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Public Education Committee

An Update

Teresa L. Hoffman, Jon Czaplicki, and Dan Haas

Among the many activities of the Public Education Committee (PEC), those of two subcommittees are highlighted in this issue. With its focus on long-term and ongoing opportunities for partnerships among SAA and Native Americans, the Native American Education subcommittee recently completed the second in a series of workshops for Native American educators. The Archaeology Week subcommittee encourages state involvement in archaeology education programs, and facilitates this through printed guides and a web page for state coordinators, as well as sponsorship of a poster contest at the Annual Meeting. PEC also is pleased to offer the first in a short series of thematic articles that explore issues related to the use of "simulated digs" or real excavations in public archaeology programs on page 9. For more information on the SAA PEC and its activities, contact committee chair Shereen Lerner via email at

The SAA 1998 Native American Educators Workshop Teaching with Archaeology: Building Curriculum, Building Bridges

A second archaeology education workshop designed specifically for Native American educators was held from August 2-6, 1998, in the foothills of the Great Smoky Mountains of North Carolina. Sponsored by SAA, the workshop was cohosted by Western Carolina University and the Cherokee Tribal Museum on the Eastern Band of the Cherokee reservation. Financial support was provided by the Bureau of Reclamation's Washington, D.C., Native American Affairs Office (NAAO), the Lower Colorado Region NAAO, the Phoenix Area NAAO, Reclamation's Denver Programs and Analysis Office, and the National Park Service (NPS) Archeology and Ethnography Program.

"Teaching With Archaeology: Building Curriculum, Building Bridges" was designed for Native American educators in grades K-12, with an emphasis on grades 4 through 12. Sixteen educators, the majority Native American, spent five days working with three archaeologists/educators, Jeanne Moe, Margie Connolly, and Rebecca Hawkins, from the SAA PEC. Moving between the classroom and the field, instructors and teachers reviewed existing archaeology curriculum materials that dealt with the scientific methods of archaeology. They explored ways to adapt these materials to meet their classroom needs for teaching math, science, art, deductive reasoning, and other skills. Visits to the Cherokee Tribal Museum and an archaeological site provided opportunities for discussions on museums and their roles in archaeology education, treatment of human remains, and why archaeology is done.

The Cherokee workshop is the second of what SAA PEC envisions to be a multi-year series of workshops for Native American educators. A pilot workshop was held in 1997 at Haskell Indian Nations University in Lawrence, Kansas. The Haskell and Cherokee workshops are based on proven archaeology education materials developed by the Bureau of Land Management (Intrigue of the Past) that foster give-and-take discussion between instructors and participants. This format encourages consideration of sensitive issues related to teaching archaeology in Native American classrooms and provides opportunities to explore differing views and ideas.

For more information on the workshops and activities of the Native American Education subcommittee, contact chair Jon Czaplicki, (602) 216-3862, email

Archaeology Week Subcommittee Offers Support for State Coordinators and Event Sponsors

In 1998, 43 states held an archaeology week or month celebration, reflecting the tremendous popularity of this outreach program in bringing archaeology to the public. The Archaeology Week subcommittee was created to raise awareness and provide guidance and support to states challenged with initiating and sustaining a program.

A major activity of the subcommittee is to coordinate the archaeology week or month poster contest at the SAA Annual Meeting. The contest is cosponsored with the State Network subcommittee and the Council of Affiliated Societies and highlights the important contributions of states in informing and educating the public about preserving and protecting archaeological resources. State participants are recognized by the SAA president at the award ceremony during the business meeting. The 64th SAA Annual Meeting in Chicago will be the fourth year for the contest. More than 30 states participated in Seattle; the first-place prize was awarded to Wyoming.

The subcommittee continues to work in partnership with the Archeology and Ethnography Program of the NPS in sharing information with state coordinators and maintaining a web page. NPS recently updated the publication, State Archaeology Weeks: Interpreting Archaeology for the Public, which incorporates recent information about state programs and recommended improvements. This information was shared with the state coordinators and will be used by the subcommittee to identify future actions. The NPS website displays the winning posters from the contest, presents a special feature on the first-prizestate, and lists state archaeology week or month schedules and contacts with links to the state web site.

Finally, members are working on a guide for state coordinators that will outline how to create and implement a program best suited to a state's unique situation. Topics will include organization, sponsorship, publicity, events, and ethics. The guide also will be useful to local sponsors in planning events. It is anticipated that a series of forums or workshops will be offered at appropriate professional meetings based on these topics.

The Archaeology Week subcommittee will continue to explore ways to better serve states in carrying out their programs. Four issues in particular that are currently being addressed include (1) developing strategies to fund a coordinator position, (2) finding long-term financing, (3) expanding publicity, and (4) offering more diverse and creative events. Contact chair Dan Haas to let the subcommittee know of your issues and concerns. He can be reached at National Park Service, Archeology and Ethnography Program (2275), 1849 C St., NW, Washington, DC 20240, (202) 343-1058, email

Teresa L. Hoffman is with Archaeological Consulting Services, Ltd., Tempe, Arizona; Jon Czaplicki is with the Bureau of Reclamation-Phoenix Area Office, and Dan Haas is with the National Park Service.

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