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photo of two women standing together. Conference badges hang from their necks.

Western Field Representative Linsie Lafayette and archaeologist Jennifer Mack.
Courtesy Photo

Donning a hardhat, Western Field Representative Linsie Lafayette found herself in a mine tunnel following a vein of coal. Fortunately, it was part of a group tour provided by the Society for Historical Archaeology (SHA) during its “Portals to the Past Gateways to the Future” conference held Jan. 3-6 in Oakland, California. The mine closed in 1906 when better coal reserves were found elsewhere, but it is accessible to the public at the Black Diamond Mines Regional Preserve near the town of Antioch. 

After the tour, Lafayette staffed a table exhibiting The Archaeological Conservancy in the conference book room. Highlights Lafayette mentioned were people stopping by her table to share articles they took part in, and spotting a friend browsing the posters she hadn’t seen in 23 years. The last time Lafayette had seen archaeologist Jennifer Mack, they were fresh out of college and volunteering on the excavation of a Roman-Celtic battlefield in Germany.

photo of archaeological excavation in a heavily wooded area.

Linsie Lafayette and archaeologist Jennifer Mack excavating at the Dunsberg site in Germany in 2000.
Photo Credit: Geoff Smith

The tabling provided a way for people to stop by to learn more about the Conservancy, share information about endangered archaeological resources, take a complimentary magazine or brochure, or in many cases, simply smile and say they were already members or ask about renewing their memberships. Site monitors and guides for some of the Conservancy tours also took the opportunity to say hello. 

The SHA conference is held annually and travels nationwide. The 2025 conference will be in New Orleans, Louisiana.