Archaeological Discussion Group Meeting Agenda Friday, May 14 co-chaired by Claudia Chemello and Susanne Grieve

The Archaeological Discussion Group met the second time at this year with participation of more than 50 conservators in a small meeting room at the Hyatt Hotel’s Crystal room on the last day of the conference. The meeting is carried out with co-chairs Claudia Chemello and Susanne Grieve who are working with Emily Williams, the previous chair of the ADG. Claudia, who is the Senior Conservator at Kelsey Museum of Archaeology circulated and talked about the results of the survey that was distributed on the OSG-L. These survey responses are to be posted online in the future. The survey reflected conservators’ opinion on various kinds of aspects of archaeological conservation from finding an archaeological site to compensation issues. Majority of the survey responses showed that conservators preferred the discussion of the group continue on the OSG-L, but Claudia mentioned that the ADG listserv archives would still exist.

The agenda of the meeting included the identification of the group, how we get support, how we connect with archaeologists and promote conservation in archaeology. As for the financial support, there seemed to be no budget allocated to perform some of the tasks the group needed to do. Some of the outreach was carried out by group participants’ individual efforts. It was agreed that there was a need to have a booth in various archaeological conferences, print brochures to be distributed among archaeologists and their meetings, organize workshops geared towards archaeologists. All agreed that it would be good to learn individual conservator efforts to connect with archaeologists. One particular effort was Suzanne Davis’s work from the University of Michigan, who, with Claudia talked to archaeologists and conservators to design a survey in order to map out what archaeological conservators do in excavations and to understand what archaeologists need in terms of conservation. This survey is still in its design stage and will include two parts: one for conservators and the other for archaeologists. Another one is Julie Unruh’s work in which she organized a workshop session at AIA. Molly Gleeson chaired a conservation session at the Society for California Archaeology meeting, where she brought together conservators in that region to meet with archaeologists, an effort that is well received by some archaeologists and Native American tribal communities. In an attempt to understand some of the conservation issues faced by archaeologists, tribal members and other individuals working with California sites and artifacts, a conservation questionnaire was created.

The co-chair Susanne Grieve, who is a conservator and instructor for the Program in Maritime Studies at East Carolina University, mentioned the Internet as a tool for outreach. Rachael Arenstein, the AIC e-editor, and Vanessa Muros from the AIC publications committee supported the ADG’s intent of electronic publishing. Suggested electronic media included Wikipedia, facebook, and a blog presence on web.

The meeting participants asked questions and made comments about Claudia and Susanne’s efforts. One of the suggestions was to publish in archaeological literatures to get the conservation name out there. However, the most interesting suggestion, at least according to me was one question came from the audience about why we do not invite archaeologists to co-present a session at AIC. I recently watched the movie Invictus on my flight back to LA and intrigued by Madiba (as Nelson Mandela is called) who said “If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner.”