News from OAC

OAC Government Affairs Committee Report, May 8, 2009

Mission and Duties Statement

Last spring, the Government Affairs Committee and the Board of Directors developed legislative priorities consisting of 1) enforcement and clarification of Ohio Revised Code [ORC] Section 149.53 regarding impacts of public improvements on archaeological and historic sites; 2) enactment of a state environmental protection act or a state historic preservation act; 3) revision of ORC 1514, industrial minerals mining permits; 4) protection of unmarked human burial grounds and abandoned cemeteries; and 5) revision of ORC 149.54 clarifying when a permit is needed to conduct archaeological investigations on state land and land  owned by a political subdivision of the state, and increasing the penalty for archaeological investigations on such land without a permit from the Ohio Historical Society from a misdemeanor to a felony.  These priorities are explained on the OAC’s website.  Over the winter, at the request of the Board of Directors, the Government Affairs Committee completed a mission and duties statement. 

Mission of the OAC’s Government Affairs Committee

In keeping with the purposes of the OAC’s 1975 Articles of Incorporation, which, in part, state that the OAC is to “provide consultation, aid and advice to any and all citizens and state and federal agencies,” the OAC’s Government Affairs Committee works to develop and advance the OAC’s legislative priorities, consults with government agencies, interested parties, and the public regarding the effects of government policies, regulations, actions, and projects on Ohio archaeology and archaeological resources, and provides leadership regarding the role of archaeology and archaeologists in civic affairs. 

Duties of the OAC’s Government Affairs Committee

The OAC’s Government Affairs Committee accomplishes its mission by:

  • Developing state legislative priorities in consultation with the OAC’s Board of Directors
  • Coordinating with other OAC committees on government-related issues
  • Communicating with the government affairs directors at the Ohio Historical Society and the Ohio Environmental Council
  • Participating in Statehood Day and its planning committee (currently serving on legislative priorities subcommittee)
  • Maintaining membership in the Ohio Environmental Council
  • Reviewing and responding to Ohio Environmental Council action alerts
  • Participating in the Ohio Environmental Council’s Lobby Day
  • Monitoring bills introduced into the Ohio General Assembly
  • Providing written and oral testimony on bills to the Ohio General Assembly
  • Communicating with the Archaeological Society of Ohio’s Director of Government Relations
  • Informing federal legislators of the OAC’s position regarding Congressional bills affecting archaeology
  • Informing federal agencies of the OAC’s position regarding agency rules, regulations, guidance, etc., affecting archaeology
  • Reviewing U. S. Army Corp of Engineers’ public notices (sent via email and the U.S. Post Office)
  • Requesting consulting party status on government projects
  • Accepting consulting party invitations from local, state, and federal government agencies
  • Otherwise consulting with local, state, and federal government agencies, State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers, and other consulting parties regarding the effects of government assisted projects on archaeological resources
  • Coordinating review and comment on bills, policies, guidance, CRM reports, etc. 
  • Monitoring various listserves dealing with archaeology and government affairs
  • Reviewing National Trust for Historic Preservation Public Policy Weekly bulletins
  • Reviewing Society for American Archaeology Government Affairs Committee reports
  • Serving on the American Cultural Resources Association’s Government Affairs Committee
  • Providing Government Affairs Committee reports to the membership at membership meetings and on the website.

Federal Government

American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009

The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA), better known as the economic “stimulus,” includes $2 million to build a museum collection facility for Hopewell Culture National Historical Park.  A complete list of National Park Service projects funded by the Act can be found at http://recovery.doi.gov/nps/.

