I’m reading an interesting piece by Ripley Bullen (and isn’t Ripley a great archaeology sounding name?) entitled Eleven archaeological Sites in Hillsborough County, Florida (and available on line at http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00001192/00001). This was published in 1952 by the Florida Geological Survey of Tallahassee. Well, I’m reading the first seven pages, as inter-library loan only provided the first part of the article [after I wrote this I found the rest–see above]. In this article, he noted (p. 7) that:”Data from the W.P.A. excavations in Hillsborough County, while oftentimes incomplete, bear upon these problems and increase our knowledge of past inhabitants. If publication could have occurred shortly after excavation, when more of the material was available, we would know much more about the prehistory of the Tampa Bay region. It is only by piecing together this scattered, poorly recorded, and incomplete evidence that an understanding of the life of and cultural forces at work upon the inhabitants can be made clear.”
What Bullen stated 60 years ago is the same basic problem that I and others doing research into New Archaeology or any past archaeology projects regularly encounter. This is an issue that those of us doing archaeology today need to consider with our own work! We need to at least publish our basic findings in a timely manner. Conference papers are a great first step, but are not sufficient in and of themselves. At least social media sites and blogs makes these onetime obscure reports more widely available–at least among archaeologists who have embraced social media!