Friday, March 31, 2017

88th Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology Annual Meeting

Spring has finally seemed to have sprung which in the world of archaeology means the annual spring conferences are in full swing. The Society for American Archaeology meetings are this weekend (March 29-April 2, 2017) in Vancouver, B.C. and we reported on our last blog on  the Mid-Atlantic meetings. Our focus this week is on the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology’s (SPA) annual meeting. Next weekend, April 7-9, 2017 the 88th annual SPA meeting, hosted by The Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission, State Museum of Pennsylvania, Section of Archaeology will be held at the Radisson Hotel in Camp Hill, PA. This year’s theme, Patterning the Past: Current Contributions to Pennsylvania Archaeology promises to be informative and encompassing topics from prehistoric to historic site and artifact interpretations, technology in archaeology as well as artifact curation.

As usual, the meeting will begin Friday afternoon with the Pennsylvania Archaeology Council (PAC) symposium. This year’s theme is Public Outreach- Preserving the Past with New Technology. These papers cover a range of topics that discuss different forms of public outreach, the importance of public outreach and how technology is currently used for new platforms and formats in public outreach.  Sharing methods for engaging the public in archaeology and increasing their awareness in their archaeological heritage and site preservation is at the heart of this session.

The SPA annual meeting registration table is open on Friday at 12:00 pm, walk-ins are welcome! The program for the 2017 annual meeting includes presentations in three sessions from Saturday morning through Sunday morning. A poster session Saturday afternoon will highlight research by students at the undergraduate and graduate level.  Primitive games allow participants the opportunity to test their skills at firestarting, atlatl accuracy and the hammerstone toss. The annual dinner banquet Saturday night will feature  guest speaker Dr. Robert D. Wall, Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Criminal Justice at Towson University sharing research on the Barton Site  ( , followed by the awards ceremony and live auction. Cordier Auctions will conduct the fund raising auction which benefits the Society.   Also, the bookroom is open throughout the day on both Friday and Saturday.  Book titles include Ice Age People of Pennsylvania , Indian Paths of Pennsylvania, The Moravian Mission Diaries of David Zeisberger 1772–1781 and First Pennsylvanians.  If you are interested in archaeology or history, there are many titles of interest.

The annual awards ceremony recognizes individuals for a number of achievements in Pennsylvania archaeology including outstanding avocational archaeologists, most archaeological sites recorded in the past year, and for other significant contributions to Pennsylvania archaeology.  Student scholarships are also awarded from the Hatch Scholarship fund and the Kinsey fund.  The Lifetime Achievement award recognizes an individual who has been an active member of the archaeological community for at least 25 years and has made significant contributions to furthering both the Society and our archaeological heritage in Pennsylvania.(  The auction is a popular and 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 Society, Elmer Erb Permanent Fund and Kinsey Scholarship fund.

The program concludes on Sunday morning with another series of presentation session containing papers focused on the curation and research of archaeology collections.
Please join us for an educational and entertaining weekend. We hope to see you at the meeting!

For more information on the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology and the annual meeting please visit the website at:

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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