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TCharles R. McGimsey III—Hester A. Davis Distinguished Service Award (McGimsey-Davis Distinguished Service Award)


The Charles R. McGimsey—Hester A. Davis Distinguished Service Award is presented in recognition of the service of a Registered Professional Archaeologist to achieving the mission of the Register of Professional Archaeologists as evidenced by a single action or through a lifetime of elevated service. The 2014 recipient of the award certainly qualifies for the award in terms of both criteria.

Dr. Thomas E. Emerson, RPA, currently serves as Director, Illinois State Archaeological Survey, Prairie Research Institute, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. His key contributions to the field have included establishment of human burial and home building legislation in Illinois, as well as expansion of public archaeology at the University of Illinois. He has provided oversight for the largest excavations ever conducted in Illinois (and perhaps the country), and founded and managed several active publication series. He has served as Editor for the Midcontinental Journal of Archaeology and Illinois Archaeology, while publishing significant works on a number of topics important to understanding of North American prehistory.

The Register of Professional Archaeologists is honored to present the 2014 McGimsey/Davis award to Dr. Thomas E. Emerson, RPA.



The AAA, the Register of Professional Archaeologists, Announce Two $500.00 Scholarships


At the recommendation of the Archaeology Division of the American Anthropological Association (AAA), the Register of Professional Archaeologists is pleased to announce the award of two $500 field school scholarships to students attending the California State University – Chico – field school.

Betty’s Hope, a former sugar plantation on the Caribbean island of Antigua, operated from 1651 to 1944, and provides an ideal laboratory to learn about the methodologies of historical archaeology, plantation studies, and the African Diaspora. For the summer field school component of 2013, there will be continued excavation, remote sensing, surveying and mapping of this large site to further understand the plantation as a system, and its impact on the everyday lives of the people who lived and worked there. This summer’s project will include special emphasis on diet and health through the study of the site’s faunal remains, and applications of watershed analysis and GIS to landscape theory and the power dynamics of British colonialism. The dynamics of coupled natural and human systems theory will be field tested in assessing the profound changes caused by cane agriculture on island ecosystems. This will be the first field season where hand-held XRF will be used to instruct students in the scientific applications of artifact analysis. The island archaeologist is Dr. Reginald Murphy, and principle investigator and field director is Dr. Georgia Fox (CSU Chico).

Scholarship Recipients

Alexis Ohman, a native Californian, is currently an MA Candidate in Archaeology at Simon Fraser University, with a BA in Anthropology from the University of Victoria. She acquired an acute interest in foodways and plantation archaeology as an undergraduate, which has developed into a fascination with Caribbean zooarchaeology and the contexts that the Lesser Antillean islands have to offer. Alexis intends to start a Ph.D. program next year in order to continue this type of research, and to explore new opportunities in Caribbean zooarchaeology as they unfold.

Geneviève Godbout is a Ph.D. Candidate in Anthropology at the University of Chicago. Her current research concerns taste and hospitality on plantations of Antigua, Caribbean, ca.1750-1900. She uses archaeological, archaeobotanical remains, and archival data to study the contribution of the convivial consumption of food and drink to the social life of the plantation. Through her dissertation work, she hopes to clarify the role of imported metropolitan material and practices in Antiguan social habits, as well as the relative intersection of the managers’ and laborer’s social spheres, both during slavery and after Emancipation (1834). Geneviève hopes to pursue archaeological field research throughout her career, whether as an academic or heritage manager.



The Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the Register of Professional Archaeologists Announce Two $500.00 Scholarships


At the recommendation of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), the Register of Professional Archaeologists is pleased to announce the award of two $500 scholarships. The first award is to the Archaeology Southwest/University of Arizona’s Preservation Archaeology Field School, Co-Principal Investigators, Deborah L. Huntley and Jeffery J. Clark. The field school is conducting research at the Fornholt site (LA 164471), a multicomponent settlement in Mule Creek, New Mexico. Student recipients of this award include David Loome (Northern Arizona University) and Jay Stephens (University of Arizona). The second SAA award is to California State University, Northridge, Field School Co-Principal Investigators Wendy G. Teeter, Karimah Kennedy-Richardson, and Desiree Martinez, for the Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project, California. The student recipient of this award is Jeni Knack, an undergraduate at UCLA in Anthropology. Both RPA-certified field schools provide opportunities for Native people or the native community to be integrated into the field school experience.



The Register of Professional Archaeologists Awards $1,000.00 to California State University, Northridge's RPA-Certified Field School


The Register of Professional Archaeologists is pleased to announce the award of a $1,000 scholarship to California State University, Northridge's RPA-certified field school. This award was made to California State University, Northridge's Field School Director, Wendy Teeter, who divided the money between two deserving students. The field school is part of the Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project (PCIAP) off of the coast of southern California, with the objective of addressing inter- and intra-village relationships and cultural life of the Catalina Island Tongva.


The first $500 recipient was Rachel Nuzzo, she is an Anthropology undergrad from UCLA. Rachel commented on why the field school matters to her. She said, “To be honest, the Course Objectives section of the syllabus for the field school almost perfectly sums up what I want to accomplish with this field school. I hope to learn all I can about the Tongva and other cultures of study, learn how real excavations work, how things work in the lab, and get field experience in an area I believe I would like to concentrate on before I decide where to apply to graduate school. My area of interest is West Coast US Native American/West Coast British Columbian First Nations Archaeology. This field school fits perfectly within my area of interest, my subfield of interest, and I hope it will help give me the tools to proceed down my academic path with confidence.”

The second $500 recipient was Sarah Sederholm, she completed her BA in 2008 in Anthropology from Cal State Long Beach and is currently completing a GIS certificate from Southwestern College. With respect to her field school goals, Sarah said, “I hope to learn how to survey, excavate, and catalogue archaeological finds as well as learn to properly use a Trimble, compass and other GPS tools. I would also like the experience of meeting new people and working with others that are also equally as passionate about archaeology as I am.”

Congratulations to all!



