Mainland USA > Hawaii, USA #worldinterview #20

Mainland USA > Hawaii, USA

Interviewee: Regina Hilo

What is the United States strategy to look after and cope with a large number of archaeological sites and respond to the demands of international protocols regarding the conservation of world heritage sites?

Strategies to inventory, manage, and maintain any number of archaeological sites in the United States is largely dependent on the jurisdiction of federal and state agencies, as well as private landowners, and their resources (funding, trained personnel, equipment). These strategies vary from location to location, specifically from state to state, and are directly dependent on the agency exercising authority or having jurisdiction over land parcels.

With most, if not all, agencies struggling to secure financial resources and/or retain professional staff to develop meaningful proposals addressing an agency’s core mission, I feel that community partnerships are increasingly necessary as both a management and maintenance strategy.

Responding to the demands of international protocols in the conservation of world heritage sites is not at the forefront of our Hawaii SHPD mission, as we are constantly working towards compliance with our state’s Revised Statutes and Administrative Rules.

How does the United States build capacity for minority groups to get involved in archaeology and museums?

Advanced degree programs in museum studies are available in the United States and internationally. The University of Hawaii at Manoa has always had a traditional M.A. in Anthropology, and has added the M.A. in Applied Archaeology. The University of Hawaii at Hilo has a M.A. in Heritage Management. Both programs are two years in duration.

Building capacity for minority groups to get involved in archaeology and museum studies varies from state to state, from tribal group to tribal group, and from organization to organization. Ultimately, programs will target specific goals an organization or tribe wants to strengthen. There are competitive federal grants for Native American and Native Hawaiian non-profits. Competitive scholarships for Native American and Native Hawaiian students at all levels of post-high school education are awarded annually through professional organizations like the Society for American Archaeology. I have been very fortunate to receive two scholarships from the SAA’s which enabled me to embark on my graduate school education while also working full-time at the Hawaii SHPD. Without those scholarships, the financial burden of school would have been far too daunting for me to consider graduate school at all.

How are traditional cultural practices, such as foodways, dance, language, etc., addressed through local, state, or federal laws and regulations?

Federal laws (NAGPRA, NHPA) require consultation with Native Hawaiian Organizations (NHOs). State laws also necessitate consultation under certain conditions. The Constitution of the state of Hawaii, in article 12.7, provides the following language:

“The State reaffirms and shall protect all rights, customarily and traditionally exercised for subsistence, cultural and religious purposes and possessed by ahupua`a tenants who are descendants of native Hawaiians who inhabited the Hawaiian Islands prior to 1778, subject to the right of the State to regulate such rights.” (

Hawaiian language revitalization and Hawaiian language immersion education has significantly increased the number of Hawaiian language speakers across the state. Though there are differences in linguistic systems and more than one ‘standard’, the Hawaii State Department of Education contributes to Hawaiian language revitalization by providing for K-12 Hawaiian language education. These kulakaiapuni “deliver instruction exclusively through the medium of Hawaiian language until grade 5, whereupon English is formally introduced.” (

Also, please see `Aha Punana Leo’s chronology of Hawaiian language usage, Hawaiian history, and events leading to the decline and eventual revitalization of Hawaiian language at their website, below:

 Hula, mele, and oli are often composed to commemorate specific events, places, or individuals. These may be considered artforms by some, but to most Native Hawaiians, hula, mele, and oli are traditional cultural practices. We compose mele to remember historical events, to protest acts of injustice to the Kingdom, to unite the masses, to honor our ali`i, and to tell stories of our deities.

With regard to human skeletal remains, Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 6E and Hawaii Administrative Rules 13-300 govern my day-to-day decisions at the SHPD. I’ve often said the statutes and rules protecting human skeletal remains in Hawaii are the strongest in the United States, perhaps even internationally. For more information, please visit our SHPD website:

To learn more about the History and Culture branch, please visit our page:

As Indian tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations have gained more political and financial power, what changes have you seen in the practice of cultural resources management, particularly in regards to consultation?

NHOs are more familiar with NHPA Section 106 consultation, its purpose and NHOs expectations of consultation. There are also more and more Native Hawaiians with professional qualifications in traditionally western fields like archaeology, environmental engineering, landscape architecture. And, there are skilled cultural liaisons, most of whom are Native Hawaiian, serving as intermediaries between the project proponents and community. These liaisons convene and facilitate meetings on behalf of the project proponents, and present their project proponent’s updates at meetings mandated by the state.

