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  • 09/19/2019 12:04 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    Aimee Jorjani, Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, addresses attendees

    Yesterday evening ACRA had the opportunity to co-sponsor a reception for the new Chairman of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) Aimee Jorjani. President-Elect Nathan Boyless, Vice President for Membership Wade Catts, and Executive Director Amanda Stratton joined representatives from other historic preservation groups at the event, which was held at the Woodrow Wilson House in Washington, D.C. 


    President-Elect Nathan Boyless, Executive Director Amanda Stratton, and Vice President for Membership Wade Catts

    The ACRA attendees had the chance to meet with Ms. Jorjani and discuss issues specific to CRM, including offering the organization as a resource to the ACHP on such issues. ACRA works very closely with the ACHP in numerous spheres, including continuing education opportunities, and we look forward to continuing that relationship with Ms. Jorjani leading the Council.

  • 09/17/2019 4:52 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    It was reported in an article published earlier today by the Washington Post that the National Park Service has found that up to 22 archaeological sites could be damaged or destroyed in the construction of the border fence. The sites are a part of Organ Pipe Cactus National Monument in Arizona and were highlighted in an internal NPS report obtained by the paper:

    "The administration’s plan to convert an existing five-foot-high vehicle barrier into a 30-foot steel edifice could pose irreparable harm to unexcavated remnants of ancient Sonoran Desert peoples. Experts identified these risks as U.S. Customs and Border Protection seeks to fast-track the pace of construction to meet Trump’s campaign pledge of completing 500 miles of barrier by next year’s election.

    Unlike concerns about the barrier project that have come from private landowners, churches, communities and advocacy groups, these new warnings about potential destruction of historic sites come from within the government itself."

    New construction with the monument began last month, and a number of laws, including the National Historic Preservation Act, have been waived to build the wall near national parklands in Arizona. 

    Read the full article for the Washington Post here.

  • 09/16/2019 4:04 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    This post is authored by Shawn Patch, Principal Investigator, Sr. Archaeologist, and Sr. Geophysical Specialist at New South Associates.

    Like many ACRA members, I have participated in CRM Day on Capitol Hill several times. During my visits I was only able to meet with staffers, never the legislators. In August of this year, I reached out to Congressman Ted Budd’s office (NC-13) requesting that he visit our office in Greensboro, NC. Imagine my surprise when I received a response from his scheduler with an offer for September 3 for an hour-long visit! Finally, a chance to meet in person with our representative.


    Representative Ted Budd with members of the New South Associates staff in Greensboro, NC

    Mr. Budd brought his Chief of Staff and a legislative aide. We gave him a tour of our historic building and he met with all the staff, asking questions about their work and backgrounds. Sarah Lowry, Brittany Hyder, and I then had an opportunity to meet and talk with him for about 30 minutes. We had several topics on our agenda that began local and worked toward the national level.

    I introduced New South Associates as small, women-owned business specializing in historic preservation. We emphasized our growth in North Carolina, the number of staff with advanced degrees, and our impact on the local economy. We reviewed several projects from his district, including a Civil War fort and artifacts (he loved those), two cemeteries, and an historic African American church. We used those as a spring board to thank Mr. Budd for co-sponsoring with Rep. Alma Adams (NC-12) the African American Burial Grounds Network Bill. Mr. Budd listened attentively, took notes (especially about the Civil War site), and asked good questions.

    We talked at length about the value and importance of historic preservation to local communities and stressed that it’s not necessarily “red” or “blue”, but certainly “purple.” Mr. Budd said he would research and consider joining the Historic Preservation Caucus. We also discussed the Veterans Curation Program (VCP), requested his support for the Historic Preservation Fund, and gave him and overview of ACRA (along with handouts). Although he would not commit to any specifics, he said they would research the issues we raised. The best part of our meeting was when he told us that he was not previously aware of historic preservation and that he enjoyed learning about our field and work.

    After the meeting I thanked his scheduler and Chief of Staff for arranging the meeting. His scheduler asked me to contact her directly for my next Hill visit. This week I received a thank you note from Mr. Budd.


    Thank you note from Congressman Budd

    Our meeting was a success and I genuinely believe Mr. Budd walked away with a better understanding of CRM and why it’s important. We have also laid the groundwork for working relationships with his staff and I look forward to future meetings with them.


  • 09/13/2019 11:53 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team


    The National Trust for Historic Preservation is interested in gaining an understanding from stakeholders across the preservation field about core values we hold, the challenges being faced, and what innovation is occurring currently. Click here to provide your thoughts by Wednesday, September 18. The organization will share the trends that emerge with survey respondents later this fall.


