On September 30, 2013, Reps. Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Lamar Smith (R-TX) published an opinion piece in USA Today arguing for a reassessment of how the National Science Foundation (NSF) awards its research grants. Cantor and Smith questioned “why the NSF chooses to fund social science research including archaeology…over projects that could help our wounded warriors to save lives.” The Representatives argued that we must reprioritize “the government’s research spending in favor of improving Americans’ quality of life.” You can read The Society for Historical Archaeology’s President, Paul Mullins’ response here.
This attack comes at a time when funding for the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH), another source for publicly-funded archaeological research, is facing a proposed 49% cut in the House of Representatives.
The Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) is reminding our lawmakers about the economic, social, and cultural values of publicly-funded archaeological research. If you believe that Archaeology Matters and want to voice support for continued federal funding that supports archaeological research, please:
1. Sign this petition
2. Share this petition with your friends, colleagues, family, and the communities you work with through email, Facebook, and Twitter. Tell them #WhyArchMatters to you, and how it benefits them.
When you sign the petition, the following message will be sent to Representatives Cantor and Smith on your behalf:
To Representatives Cantor and Smith:
NSF funding for archaeological research currently represents only 0.1% of NSF’s budget. This level of funding is very small and has little or no impact on the funding levels for other types of NSF programs; however, this 0.1% funds a wide range of archaeological studies that directly benefit American citizens, both culturally and economically. NSF-funded archaeological research:
– Brings together the economic benefits of preservation, heritage tourism, and job opportunities in a variety of fields (cultural resource management, museums, academia, and others)
– Provides unique educational and enrichment opportunities for people of all ages and backgrounds
– Encompasses a broad range of scientific research fields, making science interesting and relevant to elementary, middle school, and high school students. It is a platform for promoting science in American educational programs.
Archaeology matters. We urge you to support continued NSF funding for archaeological research.