24 May 2010

The Devil's in the Details

There is something wrong with archaeologists. Maybe its the National Register criterion that's the problem. All i know is that archaeologists will not, for the life of them, make a determination of eligibility regarding a site. Its like a fuse in their brains blow in the process of writing their reports and the only words they are able to use are "probably" "likely" "might be" "could be" etc. Makes me want to blow my brains out.

I'm an archaeologist and I have had coworkers/bosses try to talk me out of an "eligible" or "not eligible" determination. Its one thing to argue for one or the other designation but to argue for "possibly"....mind boggling. Of course no one wants to be the one to agree to the destruction of a lithic scatter which later turns out to be a pre-clovis camp, but honestly, does that ever happen? No.

It could be that criteria D is so vague, asking for a determination on a site that may be likely to yield information important in prehistory or history. How can you really know with shovel tests or a couple 1x1's. I understand the idea that you need to test more to be absolutely certain but i cant imagine that anyone thought criteria D would lead to every single site being called "possibly eligible". At some point aren't we being asked to use our education, experience and judgment to decide one way or another?

This wishy-washy determination makes for a sticky wicket when it comes to ICRMPS, PAs, MOAs. (I'm folksy and possibly British!)

So...to all my archaeology pals...nut up and make a decision.

**peaches and tweets**

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