TJ Ferguson, Jo Reese and Kim Redman Receive Awards from the Register of Professional Archaeologists

TJ Ferguson receiving the Charles R. McGimsey Award from President Lynne Sebastian


Charles R. McGimsey—Hester A. Davis Distinguished Service Award

In the history of cultural resource management, Dr. T.J. Ferguson stands out as one of the pioneers who has worked forcefully and persistently to break down barriers between Native Americans and archaeologists and to build collaborative efforts which ensure that tribal values and archaeological perspectives are taken into consideration in resource management decisions.

Dr. Ferguson has taken the professional road less traveled. His journey began in the 1970s, when he enrolled in the University of Arizona’s MA program which contained one of the earliest CRM tracks in the United States. As a student of R. Gwinn Vivian, TJ was offered the opportunity to work at the Pueblo of Zuni, and so began a lifelong attachment to the Pueblo people.

Between 1976 and 1981 he served in a variety of capacities for the Pueblo, eventually becoming the Director of the Zuni Archaeological Program. He returned as Acting Director of the Zuni Archaeology Program and the Zuni Cultural Resources Enterprise in 1984-1985. At Zuni, he helped to train tribal members in cultural resource management, providing them with job skills and career opportunities, while implementing CRM policies that respected Zuni values and beliefs. Among other accomplishments, TJ assisted in the campaign to repatriate the War Gods, communally owned sacred objects needed to perpetuate Zuni religion, and in so doing helped to shape the concept of cultural patrimony used years later in the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. He also served as an expert witness for the Pueblo of Zuni n their successful land claims case.

Since the mid-1980s TJ has worked as a consulting anthropologist for tribes in the American Southwest. Much of his work has been with the Hopi Tribe. Together with Leigh Kuwanwisiwma, Director of the Hopi Tribe’s Cultural Preservation Office, TJ has written numerous reports and papers that have presented a collaborative methodology to the identification and evaluation of traditional cultural properties.

Having received his PhD from the University of New Mexico in 1993, TJ was able to enter a new phase of his career beginning in 2007, when he was named a Professor of Practice at the University of Arizona’s School of Anthropology. In this role, TJ helped to establish the university’s applied archaeology MA program. In 2012, he was appointed a Professor in the School of Anthropology, where he continues to coordinate the applied anthropology program, serves as editor of the University of Arizona’s anthropological papers, and at the same time continues to consult on projects to ensure that tribal values are considered as part of cultural resource management and the compliance process.

Bob McGimsey and Hester Davis blazed a trail built on ethical practices and standards of performance that archaeologists continue to follow. TJ has not simply followed this path, he has added on to it in ways that have advanced archaeological practice by ensuring that the voices and values of descendant communities are heard. We are all better for his efforts.

The Register of Professional Archaeologists is proud to present the Charles R. McGimsey—Hester A. Davis Distinguished Award for 2013 to T.J. Ferguson.


RPA 2013 Special Achievement Award


Jo Reese receiving the award from President Lynne Sebastian


The Register’s Special Achievement Award is given “in recognition of a profound and meaningful contribution to the promotion of professionalism in archaeology”. This year’s awardee has been a quiet but extremely effective instrument of change in professional archaeology, and more broadly within cultural resource management.

Jo Reese is the co-owner, co-founder and Vice President of Archaeological Investigations Northwest, Inc., established in 1989. AINW is based in Portland, Oregon, and has more than 30 full-time staff working throughout the Pacific Northwest. She has a Masters Degree in anthropology from Washington State University, and has been working in archaeology for 37 years (i.e. since the age of three).

Jo was an early applicant to the Register and has been an RPA since 2000. Since then she has served two distinguished terms on the RPA Board, representing the Society for American Archaeology, her second term having ended (to our great regret) just yesterday. Anyone who has encountered Jo on the RPA Board or committees will tell you that her good-nature, calm and collegial wisdom, and super glue-like tenacity are a huge asset to any organization, and the Register has been very fortunate to have her actively involved for so long.

In addition to these valuable general contributions to the Register, Jo has one very specific achievement that we are honoring here tonight. This is the development and successful launch of the Register’s Continuing Professional Education Certification Program.

After much discussion within the archaeological community, the Register’s Continuing Professional Education certification efforts began in earnest in 2007 under Jo’s leadership. By 2009 draft objectives and procedures had been outlined. Those were refined and finalized in 2011, and the procedures for submitting and reviewing certification requests were completed and announced to the world. Within a very short time, the first certified CPE offerings bearing the imprimatur of the Register were being offered, thanks to Jo’s leadership and the aforementioned super glue-like tenacity.

For her effective advocacy of professionalism in archaeological education during her many years of active commitment to the Register, the Register of Professional Archaeologists is proud to present the 2013 Special Achievement Award to Jo Reese.


Presidential Recognition Award


Kim Redman receiving a Presidential Recognition Award for her contributions to the successful completion of the Register's new exhibit, from President Lynne Sebastian



New Members Join RPA Board

Left to right: Pat Garrow, President-elect; Andrew Moore, AIA representative; Charles Cobb, AAA-AD representative; Danny Walker, Registrar; Lynne Sebastian, President; Amanda Evans, SHA representative; Doug Mitchell, Grievance Coordinator-elect; Jim Bruseth, Grievance Coordinator; Susan Chandler, SAA representative; not shown Chuck Niquette, Secretary-Treasurer

The RPA Board is happy to welcome new members Chuck Niquette, Doug Mitchell, and Susan Chandler. The Board was also very happy to welcome the Register's new banner stand exhibit, shown in the background of the photo above!




Update on Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist

Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist (AMDA) completed its second class, on April 19-21, at Troup Factory, Georgia. Twenty-two students successfully completed the course. As with the first class in Charles Towne Landing, the course reviews for Troup Factory were strongly positive.

Dan Elliott of the LAMAR Institute joined our teaching staff prior to the Troup Factory training, and Jo Balicki of John Milner Associates will be an instructor starting at our autumn class.

