Friday, April 8, 2016

SPA Meeting

It’s that time of year again! Next weekend, April 15 – 17, 2016 marks the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology’s (SPA) 87th annual meeting. This year’s meeting will be hosted by the Ohio Valley Chapter of the SPA (#22) in West Middlesex, PA. The theme of the conference is Digging Down into Pennsylvania’s Past: Pre-Clovis through Postmodern. As always, this year’s meeting promises to be enlightening and informative, spanning a wide range of archaeological topics in the Keystone State.

Friday afternoon, The Pennsylvania Archaeological Council will hold a symposium on Lithic Quarries in Pennsylvania: The Archaeology of Tool Stone Procurement, highlighting the state’s lithic resources and their use by its prehistoric inhabitants. Papers will be presented by some of the state’s prominent archaeologists including The State Museum of Pennsylvania’s own Dr. Kurt Carr, who will speak on bedrock quarries and their uses and distribution based on his own field research and the records of the Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey files. Other papers will focus on the different types of geological sources available in the state.

The meeting, being held at the Park Inn by Radisson in West Middlesex is open to the public. Registration at the door is $35 and the cost for dinner is $32. The SPA is listed as one of our “favorite links” on the right hand side of the screen. For more information and for the entire program including abstracts click the link to their homepage.

Presentations throughout the weekend will highlight research by students and avocational and professional archaeologists.  Students vie for the Dr. James Hatch and Dr. W. Fred Kinsey scholarships by submitting papers on Pennsylvania archaeology.  These student scholarships support and recognize the efforts of the next generation of archaeologists who will continue to support the activities of the Society.  With the assistance of State Museum staff, recipients of the Kinsey Scholarship have an opportunity to get their paper published in the Society’s journal, Pennsylvania Archaeologist.

Past recipient of award
(photo courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania)

Saturday evening will feature the banquet, a guest speaker and awards ceremony, followed by the ever-popular live auction. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Aksel Casson, Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Slippery Rock University and Co-Director of the Middle East Studies Center. Dr. Casson will be speaking on the Destruction of Cultural Heritage in Syria: Thinking Globally and Locally; a timely topic in view of the recent damage leveled by ISIS in the ancient city of Palmyra and other places across the country. The auction is an exciting SPA tradition so be sure to bring a few extra bucks to bid on books, archaeological field equipment, and gift baskets. Money raised will go to benefit the Elmer Erb Permanent Fund. 

SPA members enjoying the banquet at last year’s meeting
(photo courtesy of SPA website)

Auction Items at past SPA meeting
(photo courtesy of The State Museum of Pennsylvania)

Also, be sure to visit the bookroom and student poster session throughout the day on both Friday and Saturday. Activities wrap up Saturday night with refreshments and mingling in the Hospitality Suite.

The Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, Inc. was organized in 1929 to: Promote the study of the prehistoric and historic archaeological resources of Pennsylvania and neighboring states; Encourage scientific research and discourage exploration which is unscientific or irresponsible in intent or practice; Promote the conservation of archaeological sites, artifacts, and information; Encourage the establishment and maintenance of sources of archaeological information such as museums, societies, and educational programs; Promote the dissemination of archaeology by means of publications and forums; Foster the exchange of information between the professional and the avocational archaeologists. 

For more information, visit or the Hall of Anthropology and Archaeology at The State Museum of Pennsylvania .

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