fines and prison terms under ARPA.

Just like in the previous three main posts, ARPA contains no exemption language that turns off the applicability of other federal statutes and regulations to collector activities on federal lands and in federal waters. Federal agencies can still nail artifact collector hides to the wall using the other applicable federal statutes and regulations that deal with trespassing, stealing federal property, etc.  An artifact less than 100 years old that is collected on federal property is still federal property, regardless of ARPA.

As the Borg say in Star Trek:  “Resistance is futile.”  They planned it that way.  Give it up.  Avoid high fines and prison time.

The Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA – Part III: The “I Got a Copy” Argument

We here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog do not claim to be licensed attorneys, and the text of this blog post should not be taken or construed as legal counsel. If you need such counsel, please contact a licensed attorney in your state or U.S. territory.  With that said, the owner of this blog has spent a great deal of the past 26 years working on federal contract projects that involved compliance with the many federal statutes and regulations applicable to protection of the environment in the United States. More than five of those years were spent as the lead Environmental Compliance Specialist for Battelle Memorial Institute (Oak Ridge), a federal prime contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy. Collectively, the texts of these environmental statutes and regulations are voluminous, complex, and highly detailed―much more so than the current federal cultural resource management statutes and regulations. Multiple volumes of these environmental laws and regulations easily fill several shelves in a bookcase. Over the years, our blog owner has found that certain general principles and interpretive rules of thumb apply to the content of virtually all federal statutes and regulations, regardless of the subject matter that they address. Therefore, with his input, the blog feels reasonably qualified to offer some thoughts on the Jimmy Carter Clause and the confusion surrounding it within the artifact collector community.  This post is provided as a public service of the Oak Ridge Archaeological Research Institute.

The highest aspiration of most artifact collectors is to find what one might describe as museum-grade artifacts, and they firmly believe the best places to find such artifacts are archaeological sites within major river valleys. Unfortunately, for the collector, those sites tend to be on land and under waters owned by federal agencies such as the Tennessee Valley Authority and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. The magnetic draw of such sites and the overwhelming desire to find a really great artifact creates a level of desperation within many collectors. Consequently, they will grasp at any anecdotal hope or item of folklore that might allow one to surface hunt or dig for artifacts on these lands without fear of arrest, prosecution, fines, and imprisonment. The old colloquial expression for this kind of thing is “grasping for straws.”

One such anecdotal straw we have seen in several places on-line over the years is the notion that carrying a paper copy of the Jimmy Carter Clause in your pocket while surface hunting for arrowheads on federal lands or in federal waters—or taking a copy of it to court—can serve as a Get-Out-of-Trouble Free Card or Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card for the collector. How does this scheme supposedly work in the field? Well, if you are surface hunting for arrowheads on federal lands or in federal waters and an agency ranger or other agency law enforcement officer catches you red handed, all you have to do is whip out your copy of the Jimmy Carter Clause and one other page in ARPA and show them to the officer. Those papers would have the following highlighted in yellow:

(d) Any person who knowingly violates, or counsels, procures, solicits, or employs any other person to violate, any prohibition contained in subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both: Provided, however, that if the commercial or archaeological value of the archaeological resources involved and the cost of restoration and repair of such resources exceeds the sum of $500, such person shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. In the case of a second or subsequent such violation upon conviction such person shall be fined not more than $100,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. [16 U.S.C. 470 (ee)(d)]

(g) Nothing in subsection (d) of this section shall be deemed applicable to any person with respect to the removal of arrowheads located on the surface of the ground. [16 U.S.C.470 (ee)(g)] a.k.a. The Jimmy Carter Clause

(3) No penalty shall be assessed under this section for the removal of arrowheads located on the surface of the ground. [Section 7 (a) (3)]

The officer then takes a close look at your two pieces of paper, realizes that they look official, and reads the yellow highlighted areas. She then says: “Well, I never knew that, but it sure says it right here in black and white. Sorry to have bothered you sir. Go ahead with your collecting and have a nice day.”

On the Arrowheadology web forum called Arrowhead Hunting & Collecting, a commenter with the handle name Wichita (April 2010) offered an anecdotal example of a collector who had tried this “I Got a Copy” argument when he went to court. You can read this brief story at the following URL:

http://www.arrowheadology.com/forums/arrowhead-hunting-collecting/2509-carter-clause-2.html

(Scroll down when you get to the web page)

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog has little doubt that the “I Got a Copy” argument has been tried by a few isolated artifact collectors in some places and at some times in the past. We further have no doubt that there was some agency law enforcement officer or federal judge who either never got or never read the memorandum about ARPA and agency strategies for cultural resource enforcement. Perhaps the officer was out sick on training day. Perhaps the officer was a new employee who still had a lot to learn. Perhaps the anecdotal event happened soon after ARPA was signed into law, and the local agency office did not have enough time to immediately develop and implement an enforcement strategy for cultural resources protection. Be it anecdotal evidence or folklore, the “I Got a Copy” argument may have even worked a few times like in the Arrowheadology example.