All programs, activities, and projects funded through the ARRA/stimulus are required to complete environmental compliance, including NEPA and Section 106, before they are “shovel ready” and can be implemented.  On March 26, Al Tonetti represented ASC Group, Inc., at the American Cultural Resources Association’s CRM Lobby Day on Capitol Hill where ACRA firm members met with Federal legislators to explain the CRM industry’s role in environmental reviews and the work we do to get projects shovel ready.  We also met with Reid Nelson, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) Director of Federal Agency Programs, and Tom McCullough, an ACHP program analyst, to discuss how Section 106 reviews will be handled by Federal agencies and monitored by the ACHP. In the late afternoon, the group met with David Watkins, the Democrat’s staff director on the House Natural Resources Committee, to discuss Congressional oversight of agency compliance with environmental reviews for projects funded with stimulus money. Both meetings were very informative, and the ACHP and House Natural Resources Committee staff was very pleased to see and hear from ACRA member firms about our role in getting projects shovel ready.  A report about ACRA’s CRM Lobby Day can be found on ACRA’s website http://acra-crm.org

Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009

On March 30, President Obama signed into law the Omnibus Public Lands Management Act of 2009. This Act includes over 160 separate bills relating to public lands, national parks, historic sites and battlefields, conservation and wilderness designation, national heritage areas and corridors, and historic trails.  Among other things, the Act permanently authorizes the Preserve America and Save America’s Treasures programs. It directs the Secretary of the Interior to establish an acquisition grant program for nationally-significant battlefields and associated sites of the Revolutionary War and the War of 1812, and permits grants to state and local governments to pay the federal share of the cost of acquiring eligible sites from willing sellers. It extends the American Battlefield Protection Program until September 30, 2013.  The Act also establishes a permit system to excavate paleontological resources on Federal lands.

Preserve America Expert Panel Report Approved

On February 20, 2009, the ACHP voted to endorse the recommendations contained in the report from the expert panel that was formed to study the future of the national historic preservation program. This stemmed from the Preserve America Summit of 2006. The full report Recommendations to Improve the Structure of the Federal Historic Preservation Program can be viewed at http://www.achp.gov/docs/Expert%20Panel%20Report%20-%20Final.pdf.  Archaeology relevant summary of recommendations:

Natural Resource and Cultural Resource Programs Should Be Better Integrated: The expert panel proposes the creation of an Associate Director for Cultural Resources within the White House Council on Environmental Quality.

Federal Funding is Inadequate to Meet the Mandates of the National Historic Preservation Act: The expert panel recommends fully funding the Historic Preservation Fund and allocating additional funds to Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs).

The Section 106 Function is Lagging and Must Be Strengthened: The expert panel members strongly reaffirm that oversight of Section 106 of the NHPA is the most important function of the ACHP. ACHP involvement in individual Section 106 cases has a substantial and beneficial influence on the outcome of the consultation process and should be encouraged and expanded. Therefore, additional resources should be provided to support the ACHP’s crucial role in Section 106 involvement, oversight, and training.

ACHP Online Archaeology Guidance

The ACHP recently issued online Section 106 archaeology guidance.  It can be found at http://www.achp.gov/docs/ACHP%20ARCHAEOLOGY%20GUIDANCE.pdf.

 

State Government

Statehood Day

Seven Ohio Archaeological Council members were among the 200 or so Ohioans who attended Statehood Day on March 3.  The six legislative priorities addressed in meetings with our state legislators included:

• Increasing the state’s commitment to historic preservation by fully funding the state’s share of the Ohio Historic Preservation Office’s activities and strengthening state policies to encourage the preservation of more historic properties (the latter a legislative priority of the OAC).

• Investing federal economic stimulus dollars in Ohio in “shovel ready” historic preservation projects by establishing a Save Ohio’s Treasures grant program administered by the Ohio Historic Preservation Office.

• Establishing reliable sources of funding for the efficient management and preservation of state and local government records to ensure Ohio’s government remains open and accountable to its citizens, and evidence of its history is accessible to present and future generations.

• Establishing an income tax check-off to create a competitive grant program to fund local projects via historical, archival and historic preservation organizations throughout Ohio (HB 75; SB 60).  The House passed budget bill (amended substitute HB 1) would do so, but its fate in the Senate is in doubt.  Please contact your state senators ASAP requesting that this provision remain.

