|WAC January 2011 eNewsletter - Volume 36|
|Monday, 31 January 2011 18:28|
Executive News, News from WAC Members, News Items, Excerpts from Other Archaeological Associations' Newsletters
Volume 36 January 2011
Editors: Shoshaunna Parks and Marisol Rodriguez Miranda
1. Executive News
Regional Council meeting for African members of the WAC Council, in Dakar, Senegal
People who attended the WAC regional meeting came from Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Nigeria, South Africa and Uganda. Four persons (3 Nigerians and 1 Ugandan) paid to become members of WAC. Others were informed about sponsored membership if they choose to opt for it and were also informed that they could pay membership fee through their regional representatives who would ensure that the payments get to WAC.
The meeting discussed African participation in WAC Congresses and events. The main concern of people present was the ability of African people to attend WAC conferences. They were informed that almost all Africans who applied for funding to attend WAC-6 received support. There were also questions on applying for funds to attend conferences other than those of WAC. Information was provided to the effect that there is a sub-committee responsible for such applications, and that such funding is advertised on the website. The meeting was also told that applications should not be sent directly to the President, as this does not follow WAC procedure. It was also suggested that students in African universities should be encouraged to participate in WAC activities.
A corner was secured for WAC where the banner with WAC logo was displayed and WAC brochures placed on a table. WAC African Council representatives who were present were Jonathan Aleru, Didier Ndah and Ndukuyakhe Ndlovu, as well as Dr Obare Bagodo, the former junior representative for West Africa.
Vacant Positions for African Representatives on the WAC Council Filled
Lower Jordan River Levee, Tasmania, Australia
All the best,
Claire Smith, for the Executive
2. News Items
WAC GLOBAL LIBRARIES PROGRAM NEEDS YOUR HELP!
The WAC Global Libraries Program is actively working to develop the archaeological literary collections of economically-disadvantaged institutions--but we can use your help.
PERSONAL-HISTORIES PROJECT: FILMS NOW STREAMING ONLINE
Four films of the Personal-Histories Project, founded by Dr. Pamela Jane Smith, to record archaeological memories, are now being streamed online by Cambridge University and are instantly available all over the world! This project is unfunded at the films are produced by volunteers from the Personal-histories Unit, a collective of UK undergraduates and postgraduates from Cambridge University, Goldsmiths in London, Bristol University's Media and Archaeology MA, the London Institute of Archaeology's Ph.D programme and from Anglia Ruskin University. The films are good fun and are used as a research archive and as teaching aids at many universities worldwide now.
COMMITTEE ON ETHICS MEMBERS MEETING IN BOGOTA: AGENDA ITEMS REQUESTED
Several members of the WAC standing Committee on Ethics will be getting together in Bogota, Colombia at the very end of January 2011, hosted by committee co-chair, Alex Herrera. This opportunity arose when three committee members traveling to Bogota to participate in a Wenner-Gren workshop were able to extend their stays. The agenda for the get-together includes discussion of the role and goals of the Committee on Ethics, plans for WAC7 and intervening InterCongresses, and follow up on initiatives proposed to or by the committee, including the development of a collection of case studies illustrating ethical issues and dilemmas related to archaeological practice in various global and local contexts.
PETROGLYPH DATING – DRY AND WET METHODS
In late Oct-Nov, 2010 we adapted our pictograph dating technique to petroglyphs (see earlier issues of WAC Newsletter or http://http-server.carleton.ca/~bgordon/Journal/Web_Journal.htm). We recovered organic dating material, hammerstone chips and rock ‘flour” (from pocking and grinding) in thin soil slices under the art on Gabriola Island, British Columbia, and Coso National Monument, China Lake Naval Air Weapons Range, California. We assume chips and flour fell to the artist’s feet, making the art datable. After removing surface debris and disturbed strata, we rough-filtered rootlets, pebbles and larger hammerstone chips in a kitchen deep fryer basket, letting smaller hammerstone chips and flour pass through to a nested fine kitchen sieve. Flour and fine sediment pass the sieve to a water-filled basin where silt and clay are repeatedly decanted off. If damp soil or clay balls clog the sieve, a nested plastic or metal bowl partly filled with water allows soil, sand and flour to pass with stirring. The residual flour and fine sediment is separated by fine wet sieving or particle settling in a 4-5 ft. long vertical PBS pipe tapered to a test tube. Hammerstone chips differ from natural and cultural flakes in being chunky, of different material and whitish from shock lines, while flour particles are even whiter and flat. Both exemplify the artist’s floor, especially if hammerstone chips are flour-coated. AMS-datable organic fragments in the sieve are tweezered into labeled aluminum foil pouches.