Here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog, we seriously doubt that the “I Got a Copy” argument would work on any federal agency law enforcement officer or federal judge today. The ARPA statute and regulations are old news now―about 36 years old. That is more than enough time for everyone to have gotten their enforcement act together on surface collecting of arrowheads on federal lands. The Archaeology in Tennessee blog believes firmly that the “I Got a Copy” argument is both foolish and dangerous. No artifact collector in his right mind should allow himself to be deceived into surface hunting on federal lands or hunting in federal waters under the assumption that a pocketed copy of certain key pages in ARPA (or the whole statute) will function as a Get-Out-of-Trouble Free Card or a Get-Out-of-Jail-Free Card. Once again, the wisest thing to do is avoid surface hunting for artifacts on federal lands and in federal waters.

The Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA – Part II: The “Bird Points” Argument

We here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog do not claim to be licensed attorneys, and the text of this blog post should not be taken or construed as legal counsel. If you need such counsel, please contact a licensed attorney in your state or U.S. territory.  With that said, the owner of this blog has spent a great deal of the past 26 years working on federal contract projects that involved compliance with the many federal statutes and regulations applicable to protection of the environment in the United States. More than five of those years were spent as the lead Environmental Compliance Specialist for Battelle Memorial Institute (Oak Ridge), a federal prime contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy. Collectively, the texts of these environmental statutes and regulations are voluminous, complex, and highly detailed―much more so than the current federal cultural resource management statutes and regulations. Multiple volumes of these environmental laws and regulations easily fill several shelves in a bookcase. Over the years, our blog owner has found that certain general principles and interpretive rules of thumb apply to the content of virtually all federal statutes and regulations, regardless of the subject matter that they address. Therefore, with his input, the blog feels reasonably qualified to offer some thoughts on the Jimmy Carter Clause and the confusion surrounding it within the artifact collector community.  This post is provided as a public service of the Oak Ridge Archaeological Research Institute.

Although the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 uses the term arrowhead twice in its text, the statute itself never formally defines it.  However, the federal regulation at 43 CFR 7.3 (b) defines an arrowhead as “any projectile point which appears to have been designed for use with an arrow.”

For many generations in American culture, any pointed-looking stone tool with a hafting area and an overall length of about 3 inches or less has been referred to colloquially as an arrowhead. Any such tool longer than about 3 inches has been referred to colloquially as a spearhead. From an archaeological perspective, these colloquialisms are bogus. Most of these so-called arrowheads were actually used on atlatl darts or as knives, hence the professional lithic term projectile point/knife (pp/k). Fluted points such as the famous Clovis, Folsom, and Cumberland specimens were actually hafted to narrow bone foreshafts set into the ends of spears, which means that they were actually spear points. Generally speaking, only the very smallest and most delicate projectile points were used on the tips of arrows. Two of the most common examples in the American southeast were Hamilton and Madison points. Over the years, many artifact collectors have referred to these as bird points because someone surmised long ago that their tiny size suited them only for bagging small birds during ancient hunting trips. Can you say “bluebird”?  That too is now considered to be major bogus.

Some collectors of Native American artifacts are topical collectors, which means they prefer to collect a particular kind of artifact. For example, in Texas, some artifact collectors are enamored with the very small, dentate, eccentric-looking bird points that are presumed to have been used on the business end of ancient arrows. Other topical collectors prefer Hamilton and Madison points.

In Part I of our discussion on the Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA, we mentioned that artifact collectors often generate homespun legal theories about the meanings of federal cultural resource management statutes and regulations―theories that could result in a hefty fine and prison time if implemented. One of them goes something like this:

“The Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA says it is okay for us to collect arrowheads on federal lands. But we see a problem here. Fluted points were used on spears, and most other projectile points were either used as tips on atlatl darts or as knives. Therefore, using a strict constructionist approach (the kind my hero Justice Antonin Scalia uses with the U.S. Constitution) to ARPA, it only follows that we collectors cannot collect fluted points, atlatl points, spent knives, and certain other kinds of lithic artifacts because they are not really arrowheads. What this does mean is that the Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA makes it open season on collecting Hamilton points, Madison points, and other kinds of bird points on federal lands. So let’s go git’em!!!”

Not true. As noted in Part I, collecting arrowheads (even narrowly defined) is illegal on federal lands under ARPA. The Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA only exempts arrowhead collectors from the severe prosecution penalties under ARPA alone. For those artifact collectors seeking overall exemption from arrest and prosecution, the main thing they need to understand is that the Jimmy Carter Clause is as worthless to them as a $3.00 bill because it contains no exemption language that turns off the applicability of other federal laws and penalties outside of ARPA. A fine, strict constructionist parsing of the Jimmy Carter Clause yields nothing useful for the collector. Bird points lying around on the surface of the ground on federal lands (and in federal waters) are still federal property. This means federal authorities can use other federal laws besides ARPA to nail collector hides to the wall for trespassing, stealing federal property, etc. Functionally and for all practical purposes, the utility of the Jimmy Carter Clause for totally protecting collectors on federal lands is a myth. From an overall perspective, it might as well be a piece of soiled toilet paper for all the protection it provides to collectors. Just think of it as being worthless with regard to these other statutes and regulations. The only way to be safe from arrest, prosecution, fines, and prison time under these other laws is to completely avoid collecting artifacts on federal lands and in federal waters.

The Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA – Part I

We here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog do not claim to be licensed attorneys, and the text of this blog post should not be taken or construed as legal counsel. If you need such counsel, please contact a licensed attorney in your state or U.S. territory. With that said, the owner of this blog has spent a great deal of the past 26 years working on federal contract projects that involved compliance with the many federal statutes and regulations applicable to protection of the environment in the United States. More than five of those years were spent as the lead Environmental Compliance Specialist for Battelle Memorial Institute (Oak Ridge), a federal prime contractor for the U.S. Department of Energy. Collectively, the texts of these environmental statutes and regulations are voluminous, complex, and highly detailed―much more so than the current federal cultural resource management statutes and regulations. Multiple volumes of these environmental laws and regulations easily fill several shelves in a bookcase. Over the years, our blog owner has found that certain general principles and interpretive rules of thumb apply to the content of virtually all federal statutes and regulations, regardless of the subject matter that they address. Therefore, with his input, the blog feels reasonably qualified to offer some thoughts on the Jimmy Carter Clause and the confusion surrounding it within the artifact collector community. This post is provided as a public service of the Oak Ridge Archaeological Research Institute.

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog is taking this opportunity to (once and for all) clear up one of the great and abiding mysteries within the communities of people who collect Native American artifacts in Tennessee and throughout the United States. This mystery involves the so-called Jimmy Carter Clause in the federal Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 (ARPA). What is this great mystery? Well, an artifact collector might explain it something like this:

“That there Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA says in black-and-white English that it is okay for us Indian relic collectors to do surface hunting for arrowheads on federal lands. This law plainly makes it legal for us to do it. Jimmy Carter was President of the United States when he signed ARPA into law back in 1979, and because he too was a surface arrowhead hunter down in Georgia, he made sure the U.S. Congress put in an exemption for us collectors when they wrote this law. We don’t understand why federal agencies like the Bureau of Land Management, Tennessee Valley Authority, and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are breaking this law right and left by arresting us, fining us, and sending us to prison for surface collecting arrowheads on federal lands. How can they do this to us and get away with it?”

The text of the now famous Jimmy Carter Clause is located at 16 U.S.C. 470 (ee)(g), and it refers back to 16 U.S.C. 470 (ee)(d) in the same Act. These two texts read as follows:

(d) Any person who knowingly violates, or counsels, procures, solicits, or employs any other person to violate, any prohibition contained in subsection (a), (b), or (c) of this section shall, upon conviction, be fined not more than $10,000 or imprisoned not more than one year, or both: Provided, however, that if the commercial or archaeological value of the archaeological resources involved and the cost of restoration and repair of such resources exceeds the sum of $500, such person shall be fined not more than $20,000 or imprisoned not more than two years, or both. In the case of a second or subsequent such violation upon conviction such person shall be fined not more than $100,000, or imprisoned not more than five years, or both. [16 U.S.C. 470 (ee)(d)]

(g) Nothing in subsection (d) of this section shall be deemed applicable to any person with respect to the removal of arrowheads located on the surface of the ground. [16 U.S.C.470 (ee)(g) - a.k.a. The Jimmy Carter Clause]

The level and extent of artifact collector confusion about the Jimmy Carter Clause becomes obvious when one visits any of the major, on-line artifact forums where collectors congregate to discuss their latest finds and a host of other issues, including federal statutes and regulations that can adversely affect their collecting activities. The regulatory discussions sometimes degenerate into complete silliness that sounds like a bunch of farmers gathered around a pot-bellied stove to discuss particle physics and quantum mechanics. These collectors generate some of the oddest homespun legal theories about artifact collecting that we have ever seen. When a truly knowledgeable person shows up and tries to clarify the matter in truthful legal terms, a few of the collectors understand, others go into classic psychological denial of the plainly presented truth, and others get very angry that a person with real knowledge would dare to show up and set them straight on the matter. The messenger of truth can be fairly well assured that he or she will be banned from making future comments on the forum. When a knowledgeable person does not intervene with legal facts and truth, the group discussion often ends with discussant agreement on some homespun legal theory that is highly liable to eventually result in fines and/or prison time when they go out and implement it.

First, we address the question: “Does the Jimmy Carter Clause in ARPA make it legal for artifact collectors to surface hunt for arrowheads on federal lands?”

