39th Annual Meeting- Archaeological Discussion Group Business Session, June 2

The Archaeological Discussion Group (ADG), a working group of the Objects Specialty Group, has maintained a presence at the AIC annual meetings since 1998. This year’s meeting had roughly 25 people in attendance and was co-chaired by Susanne Grieve and Claudia Chemello. It began with an official review and approval of the 2010 meeting minutes. Conversation quickly moved to the content of the new ADG page found on the AIC website. A small group volunteered and was selected to compile a concise ADG mission statement.

The atmosphere of the meeting was casual despite being fast-paced. A series of “outreach tools” were discussed including the ADG webpage. Vanessa Muros, who is organizing the webpage, announced that she is accepting submissions of photographs of archaeological conservation to use on the page. AIC (through the ADG) is participating in “booth swaps” with the Archaeological Institute of America for the organizations’ respective annual meetings. Future booth swaps with the SAA and SHA organizations are also being considered. The ADG group hopes to create brochures/handouts to use as part of the ADG’s booth content at AIA starting next January 2012. This year’s “Day of Archaeology” is July 29th, and participation is open to all who work, study, or volunteer in archaeology including specialists like conservators – so check it out and contribute if you can!

Social media was discussed briefly, and the general consensus was that sites such as Facebook or Twitter are preferred platforms for general information for the public, while the wikis should be reserved for professional content. The group encourages fellow archaeological conservators to create and/or edit Wikipedia and Preservapedia entries on “archaeological conservation”. There was talk of using the AIC wiki page to organize a list of currently practicing archaeological conservators that work in the field. This would provide a way for conservators to connect with each other, and the co-chairs agreed that they would move forward with organizing such a feature on the wiki. The group is also concerned with making it easier for archaeologists to connect with conservators. To this end, it was agreed that the “Find a Conservator”[6] tool on the AIC website could be improved to include a checkbox for archaeological conservation fieldwork. However, this tool is only available for AIC members with Professional Associate or Fellow status and will thus be restricted to a large percentage of archaeological conservators who work in the field who do not yet qualify for this status.

The ADG group is considering an additional format to future meetings at the AIC annual conferences that would facilitate more interaction among those in attendance. The general concept would be a forum for interested individuals to share a brief overview of current fieldwork or projects. It might be modeled on “lightening-round” discussions where each speaker has ~5 minutes to summarize their work. I think this would be a great idea if there were enough time. Another idea might be an activity similar to the “tips” sessions that other specialty groups conduct at their meetings.