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.
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:
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.
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!
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:
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!
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!
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.
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.
This post is authored by John R. Welch, Director of the Landscape and Site Preservation Program with Archaeology Southwest.
U.S. Representative Thomas O’Halleran (D-AZ-1) took time out this summer to visit an important ancestral village site on White Mountain Apache Tribe (WMAT) lands. On a warm afternoon, in the good company of WMAT Cultural Resources Director Ramon Riley, Tribal Historic Preservation Officer Mark Altaha, and Archaeology Southwest CEO Bill Doelle, the Congressman heard directly from the site stewards. Riley told O’Halleran, “Apaches have taken care of these lands and places for many generations, since time immemorial. We were traditionally taught, ‘Díí nagoz’aani bidádin’ii’ le’,’ protect and respect places of power and history.”
Riley and Altaha led the group off the beaten track, to a place that once provided homes for about a dozen families, the ancestors of today’s Zuni and Hopi tribes. O’Halleran and other visitors were saddened to learn that many of the old rooms at the village—still defined by sandstone and limestone wall stubs—had been excavated without authorization or proper scientific protocol. “Gravediggers!,” Riley sneered, saying, “It did not used to be like this, with people going around and digging up graves and stealing the things people were given to help them in the spirit world.” About 20 of the rooms that defined and surrounded the plaza, the ceremonial and communal center of the village, were unceremoniously dug out about 6 years ago.
Mark Altaha offered some important history to the Congressman, explaining that “looting and grave digging was a big problem here on the reservation in the 1960s and 1970s. In the days before the Archaeological Resources Protection Act (1979) and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (1990), people hunted down the ancestral Hopi and Zuni sites and helped themselves. I guess you could say it was a sort of hobby, but the damage and desecration was terrible. Now we are seeing fewer incidents, but the damage is just as serious. It seems like the looters and grave robbers operating today are professionals. We have to be careful.”
Riley and Altaha are part of a team working with the Bureau of Indian Affairs and the Tucson-based non-profit, Archaeology Southwest. Bill Doelle, the leader of Archaeology Southwest, said “archaeologists, many of whom see places and objects mainly through scientific lenses, have contributed to the loss of connections between tribal communities and their ancestral sites. We archaeologists need to do more to understand community concerns and safeguard the lands and landscapes in keeping with local, and especially tribal concerns and preferences.”
Congressman Tom O’Halleran ahead of Ramon Riley (right) and Bill Doelle (left) on the trail to a badly damaged ancestral village.
Congressman O’Halleran was disappointed to learn that, “the same problem of looting we see in the Oak Creek Valley, on the Coconino National Forest, is also a concern on reservation land.” “I had hoped to learn that these criminals would at least have the respect to stay off tribal lands,” O’Halleran said. On the other hand, the Congressman voiced approval for the team’s work: “The federal government can’t solve every problem, and it is great to see the Tribe’s historic leadership in cultural and heritage conservation continue in this program to exclude grave robbing and artifact theft from the reservation.” “It is always gratifying to see community-driven partnerships that include tribes, federal agencies, and non-profits,” O’Halleran said, “I certainly support efforts to prevent, detect, and prosecute archaeological resource crime. We need more partnerships like this.”
To report suspected looting activity, please secure your personal safety first, then promptly call 911 or 1-800-637-9152 to report the crime. A reward of $500 is allowed for information leading to a looting conviction.
This week, CRM professionals from ACRA shared their expertise with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). The ACHP had asked for public comments on its strategic plan, and ACRA members were keen to weigh in.
In a substantive, 7-page letter, ACRA urged the agency to showcase best practices, expand its relationship with tribes, utilize new technology to assist in project planning, and more. Members of the Government Relations Committee were key to developing the points in this letter, and we are grateful they shared their expertise!
Click here to read ACRA's comment to the ACHP regarding their strategic plan.
ACRA's Annual Conference is the premier networking event for the CRM industry - which makes it a great opportunity for students preparing for a career in CRM!
This year's conference will be held October 24-27 at the Historic Davenport in Spokane, WA. For only $25, you get access to all 13 sessions of the conference, which cover a wide range of archaeological and historic preservation topics. You will get to hear and participate in discussions about bridging the divide between academic training and CRM employment, tribal views on CRM, and more. You can view the full schedule here.
Another special event specifically for students is our new mentor lunch program. We have almost 40 seasoned CRM practitioners signed up to buy YOU lunch, provide career advice, and more. Spaces for the lunch are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
Attending the ACRA conference could net you the connections you need to quickly get a job upon graduation, and your knowledge of industry issues could make you a more attractive candidate. Don't miss this opportunity to network with the leaders of the CRM industry - register today!
Register for the ACRA Annual Conference