HOLTORF KEY-NOTE SPEAKER AT 40TH NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGY CONFERENCE, THE NETHERLANDS
Cornelius Holtorf (Linnaeus University, Kalmar, Sweden) was the key-note speaker at the 40th Reuvensdagen, the annual National Archaeology Conference in the Netherlands, held at Rotterdam, 11-12 November 2010. His lecture, entitled "Search the past - find the present: The value of archaeology for present-day society" (online version available at http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:360654/FULLTEXT01), was presented to an audience of some 600 participants.
In advance of future publications on related issues he welcomes any kind of comments (send to cornelius.holtorf(a)lnu.se).
3. New publications by WAC members
LIVING HISTORIES: NATIVE AMERICANS AND SOUTHWESTERN ARCHAEOLOGY
Come visit us at the Society for American Archaeology Meeting in Sacramento in April and at the WAC Intercongress in Indiana this summer! We look forward to seeing you…
Coming soon (and available for preorder!):
This is the first volume to introduce the data, theory and methodology of contemporary archaeological work in Japan and other parts of East Asia archaeology in English to western audiences. It also introduces a new theoretical concept to archaeologists interested in the relationship between ancient cultures—coexistence. Archaeologists traditionally examine the boundaries between different cultural groups in terms conflict and dominance rather than long-term, harmonious adaptive responses. Chapters in this book cover evidence from burials, faunal and botanical analysis, as well as traditional trade goods. It is of interest to archaeologists conducting research in East Asia or studying intercultural interaction anywhere around the globe.
Indigenous Peoples and Archaeology in Latin America
This book is the first to describe indigenous archaeology in Latin America for an English speaking audience. Eighteen chapters primarily by Latin American scholars describe relations between indigenous peoples and archaeology in the frame of national histories and examine the emergence of the native interest in their heritage. Relationships between archaeology and native communities are ambivalent: sometimes an escalating battleground, sometimes a promising site of intercultural encounters. The global trend of indigenous empowerment today has renewed interest in history, making it a tool of cultural meaning and political legitimacy. This book deals with the topic with a raw forthrightness not often demonstrated in writings about archaeology and indigenous peoples. Rather than being ‘politically correct,’ it attempts to transform rather than simply describe.
Handbook of Postcolonial Archaeology
This essential handbook explores the relationship between the postcolonial critique and the field of archaeology, a discipline that developed historically in conjunction with European colonialism and imperialism. In aiding the movement to decolonize the profession, the contributors to this volume—themselves from six continents and many representing indigenous and minority communities and disadvantaged countries—suggest strategies to strip archaeological theory and practice of its colonial heritage and create a discipline sensitive to its inherent inequalities. Summary articles review the emergence of the discipline of archaeology in conjunction with colonialism, critique the colonial legacy evident in continuing archaeological practice around the world, identify current trends, and chart future directions in postcolonial archaeological research. Contributors provide a synthesis of research, thought, and practice on their topic. The articles embrace multiple voices and case study approaches, and have consciously aimed to recognize the utility of comparative work and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the past. This is a benchmark volume for the study of the contemporary politics, practice, and ethics of archaeology.
Now Available in Paperback:
Handbook of Landscape Archaeology
Being and Becoming Indigenous Archaeologists
This is a sampling of WAC-sponsored titles. To order or for more information on additional WAC-sponsored titles, visit our website at: http://www.lcoastpress.com/
EAC OCCASIONAL PAPERS
EAC OCCASIONAL PAPER 1: THE HERITAGE MANAGEMENT OF WETLANDS IN EUROPE
In November 1999, at the inaugural meeting of the Europae Archaeologiae Consilium, a symposium was held on the Archaeological Heritage Management of Wetlands in Europe. In the discussion, delegates emphasized the urgent need to forge much closer links with nature conservation interests, and especially with the international Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. This volume brings the two aspects together through papers on concepts and legislation relating to archaeology and nature conservation in Wetlands, and with papers presenting regional reviews, case studies and related topics. The volume concludes with an overview and recommendations for future action, and a response by the EAC setting out a broad strategy for the heritage management of wetlands in Europe.