• Supporting the statewide Civil War sesquicentennial (2011–2015) initiative to increase civic pride and to recognize Ohio’s pivotal role and postwar legacy by investing in a grants program for communities and educational activities (recently the Governor issued an Executive Directive regarding this matter).

• Creating a dedicated pool of matching funds for school field trips to state and local historical societies and historic sites and incorporate National History Day into the Academic Olympics as part of Governor Strickland’s proposed education reform proposal.

  

SB 52 Reorganize State Government

Among other things, this bill seeks to transfer from the Ohio Historical Society to the Department of Education, Division of Cultural Resources, the State Archives, the Ohio Historic Preservation Office (OHPO), and historical sites and facilities maintenance.  The bill was introduced on February 17, 2009, and assigned to the State & Local Government & Veterans Affairs Committee, chaired by Senator Jim Hughes.  The sponsor of the bill is Senator Grendell, Chair of the Senate Judiciary and Criminal Justice Committee, and a member of the Chesterland (Geauga County) Historical Society.  The bill had a proponent hearing on May 5.  Although the OAC previously supported moving the OHPO to the Ohio Department of Development, we have not taken a position on this bill.

 

SB 93 War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission

On April 2, 2009, Senator Beuhrer and nine other cosponsors introduced a bill establishing the War of 1812 Bicentennial Commission, to be coordinated by Northwest State Community College in Archbold, Fulton County).  The bill was assigned to the State and Local Government and Veteran Affairs Committee, which held a hearing on the bill on May 5.  If you are interested in serving on this Commission, contact the Governor’s office of Boards and Commissions.  

 

Further State Budget Cuts to the Ohio Historical Society

The 2010-2011 state budget bill (amended substitute HB 1) approved by the House on April 29 boosted funding by $750,000 for historic sites and museums. However, this is not enough to restore funding for historic sites before recent state cuts.  As it now stands, the 2010-2011 budget cuts the Society's budget, especially in the area of site operations.  The proposed budget would cut funding to the Society to less than $11.5 million annually, down from $13.8 at the beginning of 2008. Funding specifically allocated to the state's 58 sites would be chopped from $8.3 million in 2008 to $6.1 million (about one-fourth) in fiscal year 2010, beginning July 1.  The Society is requesting that we contact our state legislators asking them to invest in Ohio’s history by adding $450,000 to the Society’s budget for historical sites.  Please go to www.ohiohistory.org and click on legislative update tools to get to the legislative action center, find your state legislator, and send a pre-written message regarding this matter.

 

Ohio Department of Natural Resources

An OAC member has asked the Committee to review the effectiveness of the Programmatic Agreement (PA) between the Ohio Department of Natural Resources (ODNR) and the OHPO pertaining to federally funded abandoned mine land projects.  The purpose of the PA is to streamline the way ODNR meets its Section 106 responsibilities, including involving the public and consulting parties.  We recently received a copy of the PA and are in the process of reviewing it.  We will request related documents, as necessary.  The current PA expires on December 31, 2009.

We are also inquiring about the ODNR’s and the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services joint program to use federal stimulus funds to develop a Resource Conservation Corps to conduct activities in state parks, forests, wildlife areas, and nature preserves similar to those undertaken by the Civilian Conservation Corps during the Great Depression.  We are concerned that some of the proposed construction and landscaping projects have the potential to affect historic properties archaeological in nature, and the projects may not have completed the necessary environmental reviews, such as Section 106 of the NHPA, to be considered “shovel ready,” a prerequisite for projects receiving stimulus funds.  Recent inquiries to the OHPO and the ACHP concerning the applicability of Section 106 to this program have gone unanswered.

Kennewick Man on Trial: A New Exhibit

 
Image courtesy of Sunwatch Prehistoric Village"Kennewick Man on Trial" is the focus of a new exhibit at SunWatch Indian Village in Dayton from 25 April to 21 June 2009.  Developed by the Burke Museum in Washington, the exhibition presents "various points-of-view on issues under debate, including federal law and Native American human remains, how people first came to the Americas, and changing ideas about race."

