Thank you for supporting my education and career—even before you knew me, and maybe especially after (ahem . . . ). I hope to pay forward what I have seen you teach and foster (kindness, biting wit and sarcasm, brevity, and again kindness), by doing the same, to the best of my own limited abilities, through my interactions with burgeoning archaeologists/CRM practitioners.

I hope there are many more apple and persimmon pies in your future, or whatever . . .

Annamarie Leon Guerrero
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU, 2011

Dear Adrian,

You (and Mary of course!) are the center of the professional gravity for so many of us who had the good fortune of attending SSU's CRM program. Even more fortunate are those of us who cut our teeth on ASC projects with you and the amazingly talented and kind ASC staff. Your humor, intelligence, and clarity allowed us to navigate new professional territory, all while under your supervision – it was like Autopia for us beginner CRM drivers.

Apart from the academic and professional education you gave me, here are some other important things I learned while working for you:

  • Work collaboratively - reach out to your cohort when needed, which is probably often.
  • Be creative.
  • It depends – always.
  • Fight the urge to write in the passive voice.

From 1999 to 2005 we worked on some interesting projects (including working with Maria!) and lived full and complex lives. Thank you for your and Mary's unwavering decency and humanity.

Oroville Relicensing, East Sonora Bypass, West Bay Approach, Stockton Downtown Redevelopment, Fort Ross Fur Warehouse – such hard, grueling, educational, good times!

Thank you!

Peace and appreciation,

Christina MacDonald
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU, 2006

It’s difficult to find something new to add to these glowing comments, so I will take a different tack. I had the pleasure of being at SSU during the transition from Fredrickson to Praetzellis and appreciate in hindsight how difficult that must have been for Adrian. To step into the shoes of such a respected and loved leader must have been difficult. But Adrian continued the spirit of the ASC that Dave started and increasingly professionalized the program. Under Adrian’s directorship, the ASC has continued to produce excellent, dependable work while populating the profession with a highly trained workforce.

One of Adrian’s assets that apparently hasn’t been mentioned above is his ability to treat students as professionals; then treat them as peers when they left the ASC to embark upon their separate careers. The SSU CRM program has always had a collaborative approach to learning that stands in contrast to programs where students are encouraged to compete against each other. The best learning comes when discussions and sharing are encouraged. If we had more programs like SSU’s CRM Program, perhaps the profession as a whole would be more collaborative and supportive. I and many of Adrian’s students have had the pleasure of reviewing his work in our capacity as agency employees. We’ve questioned ourselves when commenting on his work, because after all we learned from him. Adrian, always the gentleman, respects those comments and appreciates the different perspectives. He truly treats his former students as peers, understanding they have grown professionally after graduation thanks to the strong foundation we all received through the formal program and the on-the-job learning at the ASC.

Over the past decade plus, there has been increasing awareness of evaluating properties under all four NRHP criteria and discussions of landscape approaches, etc. To SSU students, that is nothing new and in fact is standard practice for quality work. As I reflect back on my time at SSU, I am able to say with enthusiasm: "We got a pretty darn good education!"

Thanks for the opportunity to share my thoughts.

Anmarie Medin
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU, 1994

I have struggled with posting because I cannot find words that adequately describe the monumental accomplishments of Dr. Adrian Praetzellis and the program he has built at Sonoma State University. I cannot thank Adrian enough for his thoughtful and engaging classes, as well as all of the guidance he provided while I worked on my thesis and interned at the ASC. I owe my career to Adrian, and I do not know how you thank someone for that.

My favorite memory of Adrian is of him reading over my shoulder while I was editing a chapter of my thesis. I was working on my thesis in the basement of the Anthropological Studies Center and Adrian came to see how I was getting along. He looked at my computer screen, which was showing the first page of my "Methodology" section and said, "It's 'Methods' not 'Methodology.' Methodology is the study of methods, not the methods themselves." He raised his eyebrows, smiled, and walked away. Dozens of articles, many dissertations, and almost all reports I had ever read called the section describing their methods "Methodology." But here was Adrian dropping a nuclear truth bomb that they were all wrong. It was so obvious though, and I just hadn't thought critically about what the words I was using actually meant. I just did what everyone else did without thinking. This is a small example of Adrian's guidance, but I think it provides a clean and clear window into how he taught us to think critically and be inspired. I still often see reports and articles describing the author's "methodology" and I smile to myself thinking about what Adrian would say.

