All was not rosy all of the time of course. For example, sometimes record-keeping was less-than-ideal, sometimes excavation techniques did not follow best practices, and sometimes politics delayed or squashed proposed projects. Still, New Deal funding facilitated many excavations that otherwise may never have occurred.
Here are some interesting facts & figures from Means' article:
1. The WPA and the CCC contributed the most to archaeological work, but archaeologists also received assistance from the Civil Works Administration, the National Youth Administration, the Public Works Administration, the Tennessee Valley Authority, and the Federal Emergency Relief Administration.
2. Means reports that he has "accumulated information on approximately 1700 New Deal surveys and excavation projects" and he includes a map and a state-by-state table in his article.
3. Means also reports that there is "Sufficient documentation...to show that New Deal archaeology of one form or another took place in at least 381 counties across 36 of the lower 48 states. In some cases, these were very minor efforts—a day’s work at best—and, in other cases, years were spent at the same site."
So, despite some problems here and there, we see--yet again--how New Deal policymakers connected the dots. People needed work, archaeologists needed help, history needed discovering - and so, they made it happen. Compare that to today, where, for example, our infrastructure is falling apart, 21 million Americans wish they had a full-time job but can't find one, and our Republican-led Congress delays & blocks every infrastructure idea that comes up - even their own (see yesterday's blog post, "Senior Republican on Infrastructure: 'The problem...is really more Republicans than Democrats.'")