The Ohio Archaeological Council (OAC) was actively involved in the litigation surrounding Kennewick Man and many of its members are involved in research related to how people first came to the Americas.  The OAC encourages on-going public discussion about the issues at the heart of the Kennewick Man controversy and so we encourage you to visit the exhibit.  The Burke Museum website devoted to the "Kennewick Man on Trial" exhibit includes a list of further readings, but none of these are more recent than 1999.  The following summary includes a brief history of the OAC's involvement in the case along with a supplementary list of more recent and alternative books and articles related to Kennewick Man and how we know what we know about the very first Americans.

In 2002, the U.S. District Court of Oregon ruled that former Secretary of the Interior Babbit's decision to prohibit scientific study of Kennewick Man and repatriate the human remains to a coalition of Native American tribes under the provisions of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) was illegal. The District Court determined that NAGPRA did not apply to human remains of such antiquity, and permitted scientists to study the ancient skeleton. The Department of the Interior and a coalition of Native American tribes appealed the District Court's decision to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

At the request of OAC members Brad Lepper and Al Tonetti, the latter then Chair of the OAC’s Native American Concerns Committee, the OAC's Board of Directors decided to file an Amicus Curiae (Friend of the Court) brief with the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in support of the U.S. District Court's decision. Brad and Al worked with former OAC member and attorney Brad Baker, working pro bono, on the brief. The brief focused on standards of evidence used in determining cultural affiliation under NAGPRA.

In 2004, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the decision of the district court affirming that "Kennewick Man's remains are not Native American within the meaning of NAGPRA and that NAGPRA does not apply to them."  Scientific study of the remains of Kennewick Man has proceeded:  http://www.usatoday.com/tech/science/columnist/vergano/2006-02-27-kennewick-man_x.htm.

In 2005, Brad and Al again authored an Amicus Curiae brief in support of the Bureau of Land Management’s decision that there was no shared group identify between the 9,000-year-old Spirit Cave Man remains and the Fallon Paiute-Shoshone Tribe, who had requested repatriation under NAGPRA.  This brief is also available in the news archive on the OAC’s website.  The outcome of the Spirit Cave Man case remains uncertain:  http://www.friendsofpast.org/spirit-cave/.

SunWatch Musem webpage devoted to "Kennewick Man on Trial":

http://www.sunwatch.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=94:kennewick-man&catid=4:special-events&Itemid=8.

Burke Museum list of resources:

http://www.washington.edu/burkemuseum/kman/newsfurther.php.

 
 

SUGGESTED READINGS

KENNEWICK MAN: DISCOVERY AND CONTROVERSY

Websites

National Park Service, Kennewick Man

http://www.nps.gov/history/archeology/kennewick/.

Tri-City Herald's Kennewick Man website

http://www.tri-cityherald.com/kman/.

PBS, NOVA, Kennewick Man website

http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/first/kennewick.html.

Friends of America's Past, Kennewick Man website

http://www.friendsofpast.org/kennewick-man/.

Ohio Archaeological Council, Friend of the Court Brief in Kennewick Man case

http://www.ohioarchaeology.org/joomla/index.php?option=com_remository&Itemid=49&func=fileinfo&id=13.

 
 

Books

Benedict, Jeff

2003  No Bone Unturned: the adventures of a top Smithsonian forensic scientist and the legal battle for America's oldest skeletons.  HarperCollins, New York.

Burke, Heather, Claire Smith, Dorothy Lippert, Joe Watkins, and Larry Zimmerman, editors

2008 Kennewick Man: Perspectives on the Ancient One.  Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, California.

Chatters, James C.