AMDA will present its third class offering, in Winchester, Virginia in November 2013. AMDA is certified under the Register of Professional Archaeologists’ continuing professional education program. The goal of the class is to provide professional archaeologists with an understanding of current best practices in metal detecting, and to provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a variety of devices from a variety of manufacturers.

The course is offered with 16-credit and 24-credit options. Under the former, there are 8 hours of classroom work and 8 hours of field instruction/experience. Under the latter, the field portion is expanded to 16 hours and the classroom remains 8 hours. Fees will be $250 for 16 credits and $350 for 24 credits. There are spaces for 29 students, interest is strong, so folks are encouraged to sign up right away.

The classroom portion (November 15) will be held at Shenandoah University in Winchester, VA. The field portion (November 16, plus November 17 for the 24-credit option) will be held at Clermont Farm, a state historic site that includes standing buildings from as early as 1770 (801 East Main Street, Berryville, VA). The VA DHR management plan for Clermont Farm calls for metal detector survey in several areas of the property (see

For more information, please contact Chris Espenshade at or Patrick Severts at (770) 594-4734 or .

For an application form, please visit the New South Associates website





Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist
Winchester, VA, November 15-17, 2013

Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist (AMDA) will present its third class offering, in Winchester, Virginia in November 2013. AMDA is certified under the Register of Professional Archaeologists’ continuing professional education program. The goal of the class is to provide professional archaeologists with an understanding of current best practices in metal detecting, and to provide the opportunity to gain hands-on experience with a variety of devices from a variety of manufacturers.

The course is offered with 16-credit and 24-credit options. Under the former, there are 8 hours of classroom work and 8 hours of field instruction/experience. Under the latter, the field portion is expanded to 16 hours and the classroom remains 8 hours. Fees have not yet been finalized, but earlier classes were $250 for 16 credits and $350 for 24 credits.

The classroom portion (November 15) will be held at Shenandoah University. The field portion (November 16, plus November 17 for the 24-credit option) will be held at Clermont Farm, a state historic site. The VA DHR management plan for Clermont Farm calls for metal detector survey in several areas of the property.

For more information please contact Chris Espenshade at or Patrick Severts at (770) 594-4734 or . If you send an e-mail expressing your interest, we will update you as more information becomes finalized.

For additional information, please visit the New South Associates website.




Announcing the RPA Field School Scholarship!

The Register of Professional Archaeologists announces its Field School Scholarships, which are awarded annually to students from RPA-certified field schools. One scholarship in the amount of $1000 will be awarded by each of three of RPA’s sponsoring institutions (AAA, SAA, SHA) to the director of an RPA-certified field school. The director will then be free to award the scholarship to a deserving student or students. New field school certification applications must be submitted by February 28, 2013, to be considered in the 2013 scholarship pool.

All currently certified field schools are automatically eligible for the scholarships. SAA and AAA require that the field school director be a member of their respective organizations in order to be eligible to receive a scholarship from that organization. SHA does not have such a requirement for its scholarship. Scholarships will be announced at the 2013 RPA Awards Reception on April 4, 2013, at the SAA meeting in Honolulu.

What is RPA Field School Certification?

RPA Certification means that your field school has met a set of professional standards covering five areas:
  • Purpose. The field school must have both an explicit research design and an explicit curriculum design that integrates research with student education.
  • Personnel. The Director or Principal Investigator of the field school must be a Registered Professional Archaeologist.
  • Operational Procedure. The field School must include formal instruction on field techniques including excavation, survey, and laboratory work.
  • Field Procedure. The field school must include proper data recovery and recording techniques.
  • Sponsor. The sponsoring institution must provide appropriate resources for laboratory work, curation, and publication/distribution of the research results.

Why Certify Your Field School?

Field schools are the training ground for the next generation of archaeologists and an important public face of archaeology. They should display our discipline’s highest standards of research and site stewardship. Both students and prospective employers can be confident that a certified field school meets established professional standards.


Benefits of certification include:

  • National recognition of your field school's high standards of student training and site recording
  • Advertisement of your field school on RPA and RPA-affiliated websites
  • Eligibility for RPA student field school scholarships

Is your field school already certified? Congratulations! You are automatically eligible for one of these scholarships.


The Register’s Awards Committee is seeking recommendations from RPA’s for our 2012 awards, and also for the bestowal of Emeritus registration. These awards will be made at the Society for American Archaeology meeting in Hawaii, April 3-7 2013.

The final decision on awards and Emeritus status is made by the RPA Board on the recommendation of the Awards Committee.

In order for the Committee to deliberate, make recommendations to the Board, and arrange for the preparation of certificates and plaques, we will be unable to consider recommendations made after February 15th.

The Register currently has four awards, one of which, the Presidential Recognition Award, is granted at-will by the incumbent president for various reasons relating to service to RPA or the profession and discipline of Archaeology.

The committee welcome nominations for the other three awards, which are listed below together with the names of previous recipients:

Special Achievement Award

Presented by the Register of Professional Archaeologists in recognition of a profound and meaningful contribution to the promotion of professionalism in archaeology. This award may be given to one or more individuals, one or more organizations, or a combination of individuals or organizations (Initial award 2005).

 2011Paul R. Green
 2010 Willem Willems
 2009 Laurie W. Rush
 2008 William B. Lees
 2007 Ed Jelks
 2006 Charles R. "Chip" McGimsey
 2005 State Archaeologist, Kevin T. Jones, Utah Professional Archaeological Council

Charles R. McGimsey III—Hester A. Davis Distinguished Service Award (McGimsey-Davis Distinguished Service Award)

Presented in recognition of the distinguished service of a Registered Professional Archaeologist to achieving the mission of the Register of Professional Archaeologists as evidenced by a single action or through a lifetime of elevated service (Initial award 2005).

 Year Recipient(s)
 2011 Donald L. Hardesty
 2010 Donald Weir
 2009 Lynne Sebastian
 2008 Don D. Fowler
 2007 Fred Wendorf, Jr.
 2006 William Lipe
 2005 Charles R. McGimsey
 Hester A. Davis


John F. Seiberling Award


Established by SOPA in 1986 in the name of Ohio Congressman Seiberling, for his many legislative efforts in support of historic preservation. Seiberling himself received the first award. The award was intended to recognize significant and sustained efforts in the conservation of archeological resources by an individual or group.



