Like everyone else we are caught up in the Covid-19 pandemic. The Prehistory Research Lab at the University of Texas at Austin has been closed and our staff sent to work from home. Thankfully none of the PRP staff have shown any symptoms. We have weekly meetings online and try to stay in touch and support one another as best we can. The bad news is that we can’t work on physical analysis in the lab and we can’t test new sites in the field.The good news is that we always have a lot of data that needs to be written up – every PRP staff member has a little list of things that they’d write up “if they ever get a little time.” Time is the one thing we do have right now so I’m hoping to see a slew of archaeological journal articles come out of the present crisis.
Of course, our outreach program is at a standstill. Tours and speeches have been canceled and the Society for American Archaeology Annual Meeting, which was to open in Austin in late April, has also been canceled. We hope that many of these groups will come to see us or ask that we speak to them when the coast is clear.
I have fielded some questions from our members about the future. I hope that all who read this will take this to heart – if there is a nonprofit that you have supported in the past PLEASE help them out in any way you can this coming year. Due to stock market conditions many grant opportunities are drying up at the same time as oil prices are precipitously dropping. In Texas, that means less money available for nonprofits and the coming year will likely be a lean rebuilding year for many of us.
In the meantime we hope that all of our readers and their loved ones are safe and healthy. Together we will weather this storm and come out stronger for the experience.