Brussels 2001, 207 pp, with illustrations, Language: English, French, German, € 15
EAC OCCASIONAL PAPER 2: EUROPE’S CULTURAL LANDSCAPE: ARCHAEOLOGISTS AND THE MANAGEMENT OF CHANGE
The second Europae Archaeologiae Consilium Symposium (March 2001, Strasbourg) was devoted to landscape management in recognition of the new European Landscape Convention (Council of Europe, 2000). Arising from the Symposium, this book highlights the important archaeological and historical depth of the European landscape sometimes overlooked by decision-makers in comparison to ecological and aesthetic aspects. It describes opportunities and obstacles that affect the landscape’s sustainable management, and shows how heritage managers can support the Convention by helping to understand and promote landscape as a core element of Europe’s common heritage. A key message is that archaeologists need to take account of the growing democratic interest in the landscape, and to work alongside other disciplines in pan-European landscape projects.
Brussels 2002, 234 pp, with illustrations, Language: English. Abstracts in English, French, German, € 22
EAC OCCASIONAL PAPER 3: LISTING ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, PROTECTING THE HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE
In March 2008 the Ninth Symposium of the Europae Archaeologiae Consilium was held in Tàrgoviste,
Brussels 2009, 169 pp, with illustrations, Language: English, French, € 38, ISBN 978-90-579-9144-8
EAC OCCASIONAL PAPER 4: HERITAGE MANAGEMENT OF FARMED AND FORESTED LANDSCAPES IN EUROPE
Some 40 per cent of Europe is farmed and 47 per cent forested. The future of the majority of Europe’s archaeological sites therefore depends on rural land uses that lie outside the spatial planning and development control systems of its various nation states. This volume, produced by the European Association of Archaeologists (EAA) and Europae Archaeologiae Consilium (EAC) Joint Working Group on Farming, Forestry and Rural Land Management, examines the challenges posed by agriculture, forestry and other rural land uses in terms of the long-term conservation of Europe’s archaeological sites and the management of its historic landscapes. Profusely illustrated and with contributions from no fewer than 13 different European countries, the volume will be essential reading for anyone concerned with contemporary heritage management, policy-making and legislation.
Publication date: January 2010, Distribution: Archaeolingua, Budapest
Copies of the books can be ordered from:
4. Conferences and Opportunities
INDIGENOUS PEOPLE AND MUSEUMS INTER-CONGRESS
Please consider attending and presenting at the WAC Inter-Congress, Indigenous People and Museums: Unraveling the Tensions, to be held in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA from 22-25 June 2011. The Inter-Congress is co-sponsored by the Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art and the Museum Studies Program of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI). Proposals for sessions, papers, posters, workshops, or other activities can be submitted either by e-mail (firstname.lastname@example.org) or by using a form on the Inter-Congress web site (http://wacmuseums.info). Conference registration begins on 15 January with lower early registration rates available until 22 April. WAC members receive a discounted registration rate. For detailed information about the Inter-Congress, please look at the web site http://wacmuseums.info. With questions, please e-mail Larry Zimmerman at email@example.com.
Each proposal will be considered by the Inter-Congress Academic Committee, which is headed by Dr. Julie Hollowell of the Intellectual Property in Cultural Heritage (IPinCH) project.
Additional committee members include:
BE AN ARCHAEOLOGIST FOR A DAY IN IRELAND
Experience a sense of excitement and discovery. Take part in a real research excavation. Team up with expert archaeologists to excavate the 13th century Dominican Blackfriary in Trim, Co. Meath, Ireland.
- Uncover archaeological finds buried for hundreds of years,
Excavations from May to September 2011
For more information visit our website www.culturaltourismireland.ie or contact us by email at info@ culturaltourismireland.ie or by phone at +353 1 2968190. See also out website for kids - www.digitkids.ie
DIG IN IRELAND IN 2011
The Irish Archaeology Field School is Irelands leading provider of university accredited, site based archaeological research and training. The ethos of the school is to provide an opportunity for students and enthusiasts of archaeology and anthropology to experience at first hand the excitement of archaeological excavation within an established research framework. Excavations are undertaken in a research environment led by a team of highly qualified and experienced archaeologists using the most sophisticated technologies, including GPS topographical survey, geophysics, photo-planning and more. In addition to the archaeological excavations, an extensive programme of cultural activities is on offer, including tours of historic sites, folklore, reconstructions, re-enactments, language, music, food and more.
