“Where Do They Go After They’re Dug Up?”: Curation and the Fate of Archaeological Collections

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Did you ever wonder what happens to the finds that are retrieved in archaeological excavations? How extensively are they studied and what happens to them once the researchers conclude their analysis? Professionals often discuss the “Curation Crisis” or the problems attendant to “too many artifacts, too little room”. Today’s program offers an in depth discussion of the disposition of archaeological collections and helps chart a pathway that integrates curation procedures with the overall aims of specific archaeological projects. Our panel includes three experts in the field. Join Daniel Benden, Curator of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin, Francis P. McManamon, the Executive Director of the Center for Digital Antiquity, and Chris Pulliam, an archaeologist and team leader in the St. Louis District Curation and Archives Analysis Branch and assistant director of the Corps’ Mandatory Center.

bendenDanielle M. Benden is a Curator of Anthropology at the University of Wisconsin in the Department of Anthropology. She received her B.S. in Archaeology from the University of Wisconsin-La Cross and M.S. in Museum and Field Studies with an archaeology emphasis from the University of Colorado, Boulder. Ms. Benden has more than 10 years experience conducting archaeological investigations in the Midwest. Her own archaeological research focuses on the archaeology of southwestern Wisconsin. Currently, she is co-directing a 3-year research project that focuses on the presence of Mississippian peoples in the Upper Mississippi River Valley about 1,000 years ago.

Francis P. McManamon is the Executive Director of the Center for Digital Antiquity, an organization devoted to broadening and improving the ease of access to themcmanamon archaeological information and to the long-term preservation of archaeological information. He also holds a position of a Research Professor in the School of Human Evolution and Social Change at Arizona State University.

pulliamChris Pulliam is currently an archaeologist and team leader in the St. Louis District Curation and Archives Analysis Branch as well as the assistant director of the Corps’ Mandatory Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological Collections. Prior to working with the Corps, he was an archaeologist with the American Archaeology Division at the University of Missouri, Columbia, and the manager of the Missouri Archaeological Society. Over the past 19 year he has worked on numerous archaeological collections management projects. He also served as an archaeologist on JPAC and was involved in the recovery attempts of Vietnam War missing in action military personnel.

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