Pros and Cons of Professional Archaeologists Consulting and Collaborating with Artifact Collectors

The Archaeology in Tennessee blog would like to kindly and respectfully call to your attention the just issued November 2015 edition of the The SAA Archaeological Record, which is a bimonthly magazine publication of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA). For our many readers who are not professional archaeologists and might not know, the SAA is the primary membership organization for professional archaeologists working in the western hemisphere, which of course includes the United States, Canada, Mexico, Central America, and South America. This month’s edition of The SAA Archaeological Record contains a series of articles organized and edited by my colleagues and friends Dr. Bonnie Pitblado in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, Oklahoma, and Dr. Michael Shott in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Akron in Akron, Ohio.  All three of us share a research interest in the potential for increasing future consultations and collaborations between professional archaeologists and responsible artifact collectors. The overall set of eight different articles by various authors is entitled Pros and Cons of Consulting Collectors.  You may read these excellent articles, including one by our very own and dearly beloved Dr. Robert Connolly at the University of Memphis, in the following PDF file:

The SAA Archaeological Record Nov 2015

Pages 37 and 38 in the concluding article by Bonnie and Mike are devoted to a section entitled Where Can (Should) We Go from Here.  It ends with six bulleted items describing actions that can be taken by a future SAA Interest Group or by any individual archaeologist to further advance ethical relationships between professional archaeologists and artifact collectors.  Bullet 6 reads as follows:

Embrace mechanisms that introduce collectors and professional archaeologists to one another, so they can learn first-hand what each has to offer. Tracy Brown, a private sector archaeologist in the southeastern U.S., recently launched a blog called “Can Artifact Collectors and Archaeologists Find a Way to Get Along and Collaborate More?” with the tagline “Exploring the Chances for Mutual Reconciliation, Peace, and Cooperation” ( Brown’s blog features sections devoted to topics such as “Collectors Submit Questions to Archaeologists” and vice-versa, and it offers a productive way for nervous professionals and collectors alike to stick a toe in the water and get to know one another.

The indented quote above is our formal and very cordial invitation to all of you professional archaeologists and artifact collectors in Tennessee, the United States, and throughout North America and South America to visit the new blog at the link in bold gray above, get to know each other, respond to the 10 calls for information input to the blog, and discuss whatever thoughts and concerns you might have. We need your participation for this blogging effort, and the word “participation” means we need you artifact collectors and professional archaeologists to actually use your typing fingers to write in your questions and thoughts on the blog pages. When you get to the blog, just click on one or more of the 10 requested information categories in the wide, black band on the Main Page; suspend your fingers above your keyboard; and start writing under the categories.  An example entry is shown under each category to give you a general feel for the kinds of things you might write. Write anything you like. There is no word limitation.  Write a little or write a lot about what concerns you.  It is all up to you.

Finally, for all of you CRM archaeologists, archaeology graduate students, and archaeology undergraduate students out there who are perennially paralyzed with fear that your name might appear on something even remotely associated with the Archaeology in Tennessee blog, you can use a fake name to post responses instead of your real name when posting on the Can Artifact Collectors and Archaeologists Find a Way to Get Along and Collaborate More? blog.  We need your input too because you and what you think are important to us.  Let me repeat that.  You and what you think are important to us.  If the SAA is not afraid of catching our cooties, there is no reason for you to be afraid.  Truth is, despite what your boss might think, we actually do not have any cooties.  We are just genuinely human, very casual, and dedicatedly informal here—admittedly a little fun and somewhat weird at times—and we are not at all afraid to talk about difficult or traditionally forbidden issues in Tennessee archaeology or American archaeology.

Come on over to the new blog and help us out with this national communications and research effort in American archaeology.  The link to the new blog, once again, is as follows:

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