Call to Action

TCPA opposes elimination of KAS and PAR

April 11, 2019
Dr. Eli Capilouto, Dr. David W. Blackwell
Office of the President Provost and Chief Academic Officer
101 Main Building 105 Main Building
University of Kentucky University of Kentucky
Lexington, KY 40506-0032 Lexington, KY 40506-0032
pres@uky.edu Provost@email.uky.edu

Dr. Capilouto and Dr. Blackwell:
The Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology (TCPA) is writing today to ask that you
reconsider the decision to close the Kentucky Archaeological Survey (KAS) and the Program for Archaeological Research (PAR). We understand that as of May 29, 2019, all 12 staff positions associated with the KAS and PAR will be eliminated. As an organization representing archaeological research in the state of Tennessee and the promotion of archaeological awareness and stewardship of our past, TCPA is writing to voice our opposition to this move to eliminate KAS and PAR. As a public land grant university, the mission of the University of Kentucky is dedicated to improving people’s lives through excellence in education, research, and creative work. All of these elements are currently being met by the mission of both KAS and PAR. KAS educates the public about Kentucky’s rich archaeological heritage and provides a service to other state agencies and nonprofits. PAR is responsible for training many archaeologists with hands on, real world experience who have either continued to work in Kentucky as archaeologists or have moved on to other states, including Tennessee, to continue to teach or work in the field of archaeology.

TCPA also understands an external review of the University of Kentucky’s Department of
Anthropology conducted last year praised both KAS and PAR. The external review of the
department found that both KAS and PAR represent “some of the strongest and best-known
portions of the University of Kentucky’s Department of Anthropology,” according to the February 2018 review (Lexington-Herald article entitled “External review of UK archaeology praises two recently eliminated units” March 19, 2019). The same article also goes on to state that both KAS and PAR have “trained virtually all of the professional archaeologists in the state, and have created innovative educational and outreach programs and activities.” Given this strong public recognition, public education and outreach, and archaeological training, TCPA finds that by shutting down KAS and PAR, it would hamper the University of Kentucky’s mission of improving people’s lives through excellence in education, research, and creative work.

TCPA is asking the University of Kentucky to reconsider their decision to eliminate KAS and PAR.

TCPA agrees with many other archaeological organizations, including the Kentucky Organization of Professional Archaeologists and the Society for American Archaeology, who have stated publicly that by eliminating these two programs, the university would be eliminating a leader in public archaeology in Kentucky and would be removing one of the department’s strongest public assets.

Sincerely,

Jared Barrett, MA, RPA
President, Tennessee Council for Professional Archaeology
Archaeologist

Update on the Illinois State Museum Closure

Dear SAA Member:

As many of you are aware, the Illinois State Museum, which includes the Dickson Mounds Archaeological Site, is scheduled to close September 30. The museum will lay off all but three employees, and there will be no access to any of its collections. SAA has been working with preservationists and museum groups to oppose the closure, and we would like to update you on our efforts. On July 9, SAA submitted written testimony opposing the closure to the Illinois Commission on Government Forecasting and Accountability. You can read our testimony here. We shared that testimony on both the SAA Facebook page (see the post here) and Twitter account (see the tweet here). Prior to submitting our testimony, we alerted membership to the potential closure via a Facebook post that outlined where to find news and how to add your voice to the opposition. To add your support, please “like” the Save the Illinois State Museum Facebook page and sign the MoveOn petition. The old adage stills holds true: there is strength in numbers. SAA members based in Illinois received an update from Government Affairs encouraging them to write to Governor Rauner to oppose the closing and providing a sample letter for their use. In addition, I wrote a Letter to the Editor opposing the closure that appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Illinois’ top daily newspaper, on September 8. We will continue to work with our Illinois membership and cultural resources partners until all avenues have been exhausted. We are also continuing to track Illinois State Bill 0317, which would prevent Governor Rauner from closing the museum and its satellite sites. Look for more updates as events unfold.

Yours truly,

Diane Gifford-Gonzalez President