Physical and biological anthropology is revolved around the evolution of humans, their variability and their adaption to the environment around them. One of the sub-fields of physical anthropology is archaeology. The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) is an international organization that was founding in 1934 and has been dedicated to the research and interpretation of the archaeological heritage of the Americas. With over 7,000 members, The Society for American Archaeology represents professional archaeologists in colleges and universities, museums, government agencies, and the private sector. SAA has members in all 50 states as well as many other nations around the world.
Anthropologists study all aspects of human life – physical, biological and cultural. Archaeologists have a narrower field; they study the human past by recovering and analyzing artifacts and evidence of culture. This subcategory of physical anthropology is important because it links the past to the present. This field of study helps to create concrete answers to questions by providing concrete evidence – which is also helpful to the entire anthropology community. Some may not realize, but there are archaeological sites located in all fifty states meaning that archaeology is actually surrounding you. From these sites, scientists are able to gain knowledge about the human story. It gives access to more than 14,000 years of life in North America and several million years in Africa. With this information we can learn about past civilizations, cultures and how Homo sapiens evolved to the complex humans they are today.
To further this research, the Society for American Archaeology is involved in many different projects and gives feedback on different acts and bills proposed. The SAA is most current involvement is with a project called Historic Properties Treatment Plan (HPTP) for Mitigation of Construction Impacts at Amity Pueblo run by Northland Research, INC. in May of 2016. In eastern Arizona, there is an adobe compound known as Amity Pueblo and it is an ancient Native American burial ground. In 2011, Bones from at least ten ancient adults were unearthed from their graves, broken, and scattered by backhoes and bulldozers as the Arizona Game and Fish Department started construction on a new public fishing pond. With the help of The Society for American Archaeology, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) began the mitigation process to recover and rebury the artifacts from Amity Pueblo in 2013. There were a few bumps in the road as the tribe members wanted their ancestors to be buried as soon as possible whereas archaeologists wanted a scientific discovery. But by the end, the ACHP and SAA were able to successfully rebury the artifacts while still learning from the dig site.
By becoming involved in projects, The Society for American Archaeology is able to immerse themselves in the community. In this particular scenario, the SAA able to help the native tribes and the Fish and Game department. Archaeology can be relevant in many different subcategories of physical anthropology because it helps to open a door to the past by providing facts and evidence to back up the research being conducted.