The answer is a profound “NO.” Take a look at the following definition of the term archaeological resource in the ARPA statute and then look at the ARPA prohibition beneath it:

(1) The term “archaeological resource” means any material remains of past human life or activities which are of archaeological interest, as determined under uniform regulations promulgated pursuant to this Act. Such regulations containing such determination shall include, but not be limited to: pottery, basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures or portions of structures, pit houses, rock paintings, rock carvings, intaglios, graves, human skeletal materials, or any portion or piece of any of the foregoing items. Nonfossilized and fossilized paleontological specimens, or any portion or piece thereof, shall not be considered archaeological resources, under the regulations under this paragraph, unless found in an archaeological context. No item shall be treated as an archaeological resource under regulations under this paragraph unless such item is at least 100 years of age. [Section 3(I)]

(a) No person may excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface or attempt to excavate, remove, damage, or otherwise alter or deface any archaeological resource located on public lands or Indian lands unless such activity is pursuant to a permit issued under section 4 of this Act, a permit referred to in section 4(h)(2) of this Act, or the exemption contained in section 4(g)(1) of this Act. [Section 6(a)]

The term arrowhead clearly falls under the definition of an archaeological resource. Arrowheads are definitely the material remains of past human life or activities, they are of archaeological interest, and they are considered to be weapons, weapon projectiles, or tools. There is no way they can escape from that definition. When you consider this simple fact in combination with the stated prohibitions in Section 6(a), ARPA does indeed prohibit the removal of arrowheads from the ground surface on federal lands. Therefore, in answer to the first collector question above, the Jimmy Carter Clause does not make it legal for artifact collectors to surface hunt for arrowheads on federal lands. It is illegal to do so.

Second, we now address the question: “Then how does the Jimmy Carter Clause help artifact collectors?”

The answer to this one is pretty simple. If artifact collectors decide to go ahead and violate the ARPA prohibition on surface collecting for arrowheads (only) on federal lands, the Jimmy Carter Clause protects them from the severe ARPA penalties set forth above in 16 U.S.C. 470 (ee)(d).  Please note that the ARPA regulation at 43 CFR 7.3 (b) defines an arrowhead as “any projectile point which appears to have been designed for use with an arrow.”  Most of the prehistoric projectile points collectors pick up on the ground surface were never used on arrows.

Third, we now address the question: “Then does that mean artifact collectors can surface hunt for arrowheads illegally on federal lands and have blessed assurance that the Jimmy Carter Clause protects them from all arrests, prosecutions, fines, and imprisonments?”

The answer is an emphatic “NO.”  Clearly, the federal government believes artifact collecting on federal lands is wicked.  Either intentionally or unintentionally, it has laid a subtle trap for artifact collectors by omitting key language from the Jimmy Carter Clause.  As the Holy Bible says, “There is no rest for the wicked.”

The master ring for this trap is the term exemption, which means to cancel the applicability of a law or regulation in an official way. Exemption language is most often used when the text of a new federal statute or regulation conflicts with the text of already existing federal statutes and regulations. In such cases, the writers of the new statute or regulation often include specific text that exempts individuals, organizations, or other entities from certain conflicting requirements in the already existing statutes and regulations. The Congressional legal staff members who wrote the ARPA statute did not incorporate any exemption language for these other statutes and regulations into the text of the Jimmy Carter Clause [16 U.S.C. 470 (ee)(g)]. If the writers had incorporated exemption text into the Jimmy Carter Clause, it might read something like the following today:

(g) Nothing in subsection (d) of this section shall be deemed applicable to any person with respect to the removal of arrowheads located on the surface of the ground. To the extent that this statute is in conflict with already existing federal statutes and regulations, the text of subsection (g) shall supercede and nullify their applicability to surface collecting for arrowheads on federal lands.

The omission of such exemption language from the Jimmy Carter Clause might have been a simple mistake, or it might have been intentional. Who knows? Whichever the case might be, it is indeed absent from the law, and that absence alone is the root of the trap waiting for artifact collectors. If this omission was intentional, a famous farmer’s lament about 19th century federal land grants in Kansas would certainly apply to the situation: “The federal government has given it with one hand and taken it away with the other.”

Fourth, we now address the question: “In practical terms, what does the omission of this exemption language in the Jimmy Carter Clause mean for the person who illegally collects arrowheads on federal lands—and what exactly is this trap?”

Completely apart from ARPA, it means all other existing federal laws and regulations applicable to artifact collecting on federal lands remain in full force. For example, other federal laws and regulations make it illegal to trespass on, steal, or vandalize federal property. Arrowheads and other artifacts on federal lands are considered to be federal property. Indeed, according to the U.S. Department of the Interior, Bureau of Land Management, collecting archaeological resources, including arrowheads, on federal lands violates 43 CFR 8365.1-5(a)(1), the Antiquities Act of 1906, and Title18 of the United States criminal code.

If a person collects arrowheads, prehistoric ceramics, or other types of ancient artifacts on federal property, he is in violation of those other laws―regardless of what is stated in ARPA and its Jimmy Carter Clause. To reiterate, federal authorities can still legally nail a collector’s hide to the wall for violating any of the other federal statutes or regulations applicable to collecting arrowheads and other artifacts on federal lands because ARPA does not contain any exemption language that turns off the applicability of these other federal statutes and regulations. This is why surface hunting on Tennessee Valley Authority lands (and waters) and other federal lands (and waters) can get artifact collectors into really big trouble. Read that word “trouble” as fines and/or prison sentences.