About Regina:

Regina Keʻalapuaonālaniwikimekeānuenu e Hilo (Kamehameha Schools graduate, BA, UHM) is currently an Applied Archaeology MA student in UHM Anthropology.  Born and raised in Kapāhulu, she is a Native Hawaiian archaeologist, Hawaiian language researcher and speaker, and the current President of the Society for Hawaiian Archaeology (SHA). Regina works as a Burial Sites Specialist in the History and Culture Branch of the State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) to mitigate potential effects to human skeletal remains under SHPD jurisdiction. Regina is one of two newly appointed Student Representatives for People of Color on the Society for American Archaeology’s Government Affairs Committee, an advisory board to the SAA’s Board of Directors which advises the SAA on policy positions and governmental affairs. Regina is humbled and honored to be a recipient of the 2017 Native American Graduate Scholarship in Archaeology.

She is an an avid supporter of Science Technology Engineering Arts and Math (STEAM) in public education, including computer programming, coding, Geographic Information Systems (GIS), and wearable technology incorporating both function and fashion.

Questions from Kevin Bartoy on the US mainland.

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Mexico > mainland USA #worldinterview #19

Mexico > mainland USA

Interviewee: Kevin Bartoy

What is the United States strategy to look after and cope with a large number of archaeological sites and respond to the demands of international protocols regarding the conservation of world heritage sites?

The short answer would be I don’t think there is a strategy. The laws and regulations of the federal government in the United States only afford protection to archaeological sites if they are on federal lands or if the projects that may affect them have a federal nexus. That is, funded or permitted through a federal agency. Some states, including my own, have laws and regulations in place offering protection to archaeological sites. It is actually a misdemeanour in the State of Washington to knowingly disturb an archaeological site regardless of where it is or who is doing the disturbance. Any disturbance requires a permit through a state agency. It is a felony to knowingly disturb a burial site.

Overall, I do not think that listing as a world heritage site or international protocols have any real effect on the day-to-day work that we do. Applicable federal, state, or local law is complied with, but I have never had an instance in my 25 years as a cultural resources professional to have complied with international protocols. In the US, I believe much more effective action in regards to archaeological sites would happen at the state or local level.

It is my impression that world heritage sites and international protocols are much more things of a political or academic realm. I seldom see their effect on the actual resources that we deal with on a daily basis.

How does the United States build capacity for minority groups to get involved in archaeology and museums?

This is a difficult question for me to answer as I have not been directly involved in diversity issues within a museum or academic setting in terms of hiring and promotion. I can speak for my agency however within the State of Washington. “Inclusion” is one of three agency emphasis areas for the Washington State Department of Transportation. As an agency, we believe that we want our workforce to look like the communities that we serve. We try to do this through outreach to historically underserved and underrepresented communities, including communities of color and tribal governments. We promote and expand participation of disadvantaged business enterprises in our contracting. We also continue to expand our efforts in community engagement and environmental justice to better involve and reflect the needs of the diverse communities we serve.

What are the roles of federal and non-federal recognized tribes in federal, state, county and city projects?

This would depend on how the project was funded or permitted. If there is a federal nexus, applicable federal laws and regulations apply. Those laws require consultation with federally recognized tribes. We often will consult with non-federally recognized tribes as “consulting parties” not as tribal governments. The difficulty is that this consultation often makes the federally recognized tribes upset. It is a fine line and we point out that such consultation is not “government to government” in those cases. If there is no federal nexus, then the rules would fall to the states or local governments. Living in a relatively progressive state, we have laws and regulations in place that require us to consult with tribal governments at the state level. There is no distinction made for federally recognized tribes at the state level.

The tribes are given an opportunity to comment on projects and oftentimes the state agency who regulates cultural resources compliance is a strong advocate for the tribes. So much so that projects will not be approved unless the concerns of the tribes are addressed. This happens on state or federal projects. In the State of Washington, many of the federally recognized tribes are politically and economically powerful, so they have quite a voice and their concerns must usually be addressed for a project to move forward. I do not think that this is the case in many other places within the US however.

In Washington State, we are also unique in the treaties that were signed by tribal governments and the United States during the territorial period. These treaties included reserved rights for “usual and accustomed” fishing, hunting, and gathering places. As with many native cultures, the tribes in Washington State do not make a distinction between natural and cultural resources. However, the treaties, which are the “law of the land,” afford the tribes a much stronger legal position and much greater power in relation to natural resources, so this is often the focus of our consultation. Since the fisheries in Washington State afford a great deal of economic benefit to the tribes, natural resources often take greater consideration over cultural resources. Yet, both are critically important to the tribes and all tribes in the Salish Sea have both natural and cultural resources staff who participate in consultation.

