Archaeology & Cultural Resource Management: Visions for the Future

Edited by Lynne Sebastian and William D. Lipe

Archaeology & Cultural Resource ManagementArchaeology & Cultural Resource ManagementArchaeology & Cultural Resource Management

This volume emerged from the first Douglas W. Schwartz Advanced Seminar in Anthropological Archaeology, held at SAR in 2007 on archaeology and public policy. Ten scholars, all passionate about the topic, reflected on the way federal legislation passed in the 1960s, which was intended to preserve the country’s irreplaceable historic and prehistoric heritage, has become increasingly bureaucratic, legalistic, inflexible, and rote. This legislation had a profound effect on the profession and practice of archaeology in the United States within a short time as the profession engaged in serious debate about the goals of “cultural resource management” (CRM) and its relationship to archaeological excellence and good public policy.

CRM archaeology “is public archaeology in the purest sense of the word—archaeology carried out using public funds and intended by law to provide public benefits,” write seminar co-chairs and volume editors Lynne Sebastian and William D. Lipe. “From our perspective, the policy is sound, but the implementation is flawed.” The question the seminar participants asked themselves was, “What kinds of changes can we make that will improve the practice of CRM archaeology to make it both better archaeology and better public policy, delivering the public benefits envisioned by Congress?”

Their organizing principles for both the seminar discussions and the book chapters were these: describe what you see as the ideal state of CRM archaeology for the future; identify the obstacles keeping archaeologists from reaching that ideal state; and propose measures to overcome those obstacles. Like other books on the SAR Press list this year, Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management offers both solid scholarship and concrete solutions to stubborn problems at the forefront of the field.

Find out more about Archaeology & Cultural Resource Management by visiting the SAR website (opens in new browser window).

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