Non-Professional Archaeologists in the US

Donn Grenda, the President of SRI has written a short piece in the SAA June 2018 Government Affairs and International Government Affairs Update. He has picked up on the recent issue of the (defeated) proposal to allow non-professionals to carry out archaeological fieldwork on Arizona state lands, and the concern that this could come back in Arizona or that it could, or does happen in other US states.

This is particularly a concern where the actual numbers of professional archaeologists are unknown, and so arguments about over- (‘there are plenty archaeologists looking at other stuff – they aren’t interested in this site‘) or under-capacity (‘there aren’t enough archaeologists in this state – we are helping out because they cannot do this without us‘) can’t be countered with arguments supported by data.

Insight and Analysis
Who Is Doing The Research?

Donn Grenda, Ph.D.
Statistical Research, Inc.
Chair, Government Affairs Committee

The defeat–at least for now–of the measure in Arizona that would have allowed non-professionals with minimal training to conduct archaeological investigations on Arizona state lands for any type of project has raised larger questions that archaeologists need to focus on: just how many states, and which federal agencies (if any), allow non-archaeologists to conduct investigations on their land? We need to know where this practice is going on, and whether or not it is spreading. To that end, in the weeks ahead SAA will seek out and welcome relevant information on this topic from its members in all 50 states, so that we can begin providing our membership with a complete picture on this important matter. Help us fill these maps!