Again, I would say in my experience, having worked in several states over the past 25 years, Washington State and its relation to the tribes is unique.

What is CRM (cultural resources management) and which laws and agencies help protect cultural resources?

Cultural Resources Management is a poorly named field that seeks compliance with a gamut of cultural, archaeological, and historical laws and regulations. It is a large industry as practiced in the United States and is part and parcel of the environmental permitting and approval process that projects must go through to move forward. The term is poor because it includes this compliance type work as well as work in museums or parks. Some work is done for industry, some for government, some for private citizens, some for non-profits. The field includes archaeologists, cultural anthropologists, biological anthropologists, historians, and architectural historians. Seldom are cultural resources “managed.” They are usually identified, classified, and then mitigated if they would be affected by a project.

There are a number of laws on the federal level, most notably the National Historic Preservation Act (Section 106). There is also the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, Section 4(f) of the United States Department of Transportation Act, and the National Environmental Policy Act. There are also a number of state and local laws and regulations that vary throughout the country.Resources as disparate as traditional cultural places, archaeological sites, and historic buildings are grouped together in this legal framework.

The primary law is the National Historic Preservation Act, which, despite its name, does not “preserve” anything. The act was put in place in 1966 as a reaction against widespread development in the United States that was actively demolishing historic structures. This development was primarily related to highway construction. The act simply asks federal agencies to consider the effects of their projects on historic properties and to mitigate those effects where they are adverse. The results of the law are seldom preservation, but often result in other forms of mitigation.

The one law that does have some teeth in terms of preservation is one that you seldom hear about unless you work in transportation. Section 4(f) of the United States Department of Transportation Act requires agencies of the United States Department of Transportation to avoid 4(f) resources, which include historic properties as well as parks, trails, wildlife preserves, etc. This law will often result in preservation although it seldom does for archaeological sites, which do not have to be “preserved in place” unless their value is determined to be more than the data they contain.

About Kevin:

Environmental Program Manager, Washington State Ferries.

Washington State Ferries is the largest ferry system in the United States. As Environmental Program Manager, I ensure compliance with a multitude of laws and regulations (federal, state, and local) necessary for the design, construction, and maintenance of our facilities throughout the Salish Sea. I am a trained archaeologist and am the lead for cultural resources compliance in my current position, but also oversee compliance for natural resources, planning, sustainability, etc.

I have published several papers and articles related to the work that I do for Washington State Ferries, and previously in other positions at the Washington State Department of Transportation.

Prior to joining the Washington State Department of Transportation, I had previously worked in academia, the private sector, and a non-profit museum as an archaeologist and cultural resources professional. I have published several articles and an edited volume as part of that work.

Questions from Eduardo Escalante in Mexico.

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Australia #worldinterview #1


Interviewee: Sally MacLennan

What issue or issues is/are your community facing right now?

Like a lot of places around the world, the perceived tension between development and heritage conservation continues to be a factor in Australia. I see the archaeology and heritage community (both professional and non-professional) facing a challenge around how to better engage and interest new audiences. In particular, I think the official canon of heritage and archaeology in Australia is often not representative of the diversity of Australian experiences and this can contribute to obstacles in appealing to the broader community about the value and interesting stories that underpin our heritage.

Please share a strategy that you have developed to approach, consult, mitigate, and resolve a challenging issue in your community.

Recently techniques of collaborative project design, involving diverse groups from different levels of government, community interest groups and owners and managers of heritage places have been quite effective in addressing some of these tensions at a local level. New creative approaches to sharing and managing heritage such as using virtual reality technology to engage young (and old!) audiences and actively seeking input from communities and individuals at the project design stage to reframe the ‘cult of the expert’ have been some methods that have emerged from these co-design processes.

What is the existing framework for community members to vocalize concerns and have them addressed by the appropriate state/federal/tribal agency?

There are mechanisms built in to a number of local, state and federal planning and legislative processes for members of the community to object to certain proposals. Going to the media or political representatives can also be an effective way to raise the profile of certain concerns as well!

How has your cultural heritage shaped and/or influenced your professional career?

