by Bernard K. Means

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This image of two WPA workers at Fort Hill, an American Indian village site in Somerset County, Pennsylvania, was cropped and used for the cover.

I can’t think of a better greeting to await a person after a moderately grueling transatlantic flight than to find a copy of Shovel Ready: Archaeology and Roosevelt’s New Deal for America waiting on my doorstep!  This edited volume was over two years in the making, having originated out of a series of papers presented at the 75th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (SAA), held in St. Louis in 2010.  The formation of the SAA was inspired in part because of the large number of relief archaeology projects taking place across the nation, and the large amount of new data being shared by sometimes very green archaeologists.

A third of the papers in the volume are associated with the major undertakings linked to the construction of dams under the Tennessee Valley Authority in Kentucky and Tennessee, but there are also significant contributions from investigations in Georgia, Iowa, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania. Plus, one chapter considers how a museum—the Field Museum in Chicago—benefited in a lasting way from work relief support.  This was very much a collaborative effort and I want to thank all the volume participants for contributing to broadening our understanding of this tumultuous but dynamic chapter in American history.

More information on Shovel Ready can be located at:,5507.aspx