I thought about giving this post the title of “Why you should belong to the Ohio Archaeological Council,” but then I figured that people join for different reasons and I didn’t want to discourage anyone if their reasons where different from mine and I didn’t want other OAC members to tell me I neglected to mention the most important reason to be a member. So, here are my reasons.

If you have other reasons for joining, please post them in the comments so potential members will be overwhelmed with the obviousness of the need to join up immediately. Anyway, I’m a member of the Ohio Archaeological Council because I think archaeology is important and relevant — and a lot of fun! I’m unapologetic about the fun part. And I’m an Ohio archaeologist so of course I’m going to be a member of the OAC. The Ohio Archaeological Council is the major voice of professional archaeology in Ohio. The more members, the louder our voice. The louder our voice, the more likely it is that we’ll be heard. And there are all kinds of reasons why we would want to be heard.

For example, the OAC submitted a Friend of the Court brief in the Kennewick Man case, adding “our voice to that of other scientists concerned about regulatory efforts to reinterpret NAGPRA so as to virtually preclude the study of culturally unaffiliated human remains.” The OAC’s brief was cited in the final opinion of the court. More recently, the OAC submitted another Friend of the Court brief in a case involving two skeletons even more ancient than Kennewick Man. The fact that it was the Ohio Archaeological Council behind these briefs and not simply a couple of individual archaeologists with an opinion gave greater weight to the arguments.

The Ohio Archaeological Council sponsors Archaeology Month and other public education initiatives. Public education is vital for maintaining support for spending public money on protecting archaeological sites and on doing archaeological research. Since the public is paying for a lot of the archaeology that gets done in Ohio, Ohio archaeologists have an obligation to share what we’ve learned with the public so they’ll appreciate the importance of their investment.

And speaking of research, the OAC has a modest grant program to help fund research undertaken by members. Some of the money the OAC collects in membership fees goes back to members in research grants. The more members we have, the more research we can support.

Finally, I’m a member of the OAC because I enjoy getting together with my colleagues and hearing about their latest discoveries. Archaeology, like all the sciences, is a group endeavor. Each of us recovers one or two pieces of the puzzle of the past, but it’s only by sharing the separate pieces with each other that we can hope to put the entire puzzle together. OAC meetings are opportunities to get together and learn from each other. Whether you’re a professional archaeologist, a student, or a dedicated amateur, consider joining the Ohio Archaeological Council. Support archaeological research and public education. Help us protect archaeological resources and join us at our meetings to keep up with the latest research and to have fun socializing with folks that share your love of learning about the past.

If you’ve read this far into this post, why the heck wouldn’t you want to join the OAC?

Brad Lepper

Posted October 23, 2014
Topics: Archaeology

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