I’m not sure! Working in Australia I’m now more conscious of the diversity of cultural heritage here, including that of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders and of the plethora migrant communities. Maybe it’s the cultural legacy of telling yarns, or just my interest in novels when I was younger, but now I’m drawn to the stories and emotions behind places and things and seem to look for opportunities to be able to explore them in my professional life.

About Sally:

Sally is an archaeologist and heritage professional based in regional New South Wales.

Questions from Regina Hilo in Hawaii, USA.

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Order UP! Artifacts in from the Field, What Happens Next?

Most folks don’t consider what happens to material collected in the field.  The artifacts have to go somewhere.  Where do they go?  What happens to them?  Is there a cost?

A quick overview of the answers to these questions:

Where Do They Go?:  In a perfect world the artifacts/objects/material and its associated documentation (field notes, maps, photographs, journals, budgets, etc.) are typically stored either in a museum or an institutional/agency storeroom or repository.

What Happens to Them?:  Objects and associated documentation are accessioned, assigned catalog numbers, labeled, cataloged, inventoried, rehoused from their field bags/boxes (in acid-free, inert, archival microenvironments), assigned locations within the facility, and stored.  Some, usually the unique or “really cool” objects, are kept out to become part of an exhibit.  Most often the only time artifacts are accessed is for loan to other museums/institutions, further study, or yearly inventory.

Is There a Cost?:  YES – the cost is exceptional:  a facility must be acquired and maintained, qualified staff for accessioning, cataloging, housing, and management are required, temperature and humidity must be regularly monitored, pest control measures must be taken, security measures must be implemented and adhered to, protection from light, fire, and natural disasters must be implemented, and proper supplies must be used to ensure the health of the objects and their life in perpetuity.  (There is a lot of “must” in this paragraph, isn’t there?)

Keep in mind this is just a quick overview and food for thought.  Most museums have hundreds of thousands (if not millions) of artifacts in storage with just a few thousand on actual display.  Most educational institutions and repositories have hundreds if not thousands of boxes of material in storage/on-site facility with a small amount out for loan, continued research, and use in classrooms.  Once an object is taken out of the ground we (humans) have a permanent responsibility for its care and future as well as public education.  Museum and Agency Curators are Stewards of the Past and the Future.

Here at Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission, objects that are found in the facility or recently received from the field are given a good, clean, safe, and proper home.  We make them accessible to agency staff, Native American Tribes, educators, like agencies or institutions, researchers, genealogists, students, and the public (when appropriate).  We also make sure the collections are searchable in a database so as much study/research can be done prior to accessing actual objects, we prefer them to handled minimally and for as brief a time as possible.

NOTE:  Washington State Parks and Recreation Commission does not actively excavate for artifact and data collection meant only for interpretive or research purposes.  We work primarily with Cultural Resource Management (CRM) firms and Native American Tribes when a development or utilities upgrade/repair is necessary in one of our parks.  We have agency Archaeology staff that manage the archaeology aspect of a project and can and do engage in surveys, shovel probes, test pits, and excavations.  We are stewards of state lands and the state’s cultural and natural resources, therefore, we prefer to work outside the boundaries of a known site or divert a project if a new site is realized.

More from Mount Vernon

Hello, I’m writing from our archaeology lab in Mount Vernon, Virginia along the lovely Potomac River just south of Washington, DC.  I’m a PhD student at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville in historical archaeology.  At Mount Vernon, George Washington’s plantation, I’m doing a pre-doctoral fellowship to digitize and put online artifacts excavated from a fantastic feature.  By the end of 2012, we will be offering a website devoted to the material culture of George Washington and the enslaved individuals who lived and worked near the mansion.  The archaeological record of this colonial household comes in the form of a large midden feature – chock full of 18th century ceramics, glass, beads, buttons, buckles, tobacco pipes, fish scales, I could go on and on!

Archaeologists excavated the midden feature from 1990 to 1994. George Washington's mansion is in the background.

Our vision for this project takes a material culture analytical approach that unites the archaeological record with probate inventories, a database of George Washington’s orders and invoices for goods from England, those items stocked in local stores, and even museum collections to better understand the developing consumer revolution on the part of colonial Virginians.

Want to dig deeper into George Washington’s trash?  We have a blog and a facebook group!

Here’s a sample of some of the highlights of the assemblage:

Imported 18th century white ball clay figurines, minus heads.

Stoneware mug made by the "Poor Potter" of Yorktown, Virginia, ca. 1725-1745.


