Last time I suggested that NCPTT’s workshop on remote site surveillance technology and federal partnerships was a tiny cog that, in its own humble way, turned the wheel of the Preserve America behemoth. Can this be true? Right… Okay, it takes a little spin, but it’s not too far-fetched. Consider this. In the full PA report, they state that one of the key benefits of hosting the summit was to provide a venue for examining “emerging preservation challenges, such as addressing security threats” (p5). This is discussed in detail in the section titled, “Enhancing Stewardship.” There the report authors introduce the summit recommendations by pointing out that Hurricane Katrina has highlighted the need for emergency planning and that the September 11 terrorist attacks “upturned assumptions that security can be an afterthought at any historic property” (p11).
On the surface they obviously have terrorism in mind when they talk about “security,” but I think they are aware of the more expansive connotations. Katrina, 9-11, and “other challenges mean the preservation of our historic resources…requires innovative and proactive approaches during the coming decades” (ibid). That, I think, is where our remote archaeological site surveillance event comes into its own, especially when you consider how the antiquities trade, narcotics trafficking, and terrorism are becoming linked. “Why,” you should ask yourself, “are meth-heads collecting arrowheads?” See what an Arkansas sheriff has to say about it here. Check out, too, observations by the Illicit Antiquities Research Centre’s Research Director, Neil Brodie, on the links between drugs and antiquities.
—David W. Morgan (NCPTT, A&C, blog 2)