2001  Ancient Encounters: Kennewick Man and the First Americans.  Simon & Schuster, New York.

Downey, Roger

2000  Riddle of the Bones: politics, science, race, and the story of Kennewick Man.  Copernicus, New York.

Thomas, David Hurst

2001  Skull Wars Kennewick Man, Archaeology, And The Battle For Native American Identity.  Basic Books, New York.

 
 

Articles

Gerstenblith, Patty

2002  Cultural significance and the Kennewick skeleton: some thoughts on the resolution of cultural heritage disputes.  In Claiming the stones/naming the bones: cultural property and the negotiation of national and ethnic identity, edited by Elazar Barkan and Ronald Bush, pp. 162-197.  Getty Publications, Los Angeles.

Lepper, Bradley T.

2002  Judge rules scientists can study Kennewick Man.  Mammoth Trumpet 18 (1):1-3, 18-19.  Available online at: http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-18/vol18_num1.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

2003  Native Americans appeal Kennewick Man decision.  Mammoth Trumpet 18 (2):1-3.  Available online at: http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-18/vol18_num2.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

2003 Kennewick Man ruling defended in U.S. Court of Appeals.  Mammoth Trumpet 18 (4):3, 10-11, 18-20.  Available online at: http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-18/vol18_num4.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

2003  Major decision: Kennewick Man case.  Mammoth Trumpet 19 (1):1, 3-4, 18-19.  Available online at: http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-19/vol19_num1.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

2004  Kennewick Man decision upheld by Court of Appeals.  Mammoth Trumpet 19 (2):1-2, 18-19. Available online at: http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-19/vol19_num2.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

2004  Kennewick Man still in legal limbo.  Mammoth Trumpet 20 (1):1, 15-16, 20.  Available online at: http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-20/vol20_num1.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

2005  Dept. of the Interior stands up for science.  Mammoth Trumpet 20 (4):1-5, 20.  Available online at: http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-20/vol20_num4.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

 

Owsley, Douglas W. and Richard L. Jantz

2002  Kennewick Man – a kin? Too distant. In Claiming the stones/naming the bones: cultural property and the negotiation of national and ethnic identity, edited by Elazar Barkan and Ronald Bush, pp. 141-161.  Getty Publications, Los Angeles.

Preston, Douglas

1997  The Lost Man.  New Yorker 73(16):70-81.

Seidemann, Ryan M.

2003  Time for a change? The Kennewick Man case and its implications for the future of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act.  West Virginia Law Review 106:149-176.  Available online at http://www.friendsofpast.org/pdf/seidemann.pdf; site last viewed on 14 January 2008.

 

NAGPRA: THE NATIVE AMERICAN GRAVES PROTECTION AND REPATRIATION ACT

Websites

Friends of Amerca's Past NAGPRA Website

http://www.friendsofpast.org/nagpra/.

National Park Service NAGPRA Website

http://www.nps.gov/history/nagpra/.

Society for American Archaeology Repatriation Archive

http://rla.unc.edu/saa/repat/.

 

Books

Weiss, Elizabeth

2008  Reburying the past: the effects of repatriation and reburial on scientific inquiry.  Nova Science Publishers, New York.

 

Articles

Hall, Teri R. and Jeanette Wolfley

2003  A survey of tribal perspectives on NAGPRA: repatriation and study of human remains.  The SAA Archaeological Record 3(2):27-34.  Available online at http://www.saa.org/publications/theSAAarchRec/mar03.pdf; site last viewed 16 January 2009.

Ousley, Stephen D., William T. Billeck, and R. Eric Hollinger

2005  Federal legislation and the role of Physical Anthropology in repatriation.  Yearbook of Physical Anthropology 48:2-32.

Seidemann, Ryan M.

2003  Congressional intent: What is the purpose of NAGPRA?  Mammoth Trumpet 18(3):1-2, 19-20.

http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/mammoth/issues/Volume-18/vol18_num3.pdf; site last viewed 10 February 2009.

2006 The reason behind the rules: the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979 and scientific study. bepress Legal Series.  Working Paper 1874; available online at:  http://law.bepress.com/expresso/eps/1874/; site last viewed 14 January 2009.