In decades past, federal agencies had neither the will nor the manpower to enforce these other laws that are applicable to artifact collecting. As a result, convictions of collectors were often few and far between, especially here in the eastern United States. However, in recent years, this has been changing. Federal agencies such as the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have been specifically schooling their agency law enforcement officers on how to go about identifying and nailing artifact collectors on federal lands here in the East. What was once spotty and “hit or miss” enforcement has become a conscious, intentional, and highly focused effort to identify, arrest, and punish collectors who break the law. The U. S. National Park Service requires all federal agencies to complete and submit a standardized annual report (Questionnaire on Federal Archaeology Program Activities) about the cultural resource management activities on their lands and facilities, and this report is required to include a detailed summary of recent agency efforts to prevent looting of archaeological sites on agency lands and of their successes in prosecuting those who do the looting. Basically, the success of federal agency anti-looting and enforcement activities is being monitored and tracked annually. Whenever an agency activity is monitored and tracked, it creates increased pressure on the agency to perform and demonstrate positive results in terms of arrests, prosecutions, and convictions. This means that artifact collectors who violate federal laws applicable to artifact collecting on federal lands are now in more peril than ever before. As the old saying goes, “If you can’t do the time, don’t do the crime.” 

Unwritten Rules in Professional Archaeology – Part 2

Pass it on to your friends and colleagues.  This is the promised summary of all the unwritten rules in professional archaeology that were submitted to the Archaeology in Tennessee blog and the other excellent participating blogs (Doug’s Archaeology, Succinct Research, and SEAC Underground) by the deadline of midnight on July 14, 2014.  All together, we received 35+ unwritten rules. Interestingly, no one submitted rules anonymously by e-mail, but one person used their initials on a comment posted to a blog.  The names or initials of the submitters have been listed at the head of the unwritten rules they submitted (below).

The rules have been edited for language issues and clarity.  In some instances, an unwritten rule was a short discussion without a clearly defined rule as a heading for it.  In those instances, we distilled a rule from the discussion, gave it a number, put it in bold font, and used it as a heading.  Here is the list:

DOUG ROCKS-MACQUEEN

1. The Marshalltown trowel is the standard trowel.

Every archaeologist needs a trowel, but not every trowel is considered to be of professional quality. This is a United States rule and may be limited to the southwest, but I am pretty sure it covers all the states. When we say bring your own trowel, what we really mean is bring a Marshalltown trowel. Why? I don’t know. There is something to say about quality, but there are other brands that are quality too. For some reason, the gold standard in trowels is the Marshalltown in the United States. If you don’t have a Marshalltown trowel, expect to hear something about it from your colleagues.

2. Archaeological snitches don’t dig ditches.
Professional archaeology is a small field. Many employers will call around to see what sort of worker you are. This is a good way to keep the bad apples out. Unfortunately, this means that some people get unfairly blacklisted, or they keep silent about less than desirable activities for fear of losing their job. No one names names in public. In private, it is another matter.

3. A driver’s license is more important than a Ph.D. in heritage preservation archaeology.

This is mainly a United Kingdom thing, but it is starting to matter in the United States too. A driver’s license is worth more than a Ph.D. to get a job in commercial archaeology. Seriously, you could probably just send in a copy of your driver’s license instead of a curriculum vitae. It would save everyone some time.

4. Everyone digs in the field.

This might not be true of every company, but in my experience, when you are out in the field everyone digs, surveys, or whatever. It does not matter if you have a Ph.D. or high school diploma, 30 years of experience or 3 months, or you are a project manager or a lowly field technician. Everyone does every job―sort of. Of course, some people might be more skilled in one area than another, so they might do work in that area more often. However, everyone is expected to do every job, regardless of your background or position (physical disabilities preventing some work aside). If you do not do (or attempt to do) every job, you will not be asked back to work.

TERRY O’HAGAN

5. Don’t walk past someone’s full bucket with an empty pair of hands. Dump the bucket in the spoils pile for them. Pay it forward.

Simply put.  Be considerate of your fellow field workers.  Good team members think a couple of steps ahead and help out their fellow workers whenever they can.

ALICE WRIGHT

6. Stay away from the edge of an excavation unit.

When visiting or working at an archaeological site, stay away from the edge of an excavation unit―like a couple of feet away at least—at all times. Accidentally collapsing a profile is even worse than screening clay.

7. In inclement weather it is better for the field crew to get soaked than the excavation units.

When the wind picks up and the sky darkens, secure all of the paperwork and/or electronic equipment safely from the elements. Then grab a tarp, drag it over the excavation units, and tack it down―and make it snappy. If you follow this rule, it will probably be raining on your face. You may or may not be crying, but the archaeology will survive. (Note: Crew member health and safety always comes first in the event of inclement weather).