The 2011 research programme will focus on archaeological excavations at the 13th Century Dominican Friary at Blackfriary (Trim), the 12th Century Cistercian Abbey at Bective, and the prehistoric enclosure at Rossnaree (Brú na Bóinne World Heritage Site), Co. Meath, Ireland. The programme will run over a sixteen week period from the 23rd May to the 9th September 2011.
2011 LAPITA PACIFIC ARCHAEOLOGY CONFERENCE:
VI PAMPEAN REGION ARCHAEOLOGICAL CONGRESS (VI CAPRA)
The Congreso de Arqueología de la Región Pampeana Argentina (Pampean Region Archaeological Congress) provides a forum for the debate on the study of human societies that occupied the Pampas of South America for more than 10,000 years. The sixth edition of this congress will take place in the Facultad de Ciencias Naturales y Museo, La Plata National University (La Plata city, Buenos Aires Province, Argentina) in September 20-23, 2011.
Papers could be presented in Symposiums, Communication forums and Posters sessions. Abstracts submissions will be open until April 4, 2011.
Communication forums will take in related papers that were not included in the Symposiums topics. Sessions details, abstract submission guidelines, information on travel and accommodation, as well as registration forms are available at: http://www.zita-congress.gr/49/article/greek/49/4/index.htmcarpa6.com.ar
For further assistance please send an email to the Planning Committee for the VI CARPA (mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org).
THE 11TH INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM: CULTURAL HERITAGE IN GEOSCIENCES, MINING AND METALLURGY LIBRARIES – ARCHIVES – MUSEUMS
Mexico City, Pachuca and Real del Monte, Hidalgo, Mexico
Sponsored by the National University of México (UNAM) through the Historical Archives of the Palace of Mines of the Faculty of Engineering, The Historical Archives and Museum of Mining (AHMM, A.C.),and with the support of the Development of Archives and Libraries of Mexico (ADABI de México), and The International Committee for the Conservation of the Industrial Heritage Mexico (TICCIH México).
The International Symposium of Mining Cultural Heritage and Earth Sciences: Libraries, Archives and Museums (Erbe Symposium) was held for the first time in Freiberg, Germany in 1993 upon the initiative of Doctor Peter Schmidt, who was working at the antique backlist of the Freiberg Mines Academy library, and Doctor Lieselotte Jontes, Director of the Library of the Technological University of Leoben, Austria. Other disciplines have been added throughout ten symposia held in Europe and America, such as archaeology and anthropology, in order to understand the cultural impact of mining in places where diverse minerals and metals were exploited.
México is one of the main silver producers in the world. The wealth generated by the exploitation of this metal was one of the main resources of the Spanish Crown during the Viceroyalty of New Spain. The Real del Monte and Pachuca mining district is one of the oldest in México and has a rich history. It was characterized by its great production of silver metals and by the social movements led by miners, as well as for introducing and applying major technological advances throughout history. During the 1800’s this district experienced the introduction of steam pumps, first acquired at Cornwall, England, and subsequently, during the 1880’s, at Freiberg and Chemnitz, Germany. By the end of the 1800’s and beginning of the 1900’s, electricity and the cyanide ore treatment process were first used in the mines of the mining district.
The Erbe Symposium will go from Freiberg to México City, where the first mining academy of America was established, then to Pachuca, site of the Historical Archives and Museum of Mining, these archives posses the largest mining archives in México (1616-2002); and then to Real del Monte, where we can find the legacy of the mining work of the region in mining museums and traditions.
Summaries shall be sent by postal mail to: Acervo Histórico del Palacio de Minería, Tacuba 5, planta baja. Centro Histórico, C.P. 06000 México, D.F., MEXICO. Telephone numbers: ++ 52 / 55 / 56 23 29 92 and 56 23 29 93
11TH NORDIC THEORETICAL ARCHAEOLOGY GROUP (TAG) CONFERENCE
The 11th Nordic Theoretical Archaeology Group (TAG) conference will be arranged by Linnaeus University at Kalmar, Sweden, 26-29 April 2011. The theme of the conference is Multidisciplinary Archaeology, inspired by the work of Carl Linnaeus whose name was chosen for Sweden’s newest University, Linnaeus University.
More information about the conference is available here: http://lnu.se/about-lnu/conferences/11th-nordic-tag-multidisciplinary-archaeology?l=en.
Welcome to Kalmar next April!
