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Anthropology Alumna Gail Williams Wertz Published an Article on Collaborative Archaeological Research

It has been two months since anthropology alumna Gail Williams Wertz received the Alumni Medallion awarded from William & Mary. Now, Gail just published an article in the journal Advances in Archaeological Practice, a journal published and archived by Cambridge Core. While the Alumni Medallion is an acknowledgement of Gail’s contribution to the William & Mary community, this publication is a recognition of Gail’s academic endeavors in the field of archaeology. The article details Gail’s archaeological survey of material objects retrieved by private landowners in several farms located in the Rappahannock River Valley. These objects were often discovered in the process of farm tillage and later became the house collections of these farms. Though legally belonging to the farm owners, the artifacts were crafted and used by indigenous peoples who settled in the area long before British settlers displaced them in the 17th century. In addition to outlining the specific archaeological techniques adopted to survey and preserve these artifacts, Gail provides insights into best practices for collaborating artifact collectors. This practical question leads to Gail’s further discussion on the ethical necessity of incorporating the voices of Native American communities in the area into the due process of collaborative archaeological research, as these artifacts are a significant part of descendant communities’ claims on their history. Because of Gail’s reflection on the advancement of indigenous cultural sovereignty, Cambridge Core invited Gail to write a blog article to stress the importance of an archaeological survey grounded in close collaboration with descendant Native American communities. To read Gail’s blog article, click here. A link to Gail’s journal article is provided below the blog article. The journal article will remain open-access until May 2022.