  • 09/12/2019 4:11 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    We are looking forward to seeing many of you soon at the 2019 ACRA Conference in Spokane! ACRA's room block at the Historic Davenport is full, so if you have not booked your room yet, we wanted to provide you with some additional options:

    • Montvale Hotel
      Distance from conference location: 0.2 mi
      Dating back to 1899, the Montvale Hotel is a member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America.
    • Hotel Ruby
      Distance from conference location: <0.1 mi
      Hotel Ruby is a 1960s, renovated motor inn-turned-boutique hotel in the heart of downtown Spokane.
    • Davenport Tower
      Distance from conference location: <0.1 mi
      Located just across from the Historic Davenport, this contemporary hotel embraces the downtown nightlife, shopping and theater districts just outside its front door.

    Please take a look at the latest session schedule to see everything we have in store for you when you arrive. From sessions on innovative approaches to CRM and company/project branding and graphics, this year's slate covers a wide range of CRM and business-related topics.

    Stay tuned to both the ACRAsphere and the conference page for more updates as we get closer to the conference, and let us know if you have any questions in the comments below.


  • 09/09/2019 9:27 PM | Kimberly Redman (Administrator)


    In May of this year, during ACRA’s annual Hill visits, I was lucky enough to meet one-on-one with Colorado Senator Cory Gardner.  I felt lucky that I had that opportunity, because you are normally meeting with their staff, who carry issues forward to them.  During that meeting the Senator showed a real interest in archaeology, in addition to our businesses.  Towards the end of July, as part of the ‘History Comes to Life Here’ campaign, I sent a request to all my representatives, asking them to visit us while on summer recess (when they are usually in their home states).  A month later, I received a call from the Senator’s staff to schedule a visit!


    On September 3rd, Senator Gardner visited our archaeological data recovery excavations in Durango, Colorado.  The visit was a great success in my estimation.  It was not a part of his press tour, so we had him (along with his Chief of Staff and Durango staff member) all to ourselves.  From the pick-up at the airport to the departure one hour later, the Senator was fully engaged in questions about what we do, why we do it, the numbers of people employed, the number of companies in Colorado.  What struck me particularly was the genuineness of his interest.  He relayed stories from his childhood in eastern Colorado, of time spent with Dr Dennis Stanford at a site near his home, about his interest in our past and how we learn about it today.  He was certainly interested in costs (construction and mitigation) and property rights, but his interest in what we were finding, what it told us about the past, and how we will share those stories with the public were exciting to hear.



    This visit, in my opinion, exemplified what we need more of in CRM.  As CRM archaeologists (I can’t speak of other disciplines within CRM), we know that the general public IS interested in what we do, though often it is a mystery to them.  Having a politician, much closer to the law-making/changing table, who recognizes that we are businesses that employ people to explore the past to the benefit of the greater public is extremely important.  The fact that he thought that what we were doing was really cool – that was icing on the cake!

  • 09/05/2019 11:34 AM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    Did you know that being an ACRA member gets you access to more than just conference, continuing education, and networking? Our benefit spotlight series focuses on some of the benefits you may not be aware of. Next up: industry discounts.

    ACRA members are eligible for discounts on some of the services they use the most! Current offerings include:

    • CAIS Radiocarbon Dates Discount
      Just by being a member of ACRA you can receive 10% off all analytical services at CAIS! This includes AMS dating.
    • BETA Benefits
      *ACRA Members who submit samples to BETA for Radiocarbon Dating will automatically be UPGRADED to our PRIORITY Deliver Service* (results reported within 6 business days) from the Standard Delivery Service (results reported within 14 business days). This is a savings of $200 per sample as compared to the regular PRIORITY Delivery Service fee.
      *ACRA Members with good credit standing will be offered a NET 30 day* repayment period.
      *Partial fee charges for samples that cannot be dated due to inadequate size after pretreatments, or due to the lack of collagen will be waived for ACRA Members.
    • Heritage Business International Discount
      ACRA members receive 50 percent off of U.S. and Canada CRM industry data reports from Heritage Business International. These reports present the size of the industry annually from 1971 (U.S.) and 2006 (Canada). Most importantly, they provide a five-year annual forecast for the industry. Data are provided in summary, graph, and table formats and include nominal and real (inflation corrected) dollars. Additionally, the U.S. report provides a breakdown by region. Published annually, these data reports are essential for calculating your firm’s market share, benchmarking your firm against industry performance, five-year strategic planning, and setting next year’s budget based on industry change.

    We are looking to add more discounts exclusively for ACRA members in the coming months, so stay tuned to the ACRAsphere to see those announcements as they break.

    The discounts offered by our sponsors and industry partners can save you both time and money - visit the members-only page to learn how you can start saving today!