FELLOWSHIP COMPETITION WITH AMERICAN RESEARCH CENTER IN SOFIA, BULGARIA
The American Research Center in Sofia , Bulgaria, offers three programs with accompanying fellowships for the academic year 2011-2012: a Fall term program (September-November 2011) focusing on the history and archaeology of Bulgaria and neighboring countries, from prehistory to the present day; a Spring term program(February-April 2012) focusing on the history of religion in Bulgaria and neighboring countries; and a nine-month program (September 2011-May 2012) which incorporates both Fall and Spring term programs. The programs combine a formal academic curriculum with independent research. ARCS hosts the programs' lectures and seminars; organizes related study trips; facilitates opportunities for taking Bulgarian and other Balkan language classes; and provides logistical support and access to local libraries, museums, and other educational institutions.
The Center engages the participants with eminent local scholars relevant to the field of their study and makes arrangements for specialized research at local institutions. Further details about these programs are available on the ARCS webpage (www.einaudi.cornell.edu/arcs) and the ARCS facebook group page (http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=106253216070705.
5. News from other archaeological associations (used with permission)
5 (a) SALON
Salon 246: 13 December 2010
Moscow Architectural Preservation Society calls on Medvedev to halt legal changes
Even more challenging than the task of persuading the Church Commissioners to reconsider their position is the campaign, also supported by prominent Fellows (including Adam Wilkinson, Director of Edinburgh World Heritage), to persuade Russia’s President, Dmitry Medvedev, to think again over proposed amendments to Federal Law No. 163864-5. Those amendments, says the Moscow Architectural Preservation Society, which is leading the campaign, will legitimise the practice of the ‘reconstruction’ of historic monuments, involving the demolition of the original and its replacement by a modern ‘replica’.
In a letter to the President, the signatories say that rebuilding and redevelopment in the name of reconstruction has already led to the loss of more than 2,000 historic buildings in Moscow, including 200 listed architectural monuments, and that many hundreds more have been lost in Russian cities beyond the capital. The letter expresses particular concern for St Petersburg’s historic cityscape, so well preserved throughout the Soviet period, and reminds the President that Russia was once renowned for its restoration schools, ‘famous for meticulous work on the palaces around Leningrad after the Second World War, which created a new generation of skilled craftsmen and restorers’.
The letter reminds the President that Russia has ratified the 1972 UNESCO Convention Concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage which, based on the Venice Charter of 1964, does not allow reconstruction, and it requests the President to veto the proposed amendments laid out in white paper No.163864-5.
5 (b) African Diaspora Archaeology Network
In this project I employed a multidisciplinary approach involving ethnographic and reconnaissance surveys to investigate, identify, and classify potential New Oyo empire sites as cultural heritage resources. The New Oyo empire was located in southwestern Nigeria about 130 km south of the Old Oyo, and 55 km north of Ibadan. Following the decline of the Old Oyo empire in 1837 the New Oyo developed and shared similarities with facets of the Old Oyo. Yet, the New Oyo empire was distinct from its predecessor as a result of environmental changes, relocation, and shifts in urbanization. My work here reveals that a number of the cultural heritage resources of Yoruba-speaking people and the New Oyo empire have not been investigated or otherwise suffer neglect. This study therefore identifies and classifies a number of cultural heritage resources of the New Oyo with a desire of showcasing such sites as important heritage resources within Nigeria. These cultural heritage resources can play important roles in our current engagement with the history of Nigeria as impacted by the trans-Atlantic slave trade over several centuries.
African and Africanist Archaeologists Voice Their Support of Anthropology at Howard University
President Sidney A. Ribeau is in the middle of deliberations regarding the future of anthropology at Howard University. After announcing on September 23, 2010 that he is considering closing the undergraduate majors in anthropology and African studies, among other majors and programs, he set aside a period of discussion and requested responses and suggestions from students and faculty. We are just coming out of this period and are waiting for the announcement of his final decision. We expect to hear news in January 2011.