Date Recipients


Hon. John F. Seiberling


Larry D. Banks


no award given


no award given


Fred Wendorf


Robert L. Stevenson


The Archaeological Conservancy


Hon. Charles Bennett


Hester A. Davis


Hon. Wyche Fowler


Loretta Newman


The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation


Nellie Longsworth

Emeritus Status
SOPA began granting Emeritus Status and Life Membership in 1990 and thereafter bestowed it occasionally by board vote upon recommendation of the Awards Committee.
RPA Emeritus status was first bestowed by RPA in 2010. Emeritus status is generally bestowed on individual. 

Date Recipients


James B. Griffin *


Jesse Jennings *


Irving B. Rouse *


Edward B. Jelks


John L. Cotter *


Charles R. McGimsey III


Fred Wendorf & Chuck Cleland

Please send recommendations to:
Ian Burrow
Chair, RPA Awards Committee
Hunter Research, Inc.
120 West State Street
Trenton, NJ 08608

Please provide details of the person(s) or organization you are recommending, and for which award you feel they should be considered.

Are you interested in serving the Register of Professional Archaeologists on a committee or in an elected position? There are many opportunities for service:

Continuing Professional Education Certification Committee
Field School Certification Committee
Nominating Committee
Recruitment Committee

Elected Offices:
Standards Board
Nominating Committee Chair or member
Grievance Coordinator -elect

If you are interested in any of these opportunities or want to know more about them, please contact Lynne Sebastian at or any other member of the RPA Board.



Building on the success of their first course offering in Charleston, S.C. in August 2012, Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist (AMDA) and the continuing professional education program of the Register of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) are proud to announce that the second AMDA course offering will be April, 19-21, 2013 in Pine Mountain, Georgia. The local sponsors this year are the Corless family, the caretakers of the site since 1932. Students can earn either 16 (two-day) or 24 (three-day) RPA continuing education credits.

The tuition is $250.00 (16 credits) or $350.00 (24 credits). Seven instructors and additional industry representatives will be present, and we have room for 30 students. The April course will take place at the Troup Factory complex (1829-1902), which includes the archaeological remains of a large textile mill, a mill village, a dam and raceway, cemeteries, a farmstead, tenant houses, and even a whiskey still. The training will consist of one full day of lectures on best practices for metal detecting for the professional archaeologist, and one or two full days of practical field instruction. As a bonus, on Friday evening, Forest Clark Johnson III will speak on the history of the Troup Factory and village, and on Saturday, Dr. Douglas Scott (father of modern military archaeology) will talk about his approaches to Conflict Archaeology. The site is conveniently located less than an hour south of the Atlanta airport off of State Highway 27. The lecture will be held at the Pine Mountain Club Chalets; they also offer affordable cabin rentals for individuals or groups ( Course tuition includes catered lunches each day, snacks, and drinks. For more information please contact Chris Espenshade at or Patrick Severts at (770) 594-4734 or

Click to download the Conference Registration Form.

Mail completed form and check to: New South Associates, 6150 East Ponce de Leon Avenue, Stone Mountain, Georgia 30083.

Completed registration forms and checks must be received by March 15, 2013.

Calling All RPA Volunteers

RPA is looking for volunteers willing to take a shift greeting current and future registrants at the RPA table in the exhibit hall for the SHA meeting in Leicester, January 9-12, and the AIA meeting in Seattle, January 3-6. It’s fun, easy, and a great opportunity to see all your friends (everyone passes through the exhibit hall sooner or later!) and make new friends while helping out the Register. If you are interested, please contact Andrew Moore, AIA representative to the RPA Board ( or Amanda Evans, SHA representative on the RPA Board (

RPA 2012-2013 Election Results

The RPA Board of Directors is pleased to announce the results of the 2012-2013 election. The new officers will be Chuck Niquette, Secretary/Treasurer, and Doug Mitchell, Grievance Coordinator-elect. The new Standards Board member will be Vergil Noble and the new Standards Board Alternate will be April Beisaw. Mike Polk was elected Chair of the Nominating Committee and David Hart was elected Nominating Committee Member. The three bylaws amendments making the Registrar, Grievance Coordinator, and Grievance Coordinator-elect voting rather than ex officio members of the Board all passed.

We wish to thank all those who agreed to stand for election and express our appreciation for their willingness to serve the Register.

RPA Field School Scholarships

Each year the Register provides scholarship opportunities for students attending RPA certified archaeological field school. Each of our sponsor organizations is given the opportunity to award one of these scholarships or to split the scholarship money between two students.

2012 AAA-Selected Field School Scholarship Recipients

Through the 2007-2011 field seasons, the Pimu Catalina Island Archaeology Project (PCIAP) off of the coast of southern California has expanded the knowledge of understanding inter- and intra-village relationships and cultural life of the Catalina Island Tongva. To further research about these relationships, the 2012 field school component of PCIAP is applying landscape theory, through looking at the pre-contact use of trails and pathways, to investigate social connections and resource acquisition to/from the island, neighboring islands, and the mainland. Field directors included Dr. Wendy Teeter (UCLA), Desireé Reneé Martinez (Peabody Museum, Harvard), and Karimah Kennedy Richardson (Southwest Museum of the American Indian).

This year there were two scholarship recipients:

Samantha Dollinger is a recent graduate of San Diego State University with a Bachelors of Arts in Anthropology and a Bachelors of Arts in Journalism. Her research interests are ecological archaeology and prehistoric maritime archaeology in California and the North American west coast. Samantha hopes to better understand the impact of the Pacific Ocean and coastal environments on Native peoples and how those populations, in turn, impacted the ecology of the area. Her career goals are to continue on to graduate school, do as much fieldwork in California as possible, and become a contributing writer to National Geographic Magazine.