8. Field school—you gotta have it.

A couple of years ago, I met an undergraduate student who was a total rock star in the archaeology classroom. Unfortunately, he was also a student athlete, meaning all of his summers in college were taken up by sports practice. He could never fit a field school into his schedule. When looking for a job in archaeology after graduation, this proved to be a major challenge for him. At the end of the day, course work only gets you so far. You need to get experience in the field, and that starts with a field school.

Just as important, there are plenty of folks who might love classroom or laboratory archaeology, but they hate fieldwork. It is better to find out at a field school and be able to adjust your career planning accordingly rather than getting a degree in something you do not like.

9. If you have the chance, encourage your colleagues to visit the site, and pick their brains when they do.

Sometimes, multiple fresh eyes on an excavation are exactly what is needed to get out of a logistical rut or interpretive challenge. This past week, I visited the Berry site in Morganton, North Carolina, where several of my colleagues and mentors are currently excavating the remains of one of the earliest Spanish forts in North America. Apparently, they had just been visited by a handful of experts in southeastern and early colonial archaeology, and the results of their meetings had shed all sorts of new light on the project (not my place to go into here, but I am guessing it will make an appearance at SEAC-Greenville 2014 if you are interested). In a similar vein, earlier this month, I was fortunate enough to join a group of about 10 other southeastern archaeologists for the first pilot season of work on what promises to be a long-term research project in West Tennessee (again, something for interested people to keep their eyes peeled for at the SEAC meeting).

10. Collaboration among archaeologists may be the wave of the future in archaeology.

There is always the risk of having too many cooks in the proverbial kitchen in archaeology, but for my part, I found having so many different skill sets on my site in 2014 and so many people to think out load with to be a total game changer. My sense is that archaeology, at least research-based archaeology in the American South, has not always been so pro-collaboration, but I think “taking advantage of an archaeo-hivemind” is an unwritten rule for the future of archaeology―one that could yield stellar results.

DAVID CRANFORD, SHANE MILLER, AND JOHN KREBS

11. Summer visitors to archaeological excavations are expected to bring Popsicles, ice-cream sandwiches, or cold watermelon.

When you visit a summer field project, you are expected to bring Popsicles, ice-cream sandwiches, or cold watermelon, especially if you arrive at or just after lunch. Any flavor, color, or number of Popsicles or ice-cream sandwiches will do. Make sure you have at least one Popsicle or ice-cream sandwich for everyone and enough watermelons. More is better. Always carve the watermelons with a clean trowel.  If you visit at the very end of the field day, bring cold beer (suggested by commenter Smoke Pfeiffer at the Succinct Research blog).

SHANE MILLER

12. Archaeologists who are visitors at field school excavations need to have a positive attitude, treat students with respect, and be willing to help out if needed.

When you visit someone else’s field school, stay positive, ask the students questions (They are the ones digging, after all), and do not be above hauling buckets or screening dirt. In other words, avoid being an asshole.

JB

13. Thou shalt not comment derisively on the sharpness of another archaeologist’s trowel or the size of their feet.

We think there must be a great field archaeology story here.  We wish JB had told it to us, of course, without mentioning names and projects.  It would have been a good one.

MEL EDGAR

14. Field safety equipment must be worn by everyone―no exceptions.

Field supervisors: if you are going to make your archaeologists wear hard hats and visibility vests on site, make sure that you also wear them. (The Archaeology in Tennessee blog would like to say amen to that and emphasize that exemption from safety requirements is not a managerial perk in archaeology or any other discipline.)

15. Be considerate enough to locate field toilet facilities close to archaeological excavations.

If your company has you working 12-hour days, make sure the toilet facilities are located far less than 20-30 minutes walking distance away to ensure that all employees are able to secure properly restful break times. (With regard to this rule, the Archaeology in Tennessee blog refers those responsible for siting field toilet facilities to the last four words in the description of Unwritten Rule No. 12.)

ARCHAEOLOGY IN TENNESSEE BLOG

16. Do not barge into the field kitchen and filch morsels of food before dinner is served.

Some large archaeological projects have a field camp with living quarters, an associated field kitchen, and one or more field cooks. Such camps often have no air-conditioning, not even in the field kitchen where the stove tops and ovens have been running all afternoon to get ready for the evening meal. The cook staff knows you are tired and very hungry after a long day of field archaeology, and they are in sympathy with your plight. However, numerous people barging into the kitchen and filching morsels of food set out on counter tops adds extra body heat to the already hot kitchen, disrupts the food preparation process, poses sanitation issues, and slows the arrival of dinner time for everyone. Be considerate of the cook staff and your fellow archaeologists. Stash some late afternoon snacks of your own in your room or cabin.