Sword scabbard ornament engraved with partial "GW" monogram, ca. 1778.

What are we doing in the lab?

Every week I run an open lab for anyone who wants to walk in and help wash, sort, bag and catalog the artifacts we have recovered.  This summer our lab day is weds.  Today the drying racks in the lab are full so it is time to sort the artifacts into categories– brick, historic period ceramic fragments (known to us as sherds) glass shards, stone tool making debris, stone tools, nails-wrought, cut and wire.

Each type above gets a separate ziplock bag and a catalog number– a unique number that signifies exactly where in the site this batch of artifacts was recovered.

This is a first step towards artifacts analysis.

Several blocks away from the lab is an old cotton warehouse turned into a storage facility.  There we have rented a space to store the massive collection we have amassed in 16 years of research. The Kolb artifact assemblage is stored in 600 plus cardboard bankers boxes.  Over time our lab staff and Carl have sorted these by types–stone tools, prehistoric ceramics, historic ceramics, animal bones, botanical specimens have all been culled from the collection and are stored together.


Johannes Kolb Site

Good Morning its 8:22am and the temperature will reach 100 degrees today. My name is Chris Judge and along with colleagues Carl Steen and Sean Taylor we are co-directors of  a 25 year researcha nd education project to explore a site spanning 13,000 years in South Carolina.

Today Carl is editing a chapter we three wrote on the Kolb site for a book on South Carolina to be published by the University of South Carolina Press.

I am in the lab expecting student volunteers to help wash artifacts from our two week field season in March, editing the 2011 South Carolina Archaeology MonthPoster featuring the Johannes Kolb Archaeology and Education Project, and beginning to plan our 2012 field season.

Sean is asssiting local law enforcement with a looted site in the western portion of the state.




Day in the Life of an Adjunct Professor

By training, I’m an archaeologist, but currently I teach cultural anthropology for a community college in the Northeastern section of the United States.  I leave my archaeology work for volunteer archaeology workshops for middle school students, writing pieces for a science advocacy’s publication, and for whenever I can incorporate my knowledge of the discipline to my students (to give them a preview of what else is included within anthropological research). This summer, my work included items like lesson and syllabus planning, previewing videos and DVDs for classtime discussions, and adapting to the different textbooks selected for the fall semester. I also worked on writing book reviews, columns, and articles for submission to anthropological and science-based publications.

However, this week, I’m partaking in a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmarks workshop geared toward community college faculty, where my days are chockful of archaeological work. Earlier this week, I got to see a ROV (remotely operated vehicle) device in action and also ever so briefly use it to scan over a shipwreck site in one of the Great Lakes. We also watched others use sonar devices under the lake and bay waters. We’ve gone further up the coast to see the remains of a wreck washed ashore and worked on practicing mapping the pieces which remain. Although I have never formally studied the Great Lakes or maritime/nautical archaeology beyond archaeobotanical coursework, my summer included days of reading articles and books on the subject matter.

You see no matter what you do as an archaeologist, constantly learning subject matter is essential work and involves a level of professional development. I came here to upstate Michigan this week to learn, explore, but most of all, to find new materials, approaches and activities to spark a new level of teaching from within. My students are my primary focus, although a lot of what went into my decision to apply this spring for this particular workshop series included the chance to spend a week somewhere I had never travelled, with facilitators and colleagues I never met before this week. Of course, maritime history and archaeology are topics I never explored before as well.

Today, we will be coming together as 25 students who teach across the United States (and within different academic departments and disciplines) to learn from experienced archaeologists, historians, doctoral students and governmental employees for a final day of workshops. While it is hard to imagine surpassing snorkeling over a wreck, and surveying a wreck on the shoreline yesterday, the same speculation could have been made earlier in the week. I mean, how do you top using and watching others use an ROV over a wreck? Or, seeing sonar being used to map shapes and features on the bottom of the water? The life of an archaeologist or an aficionado of the field can be quite eclectic, but no matter what your age, pathway, or deviations throughout the course of life, no matter what, you can always find your way to or back to, archaeology and enjoy the experiences.

For now, I plan on working on my final assignment then heading off to the marine sanctuary for a day of presentations, a boat ride, a few more research and photography hours, and then closing events. I should have some photos on my webspace at some point, so do feel free to take a look and also to write me an email with any questions. Likewise, if you are a community college instructor in the United States, I highly encourage you to check the NEH website for more on all the professional development opportunities which could be awaiting you as well next summer!