The last few months on campus have been a whirlwind of town hall meetings, visits by deans and the Provost to departments, and constructive discussions within the Howard community. During this process and in response to the President's announcement, the anthropology faculty submitted a document that highlighted the strengths of our program and the benefits we bring to Howard University in terms of research, funding, and service. As part of our contributions, we highlighted the projects and collections within our department that focus on the archaeology and bioarchaeology of Africa and the African Diaspora. Our program is well known due to the New York African Burial Ground Project. We also house the W. Montague Cobb Human Skeletal Collection. In addition, faculty direct projects such as the Buffalo Soldiers Archaeological Project, the Walter C. Pierce Park African American Burial Ground Project, and the Nicodemus, Kansas, Birth of an African American Town Archaeology Project. The archaeological projects in Africa include the James Island, Gambian Slave-Trading Site Project and work done on trade in the 19th century between the British and the Xhosa in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
Number of Blacks Earning Doctorates Reached an All-time High in 2009
According to the National Science Foundation, in 2009 there were 2,221 African Americans who earned doctoral degrees from U.S. universities. This was the highest number of doctorates awarded to blacks in any single year. African-American doctoral awards increased by a healthy 10.1 percent from 2008 to 2009. Since 2005, black doctoral awards are up by 23.5 percent.
African Americans won 4.5 percent of all doctorates awarded in the United States last year. If we exclude foreign students, we find that African Americans made up 6.9 percent of all U.S. citizens or permanent U.S. residents who earned doctorates.
Blacks earned 947 Ph.D.s in scientific fields, up from 825 in 2008, an increase of nearly 15 percent. Another 1,274 African Americans earned doctorates in non-scientific fields. Many of these doctorates were in the field of education.
On Eve of the International Year for People of African Descent, UN Secretary-General Calls for Final End to Racism
As the United Nations system gears up to celebrate 2011 as the International Year for People of African Descent, Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon delivered an impassioned plea today to the world community to eradicate racism once and for all.
"The international community cannot accept that whole communities are marginalized because of the colour of their skin," he told an event at UN Headquarters in New York to launch the Year. "People of African descent are among those most affected by racism. Too often, they face denial of basic rights such as access to quality health services and education. Such fundamental wrongs have a long and terrible history.
"The international community has affirmed that the transatlantic slave trade was an appalling tragedy not only because of its barbarism but also because of its magnitude, organized nature and negation of the essential humanity of the victims."
"Even today, Africans and people of African descent continue to suffer the consequences of these acts," he added, calling for their full integration into social, economic and political life and at all levels of decision-making.
The General Assembly proclaimed the Year in December 2009 in a resolution citing the need to strengthen national actions and regional and international cooperation to ensure that people of African descent fully enjoy economic, cultural, social, civil and political rights, to advance their integration into all political, economic, social and cultural aspects of society, and to promote a greater knowledge of and respect for their diverse heritage and culture.
"As the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms, 'all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights,'" Mr. Ban said. "If we are to make those words real, then we must eradicate racism once and for all. The success of the International Year requires concerted efforts across the United Nations system and at the regional and national levels, with the widest possible engagement and participation."
Also addressing the event was the Assistant Secretary-General for Human Rights, Ivan Simonovic, who said the International Year offers a unique opportunity to redouble efforts to fight racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance that affect Afro-descendents in all parts of the world.
Philadelphia Site Honoring Washington and his Slaves Ready for Dedication
After more than eight years of street demonstrations, arguments, haggling, and missed deadlines; after unprecedented public debate about the impact of slavery on life in Philadelphia and the United States and on the life and moral character of George Washington; after thousands of news articles, feature stories, and TV and radio programs, the site marking the intertwined lives of presidents and slaves is set to open to the public with a simple ribbon-cutting at noon Wednesday.
It may be snowing or raining. It may be bitterly cold. The public may be distracted by the holidays. President Obama will not be there on Independence Mall. No matter.
"It's either the end of the beginning or the beginning of the end," said Randall Miller, a professor of American history at St. Joseph's University who has been involved for the whole length of the winding, bumpy road leading to the doorway of the President's House.
"Finally, the public will get to weigh in," he said, on whether the memorial has found the right balance in evoking two presidents and commemorating nine slaves.Clay Armbrister, Mayor Nutter's chief of staff, called the site virtually iconic at birth.
Not only does it define the small piece of ground at Sixth and Market Streets where Presidents Washington and John Adams lived, but it focuses on the enslaved Africans held by Washington at the house, which was largely demolished in 1832. Behind the site, a few feet from the Liberty Bell Center's entrance, an enclosure of glass, wood, and steel commemorates the nine.
"The installation in and of itself will do what educational exhibitions are meant to do -- provoke thought and debate -- and I think there will be a lot of thought and debate," Armbrister said. Cynthia MacLeod, superintendent of Independence National Historical Park, acknowledged that mid-December was not the best time to open, but "to have it finished and not bring some attention to that would be unfortunate," she said.
