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Seattle Program in the Works

Jon Driver

By the time you read this, the abstract deadline will have passed, and the program committee will be in the midst of reviewing abstracts and developing a schedule of symposia for the 63rd Annual Meeting in Seattle. We hope to mail letters of acceptance shortly before Christmas. In September you can expect a "sneak preview" brochure on the meeting, however, including housing information. We must produce a preliminary program for the printers by the end of October, and this will be mailed to members after Christmas. The preliminary program will include a list of symposia, forums, workshops, and roundtable lunches, in addition to all the information needed to register for the conference and to book hotels. At the time of writing (early July) we have a structure for the opening and plenary sessions, to be held on Wednesday and Friday evenings, respectively. Both sessions reflect aspects of life and archaeology in the Northwest.

As in most parts of North America, much of the archaeology now being undertaken in the Northwest is conducted by consulting archaeologists, and the opening session has been organized by two archaeologists from the private sector--Lynn Larson and Dennis Lewarch. They have tackled the difficult task of finding a representative sample of archaeological research. While we expect the archaeology of the Seattle area and Washington state to dominate, both Oregon and British Columbia also will be represented. Plan to attend and discover the contrasts of doing archaeology in coastal rain forests and interior sagebrush.

As I write this in July, British Columbian forests seem to contain more Greenpeace demonstrators than grizzly bears, and there is a fine dispute in progress between Canada and the United States over fishing rights to salmon. Environmental issues have a direct impact on the lives of many people in the Northwest, and this is reflected in the theme of the plenary session organized by Joseph Tainter. Speakers from different parts of the world will look at the role of archaeology in tackling contemporary environmental problems. This session will be useful for anyone who has been asked to justify the practical value of archaeological research and will perhaps open our eyes to the potential importance of the research we undertake.

We are trying something different in Seattle with the roundtable lunches. Attendance at these events has suffered because of the cost of the food. We have decided to seek sponsorship for lunches from university departments and consulting companies. A donation of $100 per table would reduce the price of the food considerably, thus encouraging more students to attend the informal discussions. If your company or university department has received a letter from the program committee about this, please consider making this small donation for the purpose of stimulating a lively discussion. We will also be looking for individuals to lead these discussions, so you may be hearing from us about that, too.

We anticipate a lively meeting in Seattle, and hope to see you there in March.

Jon Driver is chair of the Program Committee for the 1998 SAA Annual Meeting.


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