2008  Altered Meanings: the Department of the Interior’s rewriting of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act to regulate culturally unidentifiable human remains" ExpressO; available online at: http://works.bepress.com/ryan_seidemann/2; site last viewed on 14 January 2009.

Springer, James W.

2006  Scholarship vs. repatriation.  Academic Questions 19(1):6-36.

Walker, Phillip L.

2000  Bioarchaeological ethics: a historical perspective on the value of human remains.  In Biological Anthropology of the human skeleton, edited by M. Anne Katzenberg and Shelley R. Saunders, pp. 3-39.  Wiley-Liss, New York.

 

ARCHAEOLOGY AND THE PEOPLING OF THE AMERICAS

Websites

Center for the Study of the First Americans Website

http://www.centerfirstamericans.com/.

Friends of America's Past Earliest Americans Website

http://www.friendsofpast.org/earliest-americans/.

Ohio Historical Society, Virtual First Ohioans: Paleoindians

http://66.195.173.140/gallery2/main.php?g2_itemId=40.

Paleoindian Database of the Americas

http://pidba.utk.edu/main.htm.

Simon Fraser University, Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology, "A Journey to a New Land" Website

http://www.sfu.museum/journey/sitemap.php.

 

Books

Adovasio, James

2003  The First Americans: In Pursuit of Archaeology's Greatest Mystery.  Modern Library, New York.

Bonnichsen, Robson, Bradley T. Lepper, Dennis Stanford, and Michael R. Waters, editors

2006  Paleoamerican origins: beyond Clovis.  Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas.

Dillehay, Thomas D.

2000  The settlement of the Americas: a new prehistory.  Basic Books, New York.

Dixon, E. J.

1999  Bone's, boats, and bison.  University of New Mexico Press, Albuquerque.

Lepper, Bradley T. and Robson Bonnichsen, editors

2004  New perspectives on the First Americans.  Center for the Study of the First Americans, Texas A&M University Press, College Station, Texas.

Meltzer, David

2009  First Peoples in a New World: colonizing Ice Age America.  University of California Press, Berkeley.

Powell, Joseph F.

2005  The First Americans: race, evolution, and the origin of Native Americans.  Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.

Storck, Peter L.

2006  Journey to the Ice Age: Discovering an Ancient World.  UBC Press, Vancouver, British Columbia.

Ubelaker, Douglas, editor

2006  Handbook of North American Indians, Volume 3: Environment, Origins, and Population.  Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, D.C.

Wyatt, Valerie

2008  Who Discovered America? Kids Can Press, Toronto.  Learning Resource Material at http://www.kidscanpress.com/assets/w_WhoDiscoveredAmerica_1945/PDFs/WhoDiscoveredAmerica_1945_teaching.pdf; site last viewed on 15 January 2008.

 

Articles

Adovasio, J. M. & David Pedler

2005  The peopling of North America.  In North American Archaeology, edited by Timothy R. Pauketat and Diana DiPaolo Loren, pp. 30-55.  Blackwell, Malden, Massachusetts.

Brace, C. Loring

2002  Background for the peopling of the New World: Old World roots for New World branches.  Athena Review 3(2):53-61, 103-104.

Brumble, H. David

1998  Vine Deloria Jr, creationism, and ethnic pseudoscience.  Reports of the National Center for Science Education 18:10-14.  Available online at http://ncseweb.org/rncse/18/6/vine-deloria-jr-creationism-ethnic-pseudoscience; site last viewed, 14 January 2008.

Colavito, Jason

2006  Who really discovered America?  Skeptic 12(3):50-55.

Dillehay, Tom D.

2009  Probing deeper into first American studies.  Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 106(4):971-978.

Dixon, E. James

2001  Human colonization of the Americas: timing, technology, and process.  Quaternary Science Reviews 20:277-299.

2002  How and when did people first come to North America?  Athena Review 3(2):23-27, 99. Available online at: http://www.athenapub.com/10Dixon.htm; site last viewed, 9 February 2009.