Mariko Falke is a senior in Anthropology with a minor in Biology at California State University, Sacramento. She is currently looking for inspiration to narrow her focus within the field of archaeology, but is interested in native plant uses and artifact analysis and preservation, ideally utilizing her strong scientific background. After graduating in the Spring, she plans on working in archaeology to gain knowledge and find inspiration, then eventually move towards earning her PhD. Her ultimate goal is to gain an in-depth understanding of the prehistoric world as a means of improving today's.

 First Offering of Advanced Metal Detecting a Success

Twenty-four archaeologists have successfully completed the first offering of the RPA-certified continuing education course, Advanced Metal Detecting for the Archaeologist. The class was offered August 22 and 23, 2012, at Charles Towne Landing State Historic Site, Charleston, South Carolina. The class included a mix of graduate students, compliance/agency archaeologists, and archaeologists working for cultural resource management firms. Attendees came from as far away as northern Virginia, Nevis, and St. Thomas. Five instructors and three manufacturer’s representatives were present.

The course included classroom instruction on two mornings, and two afternoons of practical instruction in the field. For this class, we provided metal detecting services for the ongoing SC Parks, Recreation & Tourism investigations of a slave community at site 38CH1, Locus 7. Students were provided the opportunity to first delineate the boundaries of the site, and then to intensively sample four collection grids within the site core. A wide variety of nineteenth-century artifacts was successfully located, excavated, and mapped. Appropriately enough, on the International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition, our students found a slave tag, one of the most poignant of items associated with slavery in the Charleston area.

All twenty-four students earned 16 hours of credit under the continuing professional education program of the Register of Professional Archaeologists. At least two additional offerings of this class will occur in the next 12 months.


2012 RPA Award Recipients

Terry Klein received a Presidential Recognition Award from outgoing President Ian Burrow for his guidance and facilitation assistance during the 2011 RPA Board’s strategic planning retreat.

Left: Presidential recognition award winner Terry Klein receiving his award from outgoing President, Ian Burrow

The 2012 Special Achievement Award was presented to the National Trust for Historic Preservation’s Law Department for its significant and long-standing efforts to maintain, support, and strengthen legislation protecting cultural and heritage resources.

Right: Elizabeth Merritt accepting the sp
ecial achievement award on behalf of the National Trust for Historic Preservation Law Department from RPA President, Lynne Sebastian.

At the Request of the SAA Student Paper Award Committee, the Register also provided a $100 cash prize for the 2012 Student Paper Award winner, Sean Dunham.

Left: Student paper award winner Sean Dunham receiving his cash prize from President, Lynne Sebastian.

The 2012 McGimsey-Davis Distinguished Service Award was presented to Michael K. Trimble.

Right: Sonny Trimble receiving the McGimsey-Davis Distinguished Service Award from President, Lynne Sebastian.



2012 Charles R. McGimsey III – Hester A. Davis Distinguished Service Award; Michael K. Trimble

Michael K. (Sonny) Trimble has been a major force in the preservation, conservation, and management of archaeological resources, under the care of the U.S. government for more than a quarter-century. Like so many of his generation, Sonny’s career has not followed a straight or predictable course. As an undergraduate at Wake Forest, Sonny attended field schools on the Colorado Plateau and the Eastern Woodlands before moving on to graduate studies at the University of Missouri-Columbia. His Master’s thesis and doctoral dissertation involved cutting-edge work in epidemiology as he studied the spread of smallpox in the Northern Plains. At Missouri, Sonny’s mentor was W. Raymond Wood. From Wood, Sonny learned the importance of working with old, forgotten, and underutilized collections and the corollary—the need to properly curate the artifacts and records resulting from one’s work.

In 1987, Sonny began his tenure with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District. From the start he worked tirelessly on collections management issues for the Corps of Engineers and Department of Defense. In 1991, he became the Director of the Corps’ Mandatory Center of Excellence for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections (MCX-CMAC) and the Chief of the Curation and Archives Analysis Branch for the St. Louis District’s Engineering and Construction Division—positions he holds to this day. Sonny has been engaged in a national curation program for the military and has assisted the Corps and other government agencies with curation- and NAGPRA-compliance-related projects. These projects have thrust Sonny into some of the most important and controversial issues facing American archaeology, from Kennewick Man in Washington state to the New York African Burial Ground Project in lower Manhattan.

If all Sonny had done was work on collections-management-related issues, his career would still be full. But never one to shy away from challenges, Sonny has taken on much more. For six years, he directed the MCX-CMAC’s role in assisting the Central Identification Laboratory, Hawaii, in recovering the remains of missing in action (MIA) servicemen from Southeast Asia. He consulted with the U.S. Army in assisting the Kuwaiti government in the recovery of MIAs in Iraq from Desert Storm. Then, following the invasion of Iraq, Sonny served as program director for the Mass Graves Investigation Team. His responsibilities not only included leading the 30-person international team in archaeological and forensic exhumations and analysis, but personally testifying against Saddam Hussein and other senior members of the Iraqi regime at the Anfal trials.

As the son of a World War I and II veteran, Sonny has long been interested in veteran’s affairs. His sense of duty was only heightened by his time in Iraq. Realizing the difficulty many returning veterans have in gaining marketable skills, Sonny developed the award-winning Veterans Curation Project, which combined his passion for archaeological collections management with his desire to provide disabled veterans with vocational training and temporary employment through the rehabilitation and preservation of archaeological collections owed or administered by the Corps.

Sonny advocated for and served as program director for the largest national archaeological survey of federal lands conducted over the last 50 years, which was implemented between 2009 and 2011 with funding from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. The Section 110 National Historic Preservation Act, Section 110 Compliance program infused millions of dollars into the economy during the recession and allowed Corps Districts nationwide to complete work for which funding had not previously been available.

Sonny’s career has spanned four decades, taken him around the world, and has included documenting and tirelessly advocating for preservation of our collective tangible heritage, aiding those who have giving much to this country, and bearing witness to human atrocities for all mankind. Sonny is far from done. But his accomplishments to date deserve recognition from his community of peers. It is with great pleasure that the Register of Professional Archaeologists presents the 2012 McGimsey-Davis Ward to Michael K. Trimble.

