Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Possible Indian burial ground getting lots of attention statewide

[Click here]
From the Valley Breeze, by Louise Tetreault.

I was surprised to see them refer to "the prestigious New England Antiquities Research Association".


pwax said...

I got this link from a North Smithfield resident concerned about rock piles. So it looks like we are talking rock piles. And say! All the players are old friends. This guy Meli still makes me a little nervous - failing, as he has, to acknowledge prior scholarship and research. I am most touchy about such things. Meanwhile Paul Robinson is, I think, the RI state archeologist - the one and only state archeologist who fully endorses NEARA efforts.

JimP said...

You may have missed it, Peter, but Dr. Meli responded to the blog in that thread about Queen's Fort.

He wrote to me privately as well. He said he referred to and cited Mavor and Dix in his full article in the NEARA Journal and even spoke with Jim in 2006 before his passing. I also know for a fact that Dr. Meli referenced Mavor and Dix during his presentation at the NEARA conference.

Dr. Meli said, "I was in no way trying to claim that this was my discovery, I am standing on the shoulders of giants."

So it was merely an oversight that the citation was missing from the website article. It has appeared everywhere else Dr. Meli has presented the results of the research done by him and his students.

So the fact that Mavor and Dix went uncited on the NEARA website was nothing more than an oversight.

He also told me about this possible North Smithfield Wampanoag burial site. Wish I could see it.

pwax said...

Good to know. Sorry if I jumped the gun.

JimP said...

It's partly my fault and mostly a misunderstanding. No harm done.

pwax said...

Well Jim, I just went and read what "Walrus" commented on about Queen's Fort and I still am not satisfied. He again mentions mistakes made by M&D as if this explains why he did not reference them in the web article. I think he believes there is a connection between mistakes and intellectual priority.

I will give you a classic example: Alexander Flemming, who discovered penicillin, made lots of mistakes and it was really only Chain and Flory who did the substantive scientific research to create the modern medicine Penicillin. Nonetheless Chain and Flory made sure to reference Flemming in their publications. It is a matter of simple scientific professionalism. I do not mean to compare Flemming to M&D, nor Meli with Chain and Flory. I am trying to make a point about scientific integrity.

The NEARA web page is not supposed to be like an airline magazine but rather to strive towards being a scientific publication. I created the NEARA web page and I still have concerns about its integrity as a potential scientific publication.

And yes, to be honest, there has been a lot of criticism of NEARA over the years. You have read "Fabulous Archeology" by that Harvard prof? After all that, it is not un-reasonable for NEARA people to be hyper-sensitive to academic archeologists coming in and "discovering" what NEARA people have been working on. I am guilty of that sensitivity and I plan to continue to defend the priorty, the "intellectual bragging rights", of NEARA people whenever it looks threatened. On the other hand, I know I am over-reacting for which I am sorry.

JimP said...

I think the only reason he mentioned the mistakes by Mavor and Dix was because I brought them up in my comments. I believe he was directly responding to me, and it was not an attempt at an excuse for why the web article is uncited. He says, "I also want to say . . ." as though his following comments are separate and unrelated to the citation.