Research Awards Announcement, Spring 2015

The Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology is pleased to announce the call for proposals for our annual Research Awards Program! This program of small grants is intended to support archaeological investigations and research in Tennessee, and is open to all students, researchers, and cultural resource management professionals conducting archaeological investigations within the state and who are TCPA members in good standing. Awards do not generally exceed $600, and are intended to supplement a current or proposed research project.  Recipients are selected though a competitive application process. A list of previous Research Award recipients can be found here. Proposal applications for spring, 2015 will be accepted until April 10. Applications will be reviewed and decisions announced by a target deadline of May 8. 

For detailed information on the awards and application process, please consult the Research Awards section of our web site.


Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month Legislation!

Following the success of Tennessee’s State Artifact legislation and re-launch of Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month celebrations in 2014, the Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology was keen to preserve legislative momentum and further promote the unique archaeological heritage of our state going into 2015. At the January 2015 annual Business Meeting, TCPA Executive Board member and head of the Legislative Committee Jared Barrett proposed that TCPA contact lawmakers and promote new legislation codifying September as Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month. The membership voted and agreed TCPA should move forward with this initiative.

Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month grew out of Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Week, which beginning in 1996 took place in September in order to incorporate the Archaeofest event at Pinson Mounds State Archaeological Park. Over the years Archaeological Awareness celebrations have included the efforts of numerous professional and avocational archaeologists, and reached thousands of citizens. However, there has been no official legislative recognition of the event.

In addition to the traditional Archaeological Awareness celebration, two other factors led the Executive Board to identify September for the Archaeology Awareness Month legislation. In 2013 and 2014, September was named “American Indian Heritage Month.” This fits nicely with the archaeological celebration and acknowledgement of centuries of Native American contributions to Tennessee history. Secondly, in July of 2013 the State of Tennessee Board of Education approved new statewide Social Studies standards. The first unit for 4th grade Social Studies under the new standards is “The Land and People before European Exploration,” in which students learn to “Describe the legacy and cultures of the major indigenous settlements in Tennessee,” beginning with the first PaleoAmerican settlers and extending through historic Native American tribes. This unit is covered at the beginning of the school year, extending into September.

Jared approached Senator Bill Ketron of Murfreesboro (District 13), who agreed to sponsor the Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month bill. Ketron enlisted the support of Representative Steve McDaniel of Parkers Crossroads (District 72). Together they introduced SB0170/HB0313, which reads: “Naming and Designating – As introduced, designates the month of September as ‘Tennessee Archaeology Awareness Month’ to encourage citizens to learn more about prehistoric and historic archaeology in Tennessee.” This legislation amends TCA Title 4, Chapter 1, Part 4, the portion of the Tennessee Code that also designates statewide celebrations including Tennessee Genealogy Month and Women in STEM Month.

The Archaeology Awareness Month bill has now been introduced to both the Tennessee House and Senate. You can track the progress of the bill online at the General Assembly Bill Search page.

The RPA Affiliated Societies Program

At the Annual Business meeting last month, TCPA member and president of the Register for Professional Archaeologists (RPA) Pat Garrow presented information about a new initiative through the RPA known as the Affiliated Societies Program.  That program is open to state level archaeological professional councils, state archaeological societies, and regional, national, and international archaeological societies which embrace the Register’s Code of Conduct and Standards of Research Performance as their own statement on ethics, and payment of an annual fee to the Register based on the size of their membership.

For those unfamiliar with the RPA, that organization is a listing of archaeologists who have agreed to abide by an explicit code of conduct and standards of research performance, who hold a graduate degree in archaeology, anthropology, art history, classics, history, or another germane discipline and who have completed a thesis or dissertation (or its equivalent) that addresses a substantive archaeological research question. The RPA was established on the premise that the privilege of professional practice of archaeology requires professional morality and professional responsibility, as well as professional competence, on the part of each practitioner. Consequently, the RPA and its more than 2,600 members seek “the establishment and acceptance of universal professional standards in archaeology.”

Becoming an RPA-Affiliated Society presents the membership of that society with several tangible benefits. To begin with, members of RPA-Affiliated Societies who are not members of the Society for Historical Archaeology, Society for American Archaeology, American Anthropological Association, or the Archaeological Institute of America, will be eligible to join the RPA for an annual registration fee of $75 – a $50 savings over the normal unaffiliated fee. Applicants must still meet the RPA’s qualifications for registration. In addition, When a society becomes RPA-Affiliated in 2015, all members who register with the RPA for the first time are eligible for the annual registration fee of $75. All society members who are already registered as unaffiliated registrants will be able to take advantage of the $75 annual fee in 2016.

Following the presentation to the TCPA Business Meeting, a motion was introduced that the organization become an RPA-Affiliated Society. That motion was approved by voice vote, and TCPA is currently in the process of becoming RPA affiliated.