National Geographic Channel "Diggers" Program Update

Dear Registrants:

As many of you will recall, there was a great deal of concern within the archaeological community this spring about two cable channel television shows that appeared to glorify the looting of archaeological sites for fun and profit. The major archaeological organizations, including the Register of Professional Archaeologists, have been working with the National Geographic Society, the National Geographic Channel, and the production company that developed the “Diggers” show on the NG Channel in an attempt to address this situation.

In early May, there was a day-long workshop in Washington DC entitled “Archeological Preservation, Avocational Metal Detecting, and the Ethics of Archeology,” which explored ways of finding common ground on these issues. Former RPA President Ian Burrow represented the Register at this workshop. Please click here to read a summary of the workshop proceedings.

Since that time, our sponsor organizations, and especially SAA and SHA, have been working with National Geographic, the NG channel, and the production company to come up with a plan for the “Diggers” show that will attract the demographic that the TV channel needs to reach, provide an entertaining show, and take a responsible approach to the protection of our archaeological heritage. Last week, SAA President Fred Limp posted an update on progress with this effort on the SAA website. Please click here to see Dr. Limp’s summary.

I must admit that this is a much more positive outcome than I would have imagined possible when all this controversy first began. I would encourage all RPAs to respond to any outreach efforts by National Geographic and to engage with them in efforts to make “Diggers” a program that advances our interests and promotes best practices and sound ethics in archaeology.

Lynne Sebastian, Ph.D., RPA
The Register of Professional Archaeologists

RPA Field School Scholarships

Each year the Register provides scholarship opportunities for students attending RPA certified archaeological field school. Each of our sponsor organizations is given the opportunity to award one of these scholarships or to split the scholarship money between two students.

2012 SAA-Selected Field School Scholarship Recipients

The 2012 University of Arizona/Archaeology Southwest Preservation Archaeology Field School in Mule Creek, New Mexico, completed our second and final season of test excavations at the 13th century Fornholt site. The field school combined training in excavation and site recording skills with a curriculum highlighting the goals, ethics, and practice of preservation archaeology. This year we focused on better understanding this 60-room pueblo’s occupation history, in particular the sequence of room construction and abandonment, as well as the function of the site’s enigmatic probable great kiva.

Jordan Taher is a senior in Anthropology at Eastern New Mexico University. Her focus within archaeology primarily revolves around lithic artifacts and a geologic understanding of the environment of the southwest. Her short term career goals include finding work in the field and gaining the skill set to become an accomplished archaeologist. Her long term goals revolve around getting a PhD in order to deepen her understanding of the peoples of the southwest through time.

Tom Sprynczynatyk is a senior in Anthropology at Arizona State University. He was the recipient of the 2012 Undergraduate Research Assistantship from ASU's School of Human Evolution and Social Change, and conducted research comparing the diets of historical African hunter-gatherer groups with that of primates living in similar environments. Tom hopes to go on to graduate school and study human origins in Africa, looking for evidence of the time period when the human brain was becoming fully modern. In his spare time Tom volunteers with Evercare Hospice and enjoys hiking and biking the mountains around Phoenix.

First Continuing Education Course Certified by RPA!

I'm very pleased to announce that the course Advanced Metal Detecting for Archaeologists has been certified by the Register of Professional Archaeologists under our new Continuing Professional Education Program, the first class to do so. You will find details on this course, developed by New South Associates and AMDA, attached here. The course will be first offered on August 22nd and 23rd in Charleston, S.C. Please click here for the course agenda.

As an RPA attendee of this class you will receive a certificate for use in your CV development and for adding to your profile on the RPA site.

This is merely the first of what we anticipate will be an expanding repertoire of CP opportunities RPA will be bringing you in future.

Thanks to our dedicated CPE committee for making this a reality, and to Chris Espenshade of New South for his patience and cooperation during the process.


Ian Burrow

P.S. SAA Memphis attendees: Please don't miss the RPA Awards Ceremony on Thursday April at 5 pm at the Marriot.


Letter to Spike Tv's President On "American Diggers"

February 29, 2012

Kevin Kay
President, Spike TV
1633 Broadway
New York, New York 10019

American Diggers

Dear Mr. Kay:
You will by now be well aware of the widespread concern about your proposed program “American Diggers”, as it has been portrayed by the advanced publicity on your website. The archaeological community, in particular, is expressing its disapproval in no uncertain terms.

I am writing to you as President of the Register of Professional Archaeologists: more than 2500 archaeologists who are dedicated to promoting the highest professional and ethical standards in archaeology in this country and beyond (

Others have already very clearly expressed the concerns that are widely felt about this program, and so I will only briefly revisit them here. Nor will I go into detail about the potential legal and liability issues you might be facing.

1. By focusing on the recovery of artifacts alone, without reference to their “context” (their location and relationships to the soils, occupation surfaces, foundations, environmental evidence and other artifacts on the archaeological site of which they form a part), the project will actually destroy historical evidence rather than discovering it.

This is truly sad, because I do not doubt that Mr. Savage, like many, many other people in this country, are truly interested in the past. Finding ancient objects and holding them in your hands is a thrill that never goes away, but if we really want to understand the people of the past (which is what archaeology is all about) we have to have the context. Really.

2. Financial Gain. In the United States, private landowners are perfectly at liberty to sell any artifacts recovered on their land. Our Historic Preservation laws are respectful of private property in a way which is uniquely American. (Of course, public lands are another matter altogether, and anyone digging for artifacts on historic federal or tribal lands, and also in most states and municipalities, are liable to fines and imprisonment on conviction: Clearly your intention is to avoid such issues). So, provided Mr. Savage has the permission of the landowner, he is not doing anything illegal. So what’s the problem?

Please click here to read the rest of the letter.  

