2. The John L. Cotter Award for
Excellence in National Park Service Archeology
PREFACE: In honor of the long and distinguished career of Dr. John L.
Cotter and his pioneering contributions to professional archeology within
the National Park System, this annual award was established to inspire
student and professional archeologists to continue Dr. Cotter’s model
PURPOSE: To recognize a specific archeological project within a unit
of the National Park System, conducted by National Park Service staff,
cooperator, permittee, or consultant, and guided by senior National Park
Service staff archeologist(s), each fiscal year, which meets or exceeds
the criteria below.
AWARD: The selected project lead person(s) will receive a commemorative
non-monetary award and a certificate bearing name(s) of principal investigator(
s), project dates, and field unit name. Presentation of the award shall
be at a suitable gathering of representative NPS archeological staff,
and a brief project description shall be announced through official NPS
public affairs channels.
CRITERIA: Candidate project leaders and their work within park submerged
or terrestrial sites shall be evaluated for eligibility with respect
to the following elements:
(1) Exemplary interdisciplinary research design that includes multiple
testable inquiries (e.g., cultural patterns, affiliations, cultural change,
or other analytical concepts of anthropology) as objectives, and uses
data from other supporting disciplines;
(2) Involvement of several students in training for academic work who
perform work elements that contribute significantly to project goals;
(3) Thorough scientific analysis, curatorial treatment meeting federal
standards, interpretation of material culture that is integrated with
research design inquiries, and utilization of appropriate specialists’ assistance
in these activities;
(4) Stated program(s) to enhance public education regarding research
results and benefits of new knowledge generated for improved local awareness
as well as increase scientific values;
(5) Publication plans with identified funding for printing of project
results as professional reports, including electronic formats.
PROJECT TYPES: Eligible projects may be a phase of a larger multi-year
program or a single year project which addresses prehistoric or historic
archeological resources through: excavation, or survey and inventory,
or testing, or focused symposia, or collection analysis and description,
or combinations of these activities. If not NPS funded, the project must
contribute to a field unit’s strategic management of its archeological
NOMINATION: An ongoing project or one begun in the preceding year and
its supervisory staff may be nominated by an NPS career employee or non-NPS
professional archeologist familiar with the work, other than the Review
Group members or persons otherwise directly involved, during the fourth
quarter of a fiscal year. Nominations addressing the criteria above should
be less than 10 pages with fewer than 5 photographs or other illustrations.
The nominator must forward 6 copies labeled “Cotter Award Nomination” by
October 1 with a dated transmittal letter to the Office of the Department
of the Interior Consulting Archeologist, National Park Service, P.O.
Box 37127, 1849 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20013-7127.
REVIEW OF NOMINATIONS: At least six NPS supervisory archeologists will
be requested by the Consulting Archeologist to review nominations and
place them in rank order with a recommendation for award. This Review
Group may seek input from previous awardees or non-NPS archeological
experts. A consensus decision is needed. The Consulting Archeologist’s
Office will be informed of the award recommendation within two months
of receipt of nominations. The Review Group will schedule a suitable
presentation event. Non selected nominations will be returned to the
source individual after the award event. The Cotter Award was first presented
on April 4, 2000, at the Annual Meeting of National Park Service Archeologists
held in Philadelphia in conjunction with the Society for American Archaeology
conference. The recipient, Joseph Labadie, was cited for his multi-year
fieldwork at Amistad National Recreation Area, Texas, which involved
many students and avocational volunteers.