Friday, March 30, 2018

Lifetime Awards and Once in a Lifetime Experiences, Spring Archaeology Conferences 2018

The weekend of March 15th-18th heralded the 2018 Middle Atlantic Archaeology Conference where our very own Dr. Kurt W. Carr received the Lifetime Achievement Award. This award recognizes an archaeologist who has made significant contributions for more than 20 years to archaeology in the Middle Atlantic Region. The recipient must meet four criteria of Ethics, Research, Outreach and Service.  We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Kurt and honor his ongoing contributions to Pennsylvania and North American archaeology. As a staff archaeologist with the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission (PHMC) for 38 years, we also celebrate his contributions to the Pennsylvania Archaeology Site Survey (PASS), and encourage all to attend next week’s Pennsylvania Archaeology Council Symposium, Archaeologists Have History Too: Oral History of Pennsylvania’s Archaeology Site Survey.

Kurt began his career path as an archaeologist in high school at the age of 16, hitchhiking each summer from the northern suburbs of Philadelphia to join Fred Kinsey’s Franklin and Marshall College field school and survey crew in the Upper Delaware Valley. He continued his education with Dr. Kinsey, earning his B.A. in Anthropology from F&M in 1971, then branched out to earn his masters and doctorate degree in Anthropology from The Catholic University of America in 1975 and 1992. His graduate studies focused on Paleoindian and Early Archaic prehistory at Thunderbird and Fifty sites in Virginia. As a professional archaeologist, his post-graduate research and scholarship has broadened and continued in the areas of early hunting and gathering cultural adaptations, stone tool technology, settlement pattern analysis, geomorphology and environmental reconstruction.

He started his career at the Pennsylvania Historical Museum Commission (PHMC) as a cultural resource reviewer in 1980, eventually heading and overseeing the expansion of the department as the Chief of the Division of Archaeology and Protection from 1988 to 2005. He became the Senior Curator of the Section of Archaeology at The State Museum in 2007. Beyond his duties as a state archaeologist, Dr. Carr has served as a mentor to students of archaeology; taught courses at local community colleges; chaired committees and served in various leadership capacities for archaeology societies, councils and conferences; helped to organize annual meetings; delivered over 50 papers; and published over 25 peer reviewed journal articles and books, as well as over 13 technical reports.

One of Kurt’s many contributions to the archaeology of Pennsylvania is his participation in regional and statewide surveys as a college student and later as a PHMC archaeologist. State Museum archaeologists drafted the first standards, known as the PASS file, to record archaeological resources systematically in the 1950s.  This ongoing statewide campaign has recorded over 22,000 historic and prehistoric sites in the Commonwealth through the efforts of professional archaeologists from government, private and academic institutions, as well as avocational chapter members of The Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology (SPA). Kurt has many on-the-ground stories to share from his college days of paddling the tributaries of the Susquehanna with a fellow student testing for, and recording sites on the floodplain. Not to mention, the months going door-to-door collecting landowner interviews in Lancaster County. He is also a wealth of knowledge from years spent guiding professional and avocational archaeologists through the site recording process.

Next weekend attendees of the Pennsylvania Archaeology Conference (PAC) Symposium will have the opportunity to hear Kurt’s experiences along with a comprehensive panel of Pennsylvania archaeologists whom have also devoted a lifetime of work toward creating and updating the PASS file system. Other representatives from the PHMC who are participating will be Noel Strattan, State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) CRGIS Coordinator as well as Section of Archaeology staff member, Jim Herbstritt along with former Senior Curator, Barry Kent. Speaking of lifetimes, it is a once in a lifetime opportunity to hear an oral history of the Pennsylvania Archaeology Site Survey as well as learn about current archaeology projects happening in the state at The Society for Pennsylvania 89th Annual Meeting to follow.

The Pennsylvania Archaeology Conference Symposium and
The Society for Pennsylvania 89th Annual Meeting
April 6-8th, hosted this year by North Fork Chapter 29
Comfort Suites
10 Lakeside Avenue
Dubois, PA 15801
(814) 375-6028

The PAC symposium will kick off the weekend long conference on Friday afternoon. Saturday through Sunday morning, paper sessions begin with the SPA annual meeting. Representing the SHPO, Hannah Harvey will present during the Saturday morning session, The South Blairsville Industry Archaeological District: Exploring Western Pennsylvania’s Plate Glass Heritage. Past and present State Museum affiliated presenters include Barry Kent and Jim Herbstritt, who will be delivering concurrent papers to start the Saturday afternoon session—Images of Artifacts of Pennsylvania’s Past from Paleoindian to Historic Times, and Ethnogenesis and the Beginnings of Susquehannock. You can find further details at the SPA website, and link to the Preliminary Program for a complete listing of speakers and topics.

Walk-in registration is welcome at the door and there is still time to mail-in or register online for this year’s PAC Symposium and SPA Annual Meeting. Registration fees increase to $35.00 for regular SPA members and $25.00 for students as of this Saturday, March 31, 2018. Banquet fees remain at $32.00, for pre-registration and with limited availability for walk-in registrants. This year’s keynote banquet speaker is Dr. Michael Gramly, presenting Ritual Hunting of Proboscideans in the New World: Its Character, Inception, and Disapperance. Those interested in hotel reservations can reserve directly with the Comfort Suites. Reduced room rates are no longer available for conference attendees. 

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

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