Advocating for Public Archaeology: don’t let ‘Discover Archaeology’ close

An excellent public archaeology program at the University of Calgary is in danger of being closed. The note below was sent around to members of the Public Education Committee of the Canadian Association of Archaeologists. If you’re at all concerned about this, read on:
“…the Discover Archaeology program is coming to an end. Most unfortunate, given the program’s success and the demand for it. A one-person show reaching about 2200 students a year ain’t bad.

Anyhoo, we’ve been given until June 2009 to find a program sponsor. No sponsor, no program. So sad.

I’m wondering if this is what happens to most arky outreach programs. Thunderous entry, great success, and out with a whimper as the rug gets pulled.

If you know of anyone looking to support a great program ($95,000 should support the program with a coordinator and an assistant), let me know.

Take Care,



Susan de Caen

Coordinator, Public Programming

Department of Archaeology

University of Calgary

2500 University Drive N.W.

Calgary, Alberta T2N 1N4

Joanne Lea, who heads our committee, sent round this note:
I am writing to ask for all of us, to write a letter to advocate support by the University of Calgary for this program.
Here is an opportunity for us as the CAA committee and also as public archaeologists in Canada to put our time and efforts where our convictions and interests are. We have the occasion, here,  to offer our support for a program in Canada in the same way we hope for public support of our work.
By providing the Calgary program with support, on letterhead from our institutions and agencies, the University of Calgary may become aware of the impact of this program across Canada. It certainly won’t with no response from us.
The Calgary program responds to a need from teachers in Alberta where “archaeology” per se is a required element of the grade 4 curriculum. The program has served thousands of Alberta students and their teachers annually. It is operated single-handedly by Sue de Caen as on-site programming and also as outreach from the interpretive centre at Fish Creek Provincial Park. In a province with rapid development, this program also serves to bring awareness of Alberta’s heritage to young Albertans and to work towards protecting this heritage. This is a goal across Canada with respect to our archaeological heritage and the Calgary program has been a leader in this area for some time. Its loss would be felt not just in Alberta, but across Canada. You can look at the University of Calgary program at by following the links to Education Programs (I apologize for not being able to give you a direct link from my clunky dial-up connection.)
Letters should be addressed to the Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences at the address provided below BUT the letters should be physically SENT  TO  SUE de CAEN at the address also provided below. It is my suggestion that if letters are left unsealed, Sue could copy them for her files before forwarding them.
Thank you for your consideration of this matter. I know Sue can count on our support ( and use of CAA letterhead, Margaret).
Address Letters to:                                             Send letters to:
Dr. Kevin McQuillan                                            Susan de Caen
Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences                        Coordinator, Public Programming
University of Calgary                                           Department of Archaeology
2500 University Drive N.W.                                  University of Calgary
Calgary, Alberta 2500 University Drive N.W.
T2N  1N4                                                           Calgary, Alberta
T2N  1N4
I post these two notes to let the wider community interested in archaeology know what’s going on with regard to the U Calgary program. As far as I’m concerned, some of the most important archaeology done today, is the archaeology done by people like Sue de Caen. Her program should not be allowed to die!
Send letters of support today!