I made it up to Anchorage fine, although some car trouble along the way delayed me a bit. I’ve been here for a week and a half now, and am still settling in a bit. I like my internship a lot, although getting me totally set up in the office has taken a while and I haven’t done a whole lot of substantive work yet. I have been sitting in on a lot of meetings and learning a lot about how the planning process works in the Park Service, which is interesting for me since my graduate program mostly focused on very different contexts for planning. There are a lot of similarities, but some important differences too. Even within the Park Service, the Alaska region operates under unique circumstances due to the Alaska National Interest Lands Conservation Act of 1980 (ANILCA), which established most of the Alaska parks and sets out a number of special conditions for how they are to be managed. This, from an interesting blog on natural resources and recreation that I recently discovered, is a pretty good summary of the background to ANILCA.
Anyway, the upshot of all this for this blog is that things are likely to be fairly quiet for a while as I get settled in and decide how I want to deal with blogging from here on out. I will definitely continue to write here, minimally on Southwestern archaeology, which I do intend to continue to follow and comment on. I also have a lot to say about issues related to planning, and I will likely soon have things to say about Alaska as well. I haven’t yet decided if I want to talk about that stuff here as well, or if it might make more sense to start new blogs for them. I’m leaning toward the latter solution at this point, since I think specialization is the way blogging has been heading for a while now, and for good reasons. I’m open to suggestions on this, however.
Like I say, I will continue to write about the Southwest here, but given my current circumstances I may not have much to say about it for a while. In the meantime, read Steve Lekson’s blog. He’s got a lot of interesting stuff to say, in his inimitable style (which translates much better to the blog format than is typical for archaeologists). This recent post on urbanism in the ancient Southwest goes into a lot of issues that I’ve been thinking I should write about, but he basically says most of what I would say at this point, and I agree with almost everything in the post. I have more quibbles with his post on the scale of Chaco’s influence, but it’s definitely worth reading as well.
Thanks for bearing with me during these changes. I’ll have more to say about Alaska at some point, either here or elsewhere, but for now I’ll just say that I like it a lot up here. Anchorage is a great city in a spectacular location. People in other parts of the state are famously contemptuous about it, but it suits me just fine.