Where in the hell am I?

April 11, 2011

US CRM archaeology in the news

Filed under: archaeology — John @ 6:52 pm

I recently added a search column for #archaeology on Twitter. A lot of it is retweets of the same links but occasionally someone has a cool blog link on there, or a link to a local news story that would never make the national papers. After all, it probably doesn’t have a gay caveman angle…and props to John Hawks and Kristina Killgrove for speaking out so loudly and getting noticed by the national press, through their blogs!!!

First is a really neat story about an Archaic site in New Mexico. The work is done by the Museum of New Mexico, but it is CRM, as the story makes clear: “Evidence of the site was uncovered when work was being done to the state land just off of the highway. The crew’s work is part of the environmental survey required before construction can take place.”

I like this article because it touches on what CRM work is, doesn’t sensationalize the find, uses extensive quotes from the lead investigator, and talks about the next steps for the project. I also like that the Archaic is getting a little love in a state known for the Clovis and Folsom type sites, and the Anasazi and Mogollon cultures.

Finally, a story about a Middle Archaic burial found in Des Moines, Iowa (note: the sidebar is not very Firefox friendly). This story is not as good as the Las Cruces article, largely because of repeating common mistakes in order to explain things. For example, writing “projectile points more commonly known as arrowheads” does the reader a disservice, and loses a chance to educate the reading public about the difference between arrow technology and dart technology, which would have been the case for a Middle Archaic site. Honestly, it’s not just a matter of semantics or nitpicking. If you called a Roman chariot an automobile, you’d be wrong, even though both had wheels and were used as a means of transportation.

Anyway, forgive the cranky archaeologist, what I found most interesting about this article is what is missing: how could a site of this magnitude slip under the radar in a publicly-funded project?

The article is not clear whether this site was discovered by the construction project, or just the burial associated with the site. Post-review discoveries happen, and it’s possible that there was a huge mitigation at the site, and this burial was just off the main excavation area. If there was no archaeology done or the project was rushed, well, things like this are why my job exists! The article states that the find is going to delay construction by at least six months, add a million+ dollars to the cost, and possibly cause the project to miss an important state and federal funding deadline. Due diligence by a CRM firm will likely catch that site before construction proceeds, assess the level of significance and help develop a proper mitigation plan. It’s gonna cost money, and it’s gonna take time, but at least you can prepare for that…and you can even try and work around it.


1 Comment »

  1. […] US CRM archaeology in the news « Where in the hell am I? […]

    Pingback by US CRM archaeology in the news « Where in the hell am I? – _Hosted UniverseThe reference for the cloud — April 12, 2011 @ 5:06 am

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