Beyond my personal experience, I think it is important to note that Adrian Praetzellis has taught and mentored archaeological professionals that now represent Sonoma State University's Cultural Resources Management Master's program at almost every big name government agency and numerous private consulting firms, including (but definitely not limited to) the US Army Corp of Engineers, the US Forest Service, the National Park Service, the Bureau of Land Management, the California Office of Historic Preservation (OHP), Caltrans, California State Parks, Pacific Gas & Electric, AECOM, Far Western Anthropological Research Group, and GANDA.

In my position at Caltrans, I work with three other former students of Adrian's and I weekly communicate with at least 2 to 3 other former students at other agencies and consulting firms. Recently speaking about a project with an OHP reviewer, she said, "Did you go to Sonoma State? Your name is familiar . . ." I said I did, and it turns out she was only a couple of years ahead of me in the CRM Master's program. We proceeded to have a conversation about how much value we got from our education at Sonoma State and working with Adrian Praetzellis.

I have many friends who earned BAs or Master's degrees in Anthropology or Archaeology, and almost none of them were able to continue in the field. A CRM Master's degree earned under the guidance and teaching of Adrian Praetzellis prepared me for a job in the real world both in terms of practical archaeological field experience and the state and federal environmental regulations that mandate our work as cultural resource managers.

Thank you Adrian for all you have given me, and so many others! Congratulations on your retirement! You will be missed.

Emily Darko Castano
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU, 2010

The thing that most impressed me about the Grand and Illustrious Adrian Praetzellis is his adamant insistence on writing in a strong, concise style that stresses accuracy in the use of the English language. Obviously, I've learned nothing.

Congratulations, Adrian. After all that you've done to push archaeology into the public sphere, trying to make people give a damn, you certainly deserve to kick back and enjoy the leisure of a calm day. I always enjoyed your classes, your presentations, and your general presence. Carpe diem!

Dave Curtis

My first meeting with Adrian Praetzellis transpired as follows: In December 2007, I was working full-time as an archaeology field tech, putting in about 50–60 hours a week, and barely making enough money to eat in suburban Washington, D.C. Despite all the negative aspects of the lowly life of a field tech, I loved doing archaeology. I especially loved historical archaeology. I knew that this was what I wanted to do and it suited me. I spoke with my undergraduate professor who advised me to apply to the Sonoma State University CRM graduate program in California. "I'll tell you what you need to do to get in. You go there and meet Adrian. In fact, in two weeks, the Society for Historical Archaeology is having their annual conference in Albuquerque, NM. He will be there, and I will introduce you to him." I thought, "umm, I make $10 an hour in suburban DC, how am I going to catch a flight across the country in two weeks and go to a conference with actual archaeologists who publish smart things in journals?" But I did. It was on my 26th birthday, in fact! My old professor from University of Maryland told Adrian about me and asked if he would sit down and talk to me about the program at SSU. Adrian sat and talked to me for well over an hour, it may have even been two. Clearly, I was a nervous wreck, not only being at my first professional conference, but also meeting the person that would be reviewing my application for graduate school. Thankfully, he ignored that and even laughed when I awkwardly said, "I was really nervous coming to this conference, but when I looked around, I realized everyone in this room has had to poop in the woods at one point in their careers and that is a great equalizer." If I remember correctly, his response was, "probably more than once!" Obviously, that put me at ease and I realized that this would be the perfect graduate program for me. After a long, nail biting wait between January and late spring, I got my acceptance letter! I was moving to the polar opposite side of the country and going to graduate school! Holy cow! This new phase of my life was starting and it was starting as an epic adventure!