Register of Professional Archaeologists Field School Scholarships 2012

The Register of Professional Archaeologists announces its 2012 RPA Field School Scholarships, awarded annually to students from four RPA-certified field schools. One scholarship in the amount of $1000 will be awarded by each of RPA’s sponsoring institutions (AAA, AIA, SAA, SHA) to a director of an RPA-certified field school, who will then award the scholarships to a deserving student. Selection criteria include geographical focus, methodological and theoretical approach, and student opportunity.

All currently certified field schools are automatically eligible for the scholarships. Field schools must be certified by March 16, 2012 to be considered in the 2012 pool.

Scholarships will be announced at the 2012 RPA Awards Ceremony at the Society for American Archaeology meeting in Memphis, TN, on April 19th 2012.

If you have any questions about the process simply contact our Field School Committee chair, Wes Bernardini (, or contact me (

Click here to see all the currently certified field schools eligible for scholarships and to find out more about the field school certification.

Click here for the field school guidelines and standards.


Ian Burrow
President RPA

The RPA Election Results are In:
Congratulations to the Following Incoming Board Members!

President-Elect: Mr. Patrick Garrow

Registrar: Dr. Danny Walker

Standards Board Member: Mr. Mark Branstner

Standards Board Alternate: Dr. Rochelle Lurie

Nominating Committee Chair: Dr. Julia King

Nominations Committee Member: Mr. Michael Pfeiffer

RPA would like to thank all the candidates and voters who made this election a great success!  

Register of Professional Archaeologists
Planning Retreat Summary
Albuquerque NM, October 28 and 29, 2011

On October 28th and 29th a group of 13 registrants, comprising the RPA board, officers, and several invitees, held a strategic planning retreat meeting in Albuquerque, NM. Moderated (pro bono) by Terry Klein of the SRI Foundation, the group developed a series of goals and recommendations. These have a single broad objective: to position the Register to take the archaeological profession to a new level. The Board asked me to prepare and distribute a summary of the meeting, and so here it is.

On December 7th, the RPA Board formally accepted the report of the strategic planning meeting, and has set up work teams to develop an executable strategic plan. These work teams will report to the Spring board meeting at the SAA meeting in Memphis, TN next April. What follows is my personal summary of the key points from a four-page bulleted list, so not all the points are included here.

One key discussion was the composition of the board itself. At present, the board comprises the appointed representatives of our four sponsoring societies and some of the elected officers. This works well, but does not allow for active participation by other registrants. The board will therefore consider whether the time has come to have elected at-large members.

The committee structure of the RPA is also overdue for an overhaul. As times and requirements have changed, some of our committees are now less important, while others have become dormant but are now needed again. One of these needs is for an active and effective communications committee that will reach out both internally to the body of registrants, and externally to the wider archaeological community.

Sponsors and Sponsorship
The four sponsoring societies (SAA, SHA, AAA, and AIA) were crucial to the establishment of RPA. We plan to seek to strengthen the connections with these organizations in various ways. In January 2012, I and the President-elect, Lynne Sebastian, will be meeting with the Board of the AIA to renew ties there. We also plan, for example, to take a more prominent role in the SAA’s popular and important Ethics Bowl, which we have long sponsored.

Also emerging is a wish to have a more prominent presence at these societies’ meetings. Starting with the SHA in January 2012, we will have RPA ribbons available at the Registration desk (rather than at our table in the bookroom), and there will also be a flyer about RPA in the registration packet. There will be a have a daily drawing for registrants and new applicants, and other incentives to encourage people to sign up for registration.

Public Positions
RPA has not generally seen itself as a body that regularly comments on broadly political issues relating to archaeology. We have however occasionally taken strong stands on such matters as inappropriate portrayal of archaeology in the media, and the need for high-profile archaeological positions to be filled by RPAs.

The meeting recommended that RPA develop a formal policy to determine under what circumstances we will respond to issues potentially affecting the profession or the resource, and how to make our expertise available.

The Grievance Process
Our grievance process is the best-kept secret of the RPA, and it shouldn’t be. In many ways it is the justification for the Register, but confidentiality concerns have in the past prevented the dissemination of information on grievance issues. We plan to look seriously at the possibility of producing a “lessons-learned” publication that will be useful to registrants while maintaining confidentiality requirements.

Application Process
The expansion of graduate degree programs that reflect professional qualifications and standards is providing a steady stream of new registrants for RPA. However, the increasing diversity of these programs is presenting us with some challenges. There remains a perception that master’s degrees requiring theses are privileged in the application process, and that non-theses applications are held to a higher experience standard on the “long-form” application. We will be looking into these issues, and into the possibility of developing a level of registration that students who have not yet obtained their master’s degree but can already demonstrate a level of commitment and experience to the discipline.

Increasing Registration and Retaining Current Registrants
One immediate change you will notice in the coming months is that we will all, from now on, receive a new registration certificate each year. This will clearly indicate the year we are registered for, and so will help us to remember to re-up our registrations.

It is clear that only a portion of those who could be registered as RPA have chosen to do so. We currently stand at over 2500, but by various estimates there are probably at least three times that number of eligible archaeologists in the United States alone. We have provisionally identified certain target groups that are under-represented (particularly government archaeologists), and plan to target them more specifically in recruitment efforts.

Establishing and Encouraging High Standards of Archaeological Practice
Our recently launched Continuing Professional Education Program (CPE) is intended as part of a more general initiative that will establish and encourage high standards in the profession. Our discussions in Albuquerque left some of us feeling that there is some rather poor archaeological work being done around the country, and that this is something that needs to be addressed. The meeting made several recommendations. These included:

• incentives in the form of awards for best archaeological practice, and for government-based archaeologists who are outstanding “curators” of the resource.
• expansion of the scholarship program
• accessibility of CPE
• the production of more detailed guidelines for best practices.

Establishing RPA as the Accepted Professional Credential in US, Canada, and Internationally
Ambitiously, the meeting felt that RPA is now well placed to establish itself as a touchstone for archaeological credentials both in the U.S. and internationally. At a minimum, American archaeologists working abroad should be able to use their RPA registration as a guarantee to their host country that they are recognized, qualified professionals. This is a real issue is some countries, where there are no standards against which to assess the qualifications of either local or incoming American archaeologists. We have established a relationship with the International Committee on Archaeological Heritage Management (ICAHM) of ICOMOS, which will provide us with an opportunity to promote this message.

