Fri, 20 Sep 1996 14:47:34 -0500
Not that I am in a particularly good position to comment, as I have
nothing invested in the pre-NAGPRA state of affairs (still being a lost
undergrad at the time)....
Still, I wonder if there hasn't been an awakening to the fact that
fieldwork cannot be the end-all-be-all of archaeology. NAGPRA has been a
good thing in that it has forced institutions to see just what they have
in their collections, by way of materials and records.
And in the last five years, there has been an 800% increase in the
proportion of dissertations employing pre-existing collections as the
main data source (from 5% in 1990 to 40% in 1995). (These figures are
from the former archaeology office of the NPS; I don't know what they
call it now that it's the joint archae-ethnography office). This
increase may or may not be a response to NAGPRA; but in the event, it's
certainly a good thing.
Rebecca Lynn Johnson
Ph.D. cand., Dept. of Anthropology, U Iowa