Re: Repatriation

Susan S. Chin (
Sat, 21 Sep 1996 05:19:31 GMT wrote:
: 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.

: Cheers,
: Rebecca Lynn Johnson
: Ph.D. cand., Dept. of Anthropology, U Iowa

Thanks for your informative perspective Rebecca. What concerns me about
NAGPRA is that, if carried out fully, there may very well be little material
left for study, especially the skeletal collections, many of which have
been and continue to be reburied (from what I've read) in accordance with
the Repatriation Act. What does the future hold for North American
prehistory studies, as the body of materials available for study dwindles?
Something I wonder about since that was my area of interest as an undergrad.
Is there a point to pursue further studies in light of this.