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Goldstein Receives Society for American Archaeology Lifetime Achievement Award

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Dr. Lynne Goldstein (Professor Emerita of Anthropology and Founding Director of the Campus Archaeology Program) has received the Society for American Lifetime Achievement Award. The prestigious award is in recognition of her pivotal theoretical and empirical contributions to the field, in the areas of mortuary archaeology, Midwestern prehistory, historical archaeology, archaeological ethics and repatriation, and public engagement, as well as professional and institutional leadership.Portrait Photo of Professor Lynne Goldstein

Lynne Goldstein earned her BA degree in Anthropology from Beloit College in 1971 and her MA and PhD from Northwestern University (in 1973 and 1976, respectively). Her commitment to archaeology began even earlier, in her high school days through volunteer work at the Field Museum of Natural History and participation in the Kampsville Project. Over the course of her career, she taught at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (1976-1996) and Michigan State University (1996-2018), and also chaired both departments. She retired from MSU in August 2018 and now holds emerita status. A letter detailing all of Professor Goldstein’s contributions to our profession could easily fill many dozens of pages. Here, we attempt to more succinctly summarize some of her key contributions in the areas of scholarship, mentorship, and service, referring the committee to the attached letters of support and curriculum vitae for additional information about specific aspects of her distinguished career.

Lynne Goldstein’s first scholarly publication on Midwestern archaeology appeared in 1971; in 2018 she published four scholarly articles. Over this 48 year period (and more than 65 publications and 200 conference papers), she has made fundamental theoretical and empirical contributions to our field, in the areas of mortuary archaeology, Midwestern prehistory, historical archaeology, archaeological ethics and repatriation, and public engagement. Her early work on Mississippian mortuary archaeology (the focus of her doctoral dissertation) remains foundational and widely cited. Notably, Lynne’s ongoing contributions to mortuary studies has moved this area of study well beyond its early focus on reconstructing prehistoric social organization to more nuanced understandings of identity and variability in mortuary practices in the past. Throughout her career Dr. Goldstein’s research has focused on the Late Woodland and Mississippian periods of the Midwest U.S. where she conducted important and scientifically rigorous fieldwork in Illinois and southeastern Wisconsin, particularly at the site of Aztalan and its surrounding region. Her important contributions on these topics are themselves worthy of SAA recognition. However, one of the additional hallmarks of Goldstein’s career that we wish to highlight here has been her intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm about taking on new projects and exploring a range of different research questions. This curiosity led her to a multi-year project at the Russian cemetery at Fort Ross, California, and to the Tucson Basin, where she was part of large inter-disciplinary team documenting the historic Tucson Cemetery. Publications from these projects have made important intellectual contributions; Goldstein’s leadership of them (and impressive record of external funding) also attests to her remarkable organizational skills, field expertise, and ability to marshal and collaborate in large interdisciplinary research teams.

Lynne Goldstein’s intellectual curiosity and enthusiasm, coupled with her advocacy for public engagement with archaeology and her passion for communicating archaeological knowledge to diverse audiences, have also driven her involvement in an array of other projects. She served on the steering committee that established the Florida Public Archaeology Network, and then served on their board of directors for 12 years. At Michigan State, she developed and led the University’s innovative Campus Archaeology Project, persuading University leaders and grounds people alike that documenting the campus’s history through archaeological investigation was a valuable and significant undertaking. As Lynne has frequently advised us and her students, one should never undertake research without clear research questions, and in addition to providing countless students with field training and community engagement opportunities (as well as financial support), her work on the MSU campus has contributed significantly to the study of 19th and 20th century midwestern US history and the growth and significance of US land grant universities. An early and enthusiastic adopter of new technologies, she also has played a critical role in the expansion of digital humanities initiatives in archaeology. Recent work in this area include co-development of the MSU.seum mobile app to communicate aspects of MSU heritage across campus and co-directing of the “Institute on Digital Archaeology Method & Practice,” with Ethan Watrall (2014-2017).

Her undergraduate and graduate teaching (including many years of offering field schools) have been acknowledged by multiple awards; she has chaired 18 dissertation committees, served on dozens more, and mentored even more graduate (and undergraduate) students in programs around the US, in the United Kingdom, and beyond. She is a generous teacher and mentor, with an uncanny ability to cut through academic jargon and pomposity to help her students identify big questions and address them rigorously and clearly. Beyond her own students, she has mentored hundreds of other young anthropologists through her “standing room only” annual workshop at the AAA meetings on academic careers, which she offered for 17 consecutive years. As an academic administrator and mentor, she has brought the same clear-sightedness, straightforwardness, keen humor and sense of the absurd, and strategic thinking to her own leadership roles and to the guidance she provides others.

Her service to the SAA has been recognized by five Presidential Recognition Awards, spanning from 1991 to 2017. Her service on the SAA Task Force on Repatriation from 1990-2000 (and as an advisor from 2000-2010) made important contributions to the form and implementation of NAGPRA legislation (she also served on the Smithsonian Repatriation Committee for many years). Lynne also served as Secretary of the SAA (1988-1991), editor of American Antiquity (1996-2000), as co-Chair with Barbara Mills of the Task Force on Gender and Research Grants Submission (2013-2019), and currently chairs the SAA Publication Committee (2018-2021). She was similarly active in the American Anthropological Association, where she served as Publication Director for the Archaeology Section (2013-2017), Liaison to the Register of Professional Archaeologists (2016- 2018), and on several additional committees. And this does not even touch upon her leadership in the Midwest Archaeological Conference, Wisconsin Archaeological Survey, Florida Public Archaeology Network, American Association for the Advancement of Science, among other national and regional organizations.

The Society for American Archaeology will honor Lynne at the Annual Business Meeting and Awards Presentation on April 12, 5:00 to 6:30 pm, in the ACC Kiva Auditorium at the 2019 Annual Meeting in Albuquerque.

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