Your reactions and questions in response to this will be most welcome. I look forward to hearing from at least a few of you in the coming weeks.

Ian Burrow

RPA in Albuquerque Strategic Planning Meeting

RPA board members, officers, and guests met in Albuquerque, New Mexico on October 28th and 29th 2011 for a Strategic Planning meeting. Under the skilled guidance of Terry Klein of the SRI foundation, we spent a day and a half developing a vision and plan for RPA, using a five-year time frame. Look out for a report here in the near future, giving details of the proposals.

The RPA Strategic Planning Team in Albuquerque, October 29th 2011. From left to right: Jeff Altschul (Past-President), Kay Simpson (immediate Past-Grievance Coordinator), Amanda Evans (Board Member: Society for Historical Archaeology), Kim Redman (Secretary/Treasurer), Amy Ollendorf (Registrar), Nancy Wilkie (Board Member: Archaeological Institute of America); Jim Bruseth (Grievance Coordinator-elect), Ian Burrow (President), Bill Lees (Past-President), Lynne Sebastian (President-Elect), Charles Cobb (Board Member: American Anthropological Association), Joan Deming (Grievance Coordinator), Terry Majewski (President, American Cultural Resources Association).

Photographer: Terry Klein



Please click here to read more. 

Announcing the 2011 Register of Professional Archaeologists’ Scholarship Awards to Field Schools in Florida, Michigan, Nevis and Italy 

Each year, the Register of Professional Archaeologists awards up to four scholarships, each of $1000, to RPA-Certified Field Schools. Our Sponsoring Organizations - the American Anthropological Association, the Archaeological Institute of America, the Society for American Archaeology and the Society for Historical Archaeology – review the applications and recommend the recipients. Each successful field school Director has discretion in awarding the scholarship to one or more students on his or her field school. 

We are pleased to announce that the following RPA-Certified Field Schools have been awarded scholarships for 2011:

Florida Gulf Coast University: Swamp Safari Tree Island Project . Dr. Michael McDonald, RPA (Society for American Archaeology award).

Michigan State University: Campus Archaeology Program . Dr. Lynne Goldstein, RPA (American Anthropological Association award). Student recipients: Eve Avdoulos and Nancy Svinick: 

Eve will be entering her senior year at Michigan State University. She studies anthropology, art history, and museum studies and focuses on ancient history. Her passion for history stems from all of the secrets and lessons that it holds. Eve has held positions as a research assistant in the MSU Archaeology Lab, as well as an intern at the MSU Archives and Historical Collections. Both of these experiences, as well as being a student on the Campus Archaeology Field School, have deepened her love for archaeology and history. She loves MSU history and feels privileged to be studying at this university. She is also a resident mentor in West Circle Complex, a Dean’s list student, and an active member of the Greek-American community. After her undergraduate career, Eve plans on attending graduate school to pursue a doctorate degree in classical or ancient Mediterranean archaeology.  

Nancy just graduated from Michigan State University, with a Bachelor's of Science in Geological Sciences and an additional major in Anthropology. Her special interests include archaeology of Britain and Ireland, as well as cultural anthropology and geoarchaeology. After completing the MSU Campus Archaeology Field School this summer, Nancy will be seeking employment with a mining company in the western United States for several years. She then plans to return to university to complete her graduate degree in geoarchaeology. 

San Jose State University: Bush Hill Sugar Plantation, Nevis. Dr. Marco Meniketti, RPA (Society for Historical Archaeology award). Student Recipient: Chris Keith, San Jose State University  

Chris attended West Valley Community College for the first leg of his post-high school education. Eventually he discovered a passion for anthropology and especially archaeology. Chris transferred to San Jose State University in 2010, as an archaeology major. He is currently in his 2nd and final year at San Jose State. The Bush Hill Field School on Nevis Island was Chris’ first field school (though not to be his last). He hopes to specialize in bioarchaeology, which would allow him to continue work as an archeologist through the study of human remains. 

University of Michigan, Kelsey Museum of Archaeology: The Gabii Project, Central Italy. Dr. Jeffrey A. Becker, RPA ( Archaeological Institute of America award). Student recipient James Crooks, University of Auckland. 

James is in the final year of a conjoint Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Sciences at the University of Auckland, New Zealand . He writes: “Ever since I began Latin at the start of High School, I have been fascinated by the classical world; however, for someone living on the other side of the world, a career in this field seemed not to be the most practical of paths. But still, I continued with Latin and picked up both Ancient History and Anthropological Sciences when I began University.
I first learned about the Gabii Project in late 2009 thanks to a lecturer at my University, Dr Jeremy Armstrong, who was acting as my unofficial careers advisor after learning of my interest in Roman archaeology. Unfortunately, after returning from our Summer (Christmas) Break, I found that I had missed the initial application date but after applications re-opened, I promptly applied and was soon after accepted for the 2010 season.

Gabii was my first archaeological dig and, as such, I owe all my practical archaeological knowledge to the staff of the Gabii Project. I was also taken aback at the calibre of both the staff and volunteers on the Project; not one of whom I could ever fault in terms of skill or credentials. Most of all, the Gabii Project proved to me that a career in classical archaeology could be a very realistic goal, even for someone from as far away as New Zealand. For these reasons, I jumped at the opportunity to return to Gabii for the 2011 season and will continue to return for as long as I am wanted”.

These four Field Schools were selected from an impressive field of applicants and we congratulate them and their students on these scholarship awards.

We will announce the names of the students receiving the awards when we have been notified of them, and we plan to honor them at our Annual Awards Ceremony. This will be held during the Society for American Archaeology’s 77th Annual Meeting in Memphis, TN, April 18-22, 2012.

Do you run an archaeological field school? We invite you to apply for RPA certification.


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