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The Philadelphia Story

Anthony J. Ranere

Arriving in Philadelphia early? Staying late? Need a break from the terminally serious session presentations? There are many things in Philadelphia to tempt you to go beyond the convention hotel.

History - The area around Independence Hall actually lives up to its billing as the country's "most historic square mile." (Begin with this website,, for an official guide to the area or try for a virtual tour of historic Philadelphia.) Independence Hall itself is worth a visit but there are many other attractions beyond the hall and the Liberty Bell. My favorite is Franklin Court, where you can stand underneath a steel skeletal structure which outlines Benjamin Franklin's house and peer through portals at the archaeologically exposed portions of the house underneath. You also can go underground to visit a museum with some interesting exhibits centered around Benjamin Franklin's life. Another favorite is the American Philosophical Society Library ( which counts among its seven million manuscripts the original 1804­1806 journals of Lewis and Clark. The three-block Independence Mall is getting a serious make-over with the construction of the new National Constitution Center, Independence Mall visitor center, and Liberty Bell pavilion. Preconstruction archaeological fieldwork may well be in progress at the time of the Annual Meeting so walk down Market Street to 6th Street to have a look. For the inside story on the archaeology of historic Philadelphia, look for the self-guided tour pamphlet prepared by the Philadelphia Archaeological Forum especially for the SAA Annual Meeting.

Museums - Many of you will end up visiting the University of Pennsylvania's Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology ( with its spectacular permanent galleries and always engaging special exhibits. Some will want to see at least some of the 200 galleries in the Philadelphia Museum of Art (free admission Sunday mornings). Other obvious museum destinations include those of the Academy of Natural Sciences, the Franklin Institute, the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, and Atwater Kent. Philadelphia also has museums for just about any subject imaginable: the African-American Museum, the American Indian Cultural Center of the Delaware Valley, the National Museum of American Jewish History, the Balch Institute for Ethnic Studies, the Polish American Cultural Center, the American Swedish MuseumI could go on. For the more adventuresome, Philadelphia offers the Eastern State Penitentiary Museum, the Mutter Museum (described as "An astonishing and bizarre collection of pathological and medical artifacts. Not for the squeamish"), and Wagner Free Institute of Science, where most exhibits have remained unchanged for over a century and include archaeological collections made by the indefatigable C. B. Moore.

Food and Drink - Not all SAA meeting goers have the time or inclination for sightseeing but we all have to eat and most of us drink. You need look no further than the Reading Terminal Market (, just up the street from the conference hotel, for daytime dining, snacking, and drinking. For more than a century, this market has been serving Philadelphians with high-quality produce of all kinds. With 26 restaurants/cafes, 8 bakeries, coffee, tea and juice bars, a beer garden, and other specialty food shops, you don't really have to go beyond the Reading Terminal Market during the daylight hours. The Amish run a number of stalls in the market; their hot, soft pretzelsmade on the spotare not to be missed. Check out the restaurant guide included in your registration packet for the best places in town to eat and drink, or if you want to plan ahead, check and/or any of the dozen or so Web sites which any search engine will locate on area restaurants. If fine dining is your passion, you owe yourself a visit to chef-owner Georges Perrier's perennial 5-star restaurant, Le Bec-Fin. You should call now to make a reservation [(215) 567-1000]. Elegant dining is also available at Brasserie Perrier, the Striped Bass, the Fountain at the Four Seasons, Circa, or Ciboulette. Also rated "best in class" (but a different class) are Pat's and Gino's (next door to each other at Passyunk and 9th Street), and Jim's (on South Street) for a Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich.

Here's a short list of brew pubs and just pubs worthy of a visit: Charlie's Pub (short on ambience but long on beer selection), Dock Street Brewing Company (several beers brewed on premises), John Patrick's Ale House (plenty of good microbrews on tap), Manayunk Brewery & Restaurant (fresh beer brewed daily), Sugar Mom's (good microbrews and subterranean ambience), Fergie's Pub (hands-down, the best Irish pub in the city). For serious drinkers on a low budget there's McGlinchey's Bar & Grill and, conveniently next door, the Copa Too.

Nightlife - Want to check out the Philly club scene, take in a show, hear the Philadelphia Orchestra, or just see a movie? Pick up a free copy of the Philadelphia Weekly ( or the City Paper (, both include up-to-date listings of events. Or you could head to Old City (roughly between 5th and Front Streets, Walnut and Arch) to explore the art galleries (open Friday evenings), engage in a little club hopping, or just settle down at Warmdaddy's (Front and Market Streets) and listen to the blues. If you like jazz you'll love Ortlieb's Jazz Haus (3rd and Poplar), a short cab ride from Old City or the Marriott Hotel. For the young and/or restless, a stroll down the lower end of South Streetwith its eclectic mix of shops, galleries, restaurants, bars, and clubsis a Philadelphia tradition. For a more upscale version of South Street, head to Main Street in the Manayunk section of the city.

Miscellany - Need to get the blood flowing in the right places after a day of sessions and a night on the town? There are miles of paths for jogging, bicycling, and roller blading in Philadelphia's 8,700-acre Fairmount Park which runs from the Benjamin Franklin Parkway up along both banks of the Schuykill River. The open air Italian Market along 9th Street is another one of Philadelphia's treasures. And should you tire of Philadelphia's charms, you are only an hour's drive from the Jersey Shore and the Atlantic City casinos. You also are only an hour's drive from the tranquillity of the Lancaster County countryside, home of the Amish. ·

Anthony J. Ranere, chair of the Annual Meeting 2000 Local Advisory Committee, is chair of the Department of Anthropology at Temple University in Philadelphia.

Annual Meeting Highlights -
Philadelphia 2000

Winifred Creamer

Get ready for an exhilarating intellectual wake-up call in Philadelphia! The 2000 Annual Meeting will include 18 sessions of presentations running concurrently, as well as poster sessions, workshops, roundtables, and exhibits. It is no mean feat to organize these into a single meeting, but well worth the effort. There are sessions on topics that will make you reexamine your ideas and work, and make you redouble your efforts in the field, the lab, and elsewhere. Archaeology is found everywhere and the events planned for the Annual Meeting reflect this. From an examination of the physical remains of the climber George Mallory on Mt. Everest, to paleobotanical analysis along the shores of the Atlantic Ocean in Cape May, New Jersey, an astonishing range of ideas, places, and techniques will be presented in meeting papers.

Winifred Creamer, program chair for the SAA 2000 Annual Meeting, is associate professor at Northern Illinois University.

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