The Pandemic challenges us in more ways than any of us want. In the very focused world of Arkansas archeology, it limits our changes to gather for lecture and conferences and nixes our volunteer excavations. As conditions improve, we look eagerly to returning to these missed opportunities. The Arkansas Archeological Society offers two major events, the annual conference and the Training Program, that are on the calendar for the fall. The conference is September 24-26, in Conway, and the Training Program is to be October 30-November 5, in DeQueen.
Well… the Training Program was going to be October 30-November 5.
The very short version of this is that the 2021 Training Program is cancelled. The Society’s Executive Committee made that decision this past weekend.
It is important that you understand why this decision was made. It is a matter of timing and logistics. The conference is almost invariably at the end of September, while the Training Program is normally in June, which gives the Society’s administrators about three months to pull together the final conference details while also recuperating from the MASSIVE amount of work that it takes to put on a Training Program (arguably the harder of the two events).
This year, we were trying to do a shorter Training Program and one of the few windows of time that afforded is the one mentioned above. This would be threading the needle between 1) the Southeastern Archeological Conference, which many of the Survey staff attend, and 2) the start of Modern Gun hunting season here in Arkansas. This would put little more than a month between the conference and the Training Program, and it was determined that, with the way that the year has developed, that it was no longer feasible to pull together the Training Program for November. So, they decided to cancel.
Of course, I am disappointed to miss out on the chance to be in the field with so many friends and colleagues, but I understand why the decision was made and support it. I expect that the plan will be to return to a normal June program in 2022, but I do not know where that will be.
As we close the book on 2021, I’d like to thank the Society’s Executive Committee for their work and honesty about what it was practical to achieve, and particularly thank Marilyn Knapp, the Society/Survey liaison, for her efforts in trying to get the Training Program to work. I’d also like to thank the Caddo Nation in Oklahoma for their partnership in developing the project, and UA-Cossatot, in DeQueen, for their support. Many within the Survey contributed a lot of time and effort into making this work, and you also have my thanks.
I look forward to seeing everyone at the conference in September and in the field again in 2022!
Station Archeologist and [former] Dig Director of the 2021 Arkansas Archeological Society Training Program