17. Always be prepared to effectively and successfully hide the nonliving field mascot.

Loading a pickup truck or Chevy Suburban for a summer of field archaeology usually begins in a university storage room or museum basement. Sometimes archaeologists fall prey to the temptation to identify and take to the field an important item of material culture that will serve as a mascot to uplift crew spirits and build group unity. While this nonliving mascot might not be the Mona Lisa or Michelangelo’s David, it can be an object that will get the field crew into really big trouble if university, museum, or project dignitaries visit the field camp and take note of its presence. If you need to hide it quickly, an effective place to do so is in the white, rusted, 1956 deep freezer in the field kitchen. Just make sure it is not an object that would be damaged by the cold or surface condensation when you remove it. Take it out as soon as the dignitary leaves. Exhale! Thank your lucky stars! You have saved the project.  (Yes.  There is a story here, and the object’s nickname was Roderick.)

18. Your personality, demeanor, and overall interpersonal behavior with faculty members and fellow students really do matter in your university department.

Some first-arriving undergraduate and graduate students at university departments of anthropology and archaeology believe that their personality, demeanor, and behavior with faculty members and fellow students are irrelevant. After all, the university is offering a service (education), and the student is paying money in exchange for that service. It is a simple economic transaction: “Therefore, my personality traits and behavioral characteristics are none of their business.” Here is a word to the wise―lose the attitude and lose it fast. These factors do matter to both faculty and your fellow students. If you have some chip on your shoulder, an ax to grind, an abrasive personality, narcissistic tendencies, a conceited attitude, bad manners, or other such personal traits, it is going to work against you during your academic years. Only stupid people believe sociopathic behavior is a sign of strength and that it deserves admiration and respect. The faculty and your fellow students are not stupid people, and they are all watching you closely. As one professor said in the hotel cocktail lounge at the American Society for Physical Anthropology meetings in St. Louis (1976), “I don’t want to be remembered as the professor who let a monster like that loose into the profession.” As a student, the best thing you can do is to come into the department with genuine kindness, friendliness, and good manners―with an eagerness to learn. Graduate students should treat undergraduate students with kindness and respect. Professors should do the same with their students. Follow the age-old policy of “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” Your academic years will be kind to you, and they will be an enriching and memorable experience for everyone.

19. Do not repeatedly drop names in conversations with professors at your new university.

You have just received a B.A. in anthropology or archaeology and have arrived at another university to pursue a graduate degree in archaeology. Over time, in conversations with your new professors, do not repeatedly “drop the names” of the famous archaeologists you have studied under as an undergraduate. A number of archaeologists around the world and here at home have deep personal enmity with other archaeologists. You may not know who dislikes whom. Some professors are not above transferring that old grudge directly onto you if they see you as being too closely affiliated with an archaeologist they personally detest. Keep your focus on your new professors.

20. Academic archaeology is not always fair―it probably should be―but it is not as a matter of practice.

It was your creative idea. You did nearly all of the hard work in the field, laboratory, and library, including writing up 95 percent of the results for publication. You thought this was your big chance for solo authorship of an important article in a major archaeological journal. Suddenly, like a lightning bolt from the blue, your academic advisor, lead professor, or committee chairman is the lead author on the paper and you are relegated to co-author. This is a bit more common than one might think. From the honest perspective of some professors, having your name sitting next to his or her famous name on the “by line” makes you look like one really great up-and-coming archaeologist. You are the recipient of a great favor, and you get to share in their fame and glory. The professor gets to enlarge his curriculum vitae along with yours. However, whatever you do, avoid throwing a private or public hissy fit about the situation. It can easily get you kicked out of the program. Life is not always perfectly ethical or fair. It probably should be, but sometimes you have to just swallow hard and move on.

21. Do not unzip your fly and let it all hang out at a cocktail party―or an archaeological conference.

In the private sector business world, where I do a lot of my work, we have an unwritten administrative rule that is a commonly recognized element of professional conduct. A manager or supervisor must never belligerently confront an employee about the shortcomings of their work in front of their assembled peers. If correction is required, it is always discussed in private. Failure to do so is considered to be gross professional misconduct.

Many students present their papers at archaeological conferences, and for some it is their very first paper. Every once in a while, some archaeologist in the audience gets agitated and feels compelled to disagree with the content of a student paper by viciously reducing the student nearly to tears in front of the audience. You may think this is fun behavior and that you are doing the discipline some sort of favor. Most decent people in the audience see you as a rude clod with an unzipped fly and something hanging out of it. The words coming out of your mouth sound like fingernails on a blackboard, and almost everyone in the audience is wincing in sympathy with your target―not you. Ask your questions and make your comments calmly and respectfully. Keep your fly zipped at all times.

22. “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee’s archaeological ethics. This means you!”

A decades-old Al Jaffee fold-in cover on an issue of Mad Magazine shows numerous gray-haired grannies in long black dresses. All have shovels and are slaving away with bitter sweat on top of a humongous coal pile inside a Rustbelt factory with brick walls. A conveyor belt loaded with freshly baked cakes ascends to a high opening in the factory wall. Beneath the opening is a larger-than-life banner that reads, “Nobody doesn’t like Sara Lee. This means you!”