"The exhibit really brings to the fore this dichotomy in our country of freedom and slavery," MacLeod said. "The Declaration of Independence at that time did not mean everyone. It took the Civil War to abolish slavery, and the civil-rights movement of the 1960s to make civil rights more of a reality in addition to freedom." [Read the full article online at the Philadelphia Inquirer web site.]
5 (c) Prehistoric Society of Zimbabwe (PSZ)
Conference Report:13th Congress of the PanAfrican Archaeological Association for Prehistory and Related Studies (PAA) & 20th Meeting of the Society of Africanist Archaeologists (Safa), November 1-7, 2010, Dakar, Senegal
African archaeology has moved from being considered a “trivial pursuit of western antiquarians” by many scholars to a discipline that is now “truly African”, challenging all preconceptions that the continent had no history, renowned archaeologist Prof Merrick Posnansky said in his keynote address to the first joint meeting of Africa’s major archaeological associations in Dakar. As he said, “These are not the high-powered thematic meetings of specialised groups, but the assembly of scholars who are joined by an interest in Africa’s past.” Perhaps his comments were inspired by the resolutions expressed in the first circular, where the organisers hoped “that this 13th Congress will be a unique moment to recast and consolidate the role and place of the PanAfrican Congress in the definition of a new humanism which will have as its ethos the preservation of the heritage of cultural diversity”. The conference sought to highlight the contribution of archaeology and its related disciplines to the development and elucidation of Africa’s past; in light of this aim, it was a success. The Dakar meeting of Pan African Archaelogical Association (Panaf) and Society for African Archaeologists (SAfA) was the first joint meeting since the two bodies were formed in 1947 and 1971, respectively, and they have agreed to hold another joint meeting in Johannesburg in 2014. Around 250 to 300 people attended the conference, in line with previous events, but the next venue promises an even larger future event in the continent’s archaeological powerhouse.
The conference, for the most part, ran smoothly. A total of 55 formal sessions and two poster displays were held over two and a half days making it very difficult for one to attend everything that might have been of interest. The organisers compensated for this by having six of the venues in close proximity allowing delegates to hop from one paper of interest to another. It would have been better, however, had the conference been allowed a full third day to reduce the crowding on the schedule and allowing presenters a few more minutes for discussion of their papers. Unlike many other conferences, the PAA uses both English and French as its main languages. Our French colleagues are to be admired for making the effort to have bi-lingual presentations, often speaking in French but having their slideshows in English. Some lessons there for the 2014 meeting. Delegates heard of work being undertaken across the continent, from Western Sahara to Somaliland, as well as war-torn regions such Sierra Leone and Guinea. Presentations from Southern and Western Africa dominated many sessions perhaps reflecting the continued strength of research traditions there. As with past conferences Central Africa was almost unrepresented although James Denbow reported on work in the Republic of Congo from 1987-1993, highlighting how multinationals have ridden roughshod over environmental impact issues in the name of development. He charted his team’s efforts to get ahead of tractors engaged by Shell BP for the planting of eucalypts along the Loango Coast, once home an ancient kingdom, which was chronicled by early travellers. Much of the focus at the conference was on the megaliths in the host country and the Diepkloof Rock Shelter in South Africa (150km north of Cape Town), which continues to push the Middle Stone Age sequence back from 300 000BC currently. Rock art enjoyed three sessions that highlighted the incredible diversity of not just the continent’s art but the range of approaches employed by investigators. Particularly fascinating were those attempts by researchers to relate the art to living cultural traditions or historically known groups; not all were convincing but provided useful fodder for future analysis and interpretation. The Shashe-Limpopo Valley was the focus of several papers both examining the major site of Mapungubwe and varied sites in the area. Zimbabwe had three papers presented, all focusing on Matabeleland; two were on later Matabele history and one on management issues in the Matobo Hills World Heritage Site.
Useful links: http://www.panafprehistory.org/index.php/;
5 (d) Aga Khan Trust for Conservation (AKTC)
Burje Wazir, Kabul
5 (e) European Association of Archaeologists
Review of EAA’s 16th Year
Thanks to the involvement of more than a thousand of colleagues, the European Association of Archaeologists has completed its 16th - and I dare say the most successful - year of its existence:
- The EAA Executive Board, chaired by the new President, Friedrich Lüth, has introduced a number of changes in the yearly time schedule of the Association, both in terms of internal Board meetings and in dates concerning EAA members directly.
Next Issue: March 2011
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