Office of the New York State Archaeologist
The State Archaeologist is a staff member of the Research & Collections Division of the New York State Museum and the responsibilities of the State Archaeologist reflect the mission and goals of the Museum and its parent agency the New York State Education Department. At the State Museum the role of the State Archaeologist is to record, investigate, interpret, protect and disseminate information on New York's archaeological heritage through research, education, and service to the general and archaeological community.
The State Archaeologist is involved in research on the prehistory and history of New York State. While this research is often collections based, the State Archaeologist actively engages in field research by co-directing a joint archaeological field school with the University at Albany, SUNY and through archaeological excavations completed with other professional archaeologists, museum staff members, and archaeological groups. During the academic year, the State Archaeologist supervises and works with student interns and volunteers who have an interest in the prehistory or history of the state.
As the director of the Cultural Resources Survey Program, the State Archaeologist helps to coordinate activities and perform archaeological investigations on federal and state funded projects for other state agencies such as the New York State Department of Transportation. This work helps to facilitate the identification and recording of unknown archaeological sites and generates new collections that enhance the museum's archaeological holdings.
The State Archaeologist is involved in public education and outreach about the state's archaeological heritage and the need to "preserve the past". The State Archaeologist interprets and disseminates information about the state's archaeological heritage through:
- presentations at schools, public meetings, and archaeological conferences,
- peer-review articles and lay texts for the archaeological and general community,
- exhibits at the State Museum.
The State Archaeologist responds to general inquiries from regarding archaeological finds and New York's archaeological heritage. Participation in an annual archaeological field school, teacher workshop, and the supervision of student interns represent other public education tasks carried out by the State Archaeologist.
Through Education Law § 233, the State Education Department is responsible for issuing permits for the excavation of archaeological and historical sites found on state land and waterways and caring for the artifacts that are generated as a result of these excavations. The State Archaeologist is currently responsible for overseeing the museum's Section 233 permit program and insuring that collections derived from these excavations are curated according to procedures mandated by state education law. The State Archaeologist is a member of the state's interagency Ad-hoc Committee for Submerged Natural and Cultural Resources and serves as a liaison between SED and other state and federal agencies in the preservation of these resources.
In accordance with museum and departmental goals pertaining to public accessibility to professional research, the State Archaeologist serves as a link between the museum and the general public by participating in the activities of the New York State Archaeological Association and the New York Archaeological Council, responding to requests for information from the public and larger archaeological community, reviewing journal articles, serving on local and regional archaeological boards and committees, and organizing symposia and colloquia on the archaeology of New York. The State Archaeologist disseminates information about New York's archaeological heritage to a wider national audience and works with other State Archaeologists on issues involving the preservation of our nation's archaeological heritage.