Assorted ethical principles, codes, and standards of practice exist in archaeology. As a matter of day-to-day practice in some quarters of the archaeological world, there seems to be the feeling that these principles, codes, and standards exist as hard and fast rules designed only for the purpose of keeping archaeology students and CRM archaeologists in line and on the archaeological straight and narrow.  However, if you are in academic archaeology and you have the three letters “Ph.D.” after your name, these principles, codes, and standards may somehow feel like they are not really quite made for you, somewhat wishy-washy, perhaps just lofty suggestions, certainly open to very broad interpretation, and you really never think about them all that much throughout an archaeological workday―not really―and maybe you have come to feel (perhaps without consciously noticing it) that your three-letter portion of the alphabet has somehow granted you a sort of wet noodle exemption from the ethical plane that has been laid for everyone else. Sara Lee insists that they apply to everyone. This means you!

23.  If you are an archaeologist who wants to visit some field excavations, but you are not already close friends with the Field Director, call first and make arrangements to visit.

If you are a professional archaeologist and the Field Director does not already know and love you as a close friend, please call first and make an appointment to visit the excavations.  Why?  It makes us damned nervous and self-conscious when such colleagues show up suddenly and unannounced.  Supervising an excavation crew is a highly focused chore, and it is sometimes hard to suddenly shift gears for unexpected visitors who have deep and incisive professional archaeology questions.  We would like to put our best foot forward at the site and be ready for your questions ahead of time.  This will make your visitation experience special and more informed,  The Field Director and crew will need less diazepam.

24.  When private citizens visit your site excavations, never treat them like interfering aliens who just stepped off a spaceship from Planet X.

Chances are high that your excavations are paid for in whole or in part by tax dollars.  The regular citizens who show up at your excavations worked hard for those tax dollars, and they buy that cold beer you enjoy at the end of a hot day in the field.  Respect that fact.  Be friendly.  Tell them about your excavations.  Show them a few example artifacts.  Thank them for their interest and support.  And whatever you do, do not behave as if you are uncomfortable with their presence and want them to leave immediately.  Some archaeologists still need to learn that you never bite the hand that feeds you.

25. When meeting with a member of the print or broadcast news media on some subject, be it an archaeological subject or your opinion on Jennifer Aniston’s new hairdo, never miss an opportunity to inject a slam against looters and the looting of archaeological sites.

This is something we have noticed across many years.  There is no written rule in archaeology that says to do this, but it is almost certainly an unwritten rule in professional archaeology because nearly every archaeologist does it in one way or another.  If they ask you about Jen’s new hairdo, It works something like this:

“Yes, I really love Jen’s new hairdo—even if Brad no longer cares.  Well…mostly.  Notice that gap in her hair on the left side?  That gap drives me crazy!  it looks just like that slithery trench a bunch of looters put into my archaeological site—tore the place all to pieces—wrecked the archaeological context.  It was just awful!!!”

BILL WHITE

Bill White at the Succinct Research blog has set forth 10 additional unwritten rules in professional archaeology for you, and his commenters have made some excellent comments on those rules. We were unable to copy and paste those rules and all of their internal links to our post here, but you can read all about them at the following URL:

http://www.succinctresearch.com/10-more-unwritten-rules-of-professional-archaeology/

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog would like to kindly thank everyone who participated in our attempts to identify unwritten rules in professional archaeology and thank those of you who have come here to read them. We almost certainly missed some unwritten rules along the way. If you think of any additional ones, let us know, and we will add them to the list.  Also, if we forgot or overlooked rules that you submitted, we apologize.  Please let us know about our error, and we will put them up.  If you disagree with any of the unwritten rules or just want to say a few syllables about them, please click on “Leave a reply” at the top of this post or send us an e-mail message to let us know what you think or how you feel.  Our e-mail address may be accessed by clicking on the “Contact” tab at the top of our main page.  Have a great day!!!

Get a Load of This Nonsense in Syria and Iraq

What we have here is premeditated and wanton destruction of major cultural resources on a grand scale in Iraq. Check this out:

http://news.yahoo.com/iraq-jihadists-blow-jonahs-tomb-mosul-official-220531959.html

In addition to these actions against ancient cultural resources, these ISIL morons who have taken over a large and very irregular swath of land in Syria and Iraq have announced the following:

1) All Christians in ISIL territory must convert to Islam. Those who refuse will have their heads whacked off by the sword.

2) They have issued a religious fatwa (edict) that all girls/women between the ages of 11 and 46 in ISIL territory must report to have their clitoris cut out.

In the days of Franz Boas, a post like this would have resulted in accusations that the Archaeology in Tennessee blog is being unfairly ethnocentric.  It would have been followed by this admonishment:

“We must understand that this is the unique traditional culture of these Sunni Arabic people going all the way back to around A.D. 700.  It is their unique cultural adaptation, and it works for them.  We must accept it for what it is and not be judgmental about it.”

No.  We do not care how old some of these cultural traditions are in certain places within the Arab world.  This is just plain crazy.  We here at the Archaeology in Tennessee blog judge it to be so, and we do not care what Franz Boas, Ruth Benedict, or Margaret Mead might have thought about it.  This stuff is just plain crazy.