  • 08/29/2019 2:15 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    CRM firms tend to place far more emphasis on client acquisition rather than on client retention—and this is generally a business mistake. The interactions between a CRM firm and its clients aren’t just one-time business transactions - they are an ongoing relationship that must be established, cultivated, and maintained. ACRA's upcoming webinar Acquisition v. Retention: Strengthening the Firm-Client Relationship is the perfect opportunity to hone your skills for bolstering your long-term client base.

    Join us on September 26 at 2:00 pm EDT to find out why, and how to extend the “lifetime” of your clients. Attendees will learn how to calculate the cost of acquisition, cost of retention, customer lifetime value, and the amount you should be investing in your customers to increase your profitability and value. You will also learn how to identify at-risk clients before it is too late and methods of winning back clients that do leave your firm.

    ACRA's expert provider for this webinar is Christopher Dore. Dr. Dore is a consultant with Heritage Business International, a social enterprise venture that works to strengthen the value, sustainability, and impact of heritage organizations. He is currently the President of the Register of Professional Archaeologists and has held executive board positions with both ACRA and SAA in the past. 

    By putting an emphasis on client retention, you have the potential to increase your revenue for longer periods than solely focusing on bringing in new clients. Register for September's webinar today!

    Register NOW


  • 08/27/2019 2:48 PM | ACRA Lobbying Team


    Yesterday, ACRA submitted comments to the Forest Service on proposed revisions to its NEPA regulations. ACRA's CRM member firms drew on their experience as consultants to project applicants and federal agencies subject to NEPA review to advise the Forest Service that the proposed changes would curtail important environmental reviews and eliminate public input into the NEPA process.

    The changes could lead to the approval of projects harmful to the environment and cultural resources without public involvement. The Forest Service claims the changes are needed to increase efficiency, but the proposed changes go too far, and would not achieve a responsible balance between development and preservation. ACRA members urge the Forest Service to reconsider the proposed changes.

    Click here to read ACRA's comments to the Forest Service.


  • 08/26/2019 4:19 PM | ACRAsphere Blog Team

    This post is authored by Emily Mueller Epstein, Principal Investigator/Lab Director at Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc. and originally appeared on the CHG website.

    When people find out I am an archaeologist, I am sometimes asked, “Can you dig anywhere you want? Can you keep what you find?” The answer to both questions is always “no,” followed by a primer on state and federal cultural resources laws. Another question I get is “What do you do if you find a dead body?” When someone asks this question without providing any contextual details, I always answer “Don’t touch anything and call law enforcement!”

    In Michigan you are obligated to call the authorities if you believe you’ve found a dead body, or any part of one. The Michigan Administrative Code R325.8051 Rule 1 states “A person who inadvertently discovers a burial or parts of a human skeleton shall immediately notify the police authority of the jurisdiction where the remains are found.” The penalty for failing to contact authorities ranges from being charged with a misdemeanor (one-year imprisonment and up to $1000 fine) or a felony (five years imprisonment and up to a $5000 fine; MCL § 333.2841).

    There are several possible outcomes once law enforcement responds to the scene of discovery. Authorities may determine the bones wrapped inside, let’s say, a blue tarp are the carcass of a whitetail deer, remnants of hunting season. A report is filed, and the case is closed.

    In another scenario, authorities respond to the scene of discovery—for example next to a hiking trail in a park—and suspect the individual is human. Material evidence at the scene suggests the individual died recently (e.g., hiking boots, smart phone, and water bottle). The authorities on-site call the Medical Examiner’s office, which then evaluates the situation, decides the death is in fact recent, and proceeds with the death investigation.

    If, however, law enforcement or the Medical Examiner’s office suspects the individual identified near the hiking trail died a very long time ago, the Michigan State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) must be informed so the SHPO archaeology team can assess the remains. From the Michigan Administrative Code R325.8051 Rule 1 “If preliminary inspection by the police authority indicates that the remains are those of a prehistoric or historic Native American, the state archaeologist of the Michigan history division, department of state, shall be immediately notified of the finding.”

    Others may ask me “Can you dig up a dead body?” According to then Michigan Attorney General Frank J. Kelley’s Opinion No. 6585, “The settled policy of this state is to preserve and maintain the burial places of the dead” (1989). Section 2853 of the Public Health Code (MCL 333.2853; MSA 14.15(2853) indicates a permit for disinterment and reinterment is required before disinterment of a dead body. Whether a burial is on state or private land makes no difference; a local health department or court disinterment decree is required before a landowner or excavator may disinter human remains, regardless of whether the disinterer is a scientific institution or society. Penalties, of course, exist for the violation of these rules.


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