Goebel, Ted, Michael R. Waters, and Dennis H. O'Rourke

2008  The late Pleistocene dispersal of modern humans in the Americas.  Science 319:1497-1502.

Malakoff, David

2008  Rethinking the Clovis.  American Archaeology 12(4):26-31.

Schurr, Theodore G.

2002  A molecular anthropological perspective on the peopling of the Americas.  Athena Review 3(2):62-75, 104-108.

 

 

 

South Dakota Governor Responds to OAC Appeal

In response to the OAC's recent letter opposing the closure of the South Dakota Archaeological Research Center, the Governor of South Dakota sent a reply to President Simonelli announcing a renewal of funding for Archaeology.   Read the letter from Governor Round.

Theft of Copper Celt From Cahokia Mounds

 The following is a notification from Cahokia Mounds Staff regarding the recent theft of a copper celt that was on display at the Museum. The missing celt is shown below.
 

 
 We recently discovered that a copper celt (axe) had been stolen from one of our exhibit cases. The thieves apparently were able to compromise the security of the case at the "Fiber" display. It was solid copper, 5 3/4 inches long, 2 1/2  inches wide, and 7/8 inch thick. One side had fabric impressions on the surface caused by the copper oxidizing and incorporating the pattern of the cloth or bag in which it originally had been wrapped. There was a catalog number on it, 19x862. Please keep an eye out for this axe and if you see it or something similar for sale, please contact us. This comes at a time when we are understaffed due to budget cuts, but we are taking special steps to make sure all the cases are more secure. Other than some minor vandalism, this is the first artifact theft at the Interpretive Center in the 20 years since it opened.


William R. Iseminger
Asst. Site Manager/Public Relations
Cahokia Mounds State Historic Site
30 Ramey Street
Collinsville, IL 62234
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Web: www.cahokiamounds.com"

OAC Comments on Closure of South Dakota Archaeological Research Center

 

Governor Mike Rounds

Office of the Governor

500 E. Capitol Ave.

Pierre, SD 57501                                                                                

 

February 16, 2009

 

RE: Proposed closure of the South Dakota Archaeological Research Center (SDARC)

 

Dear Governor Rounds:

We wish to take this opportunity to add our voices in support of the fine work that the South DakotaArchaeologicalResearchCenter has done for the State of South Dakota in the past 30 years.

We recently read with some concern about the proposal to close the SDARC because of budget cuts caused by the current economic downturn.  While we certainly understand the need to reduce spending, it is our understanding that the archaeology program’s current FY2009 budget includes only $309,000 in general funds from the state, while pulling in $110,000 in federal grant money, and $1.5 million in earned revenues.  For FY2010, the amount requested from the state’s general fund for the SDARC was only $290,917.  Eliminating this program would seem to be a “penny wise but pound foolish” approach to mitigating the state’s budget problems; closing the SDARC will most likely result in unnecessarily long and costly delays in private and public construction projects in South Dakota.

The SDARC is responsible for conducting much of the archaeological work that is required under federal regulations, including the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).  It is likely that without the SDARC, much of this work will go to out of state contractors.  The program also handles the reviews of permit applications under state law for mineral exploration, a process that would have to be taken over by qualified individuals in other state agencies, at an additional cost to those agencies.

The SDARC has been required to handle all unintentional discoveries of human graves in the state.  This responsibility often requires consultation with affected Native American tribes over very sensitive issues.  The SDARC has been building relationships with tribal representatives for the past decade; successful consultation often relies on the trust established on the basis of these relationships.

Finally, we urge you to remember that archaeological sites are non-renewable resources that provide people with a sense of pride in their heritage.  From an economic standpoint, several studies have shown that tourists rank museums and other historical sites (including archaeological sites) among their top destinations for family vacations.  Visitors to these types of destinations tend to stay longer and spend more money than other kinds of tourists.

We hope you will take another look at the plans to close the SDARC and thank you for your time and consideration.

 

Sincerely yours,

Lynn M. Simonelli, M.A.

President, Ohio Archaeological Council


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