The experience I had during my time at Sonoma State was one solid three year adventure. There were tears and stress and all-nighters, of course, but the whole experience was also fun, adventurous, and nurturing. To make a graduate program feel that way, even when the professors are trying to push you to excel, to think analytically and understand the larger picture, is an almost impossible feat. While Adrian was not the only force in the program to create that atmosphere—it was definitely a collective conscious approach all the anthropology professors cultivated—he was certainly one of the main pillars.

It's hard to list things in a small little web form field that show how much influence Adrian has had in my burgeoning professional career. I graduated and have been working full-time as an archaeologist for a government agency for four years, so remembering specifics is hard. But Adrian's influence rears its head every day at work, whether I am conscious of it or not. For example, only two days ago, I was reading some educational materials about the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended* (*Adrian guardian angel sitting on my shoulder whispering – "as amended! Always include 'as amended’!"), and they defined the SHPO as the "State Historic Preservation Office." Again, Adrian guardian angel sitting on my shoulder whispering, "OFFICER! It's the State Historic Preservation Officer!" While those are silly nitpicky things, they are examples of the fact that whenever Adrian taught a class, he was focused on developing CRM professionals who understood their role in the profession, but also were conscientious of the quality of their work, attention to details, and professionalism.

It feels like this whole entry was about me and not about Adrian, but I think what my goal here was to express how influential and important Adrian was to many generations of CRM professionals, both in California and out there in the rest of the US. I only know my story, but I think it shows how incredible a professional he is and how much he cared both about CRM as an important component of archaeology as a whole, but also about the students he taught and the new professionals he helped form. I laugh sometimes about how the Anthropological Studies Center and the Sonoma State CRM program have these tentacles all across the state of California because graduates of the program or former employees of the ASC are everywhere! In my office building alone, I work with six people who either graduated from the CRM program or work or have worked at the ASC. We're everywhere! What that means though is that the training we received during our time at Sonoma State is highly prized and valued in other government agencies and we excel in the jobs we do because of all the positive influences of the professors at Sonoma State, but especially because of Adrian. Back to the original goal of this paragraph, in summary, it's hard to put into words how much impact Adrian has had in our lives, but I think the proof is in how many CRM professionals in California have that little Adrian guardian angel sitting on their shoulders whispering in their ears every day ways to be better at their jobs and strive to always do right by the resource. He doesn't know it, but his legacy has moved beyond just his office at the ASC or in Stevenson Hall, it lives in all the Sonoma State CRM graduates that are out there working every day.

Carrie Reichardt
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU, 2011
Caltrans, Senior Environmental Planner (Archaeology)

Adrian, thank you for being one of my all-time favorite teachers! Your words of wisdom ring through my head on a regular basis. One of my favorites: "stop researching, it's time to write!" Your legacy lives on in the "vast army of cultural resource practitioners" (Thea Fuerstenberg 2016) that span this state (and others) trying to do right by the resource, while sticking within our clients’ budget.

Cheers to you – Happy retirement!

Karin G. Beck
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU, 2005

Adrian, congratulations on your retirement, here's to you!

Thanks for being pragmatic, fun, and providing sage advice! The requirement for your students to write factual, brief, to the point critiques is one of the more important skills I’ve learned during my years in academia. Your input and advice helped me to finish my thesis within a reasonable amount of time! I’m glad to see that you'll be kicking around the ASC into 2017. Wishing you the best!


Chris Lloyd
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU

I have been trying to wrap my head around how to best express my gratitude for the all that I have learned from Dr. Adrian Praetzellis. When I was a very ambitious undergrad, someone once told me that the most important factor in choosing a grad school, is deciding who you want to study with. This sage advice is what brought me to Sonoma State University in 2007—after years of reading the work by Adrian (and Mary! and Margie!), I knew that these were the scholars that I wanted to emulate.

The CRM program was the perfect way to gain the real world experience needed for a career in archaeology today, and working with Adrian underscored that the archaeology of roadsides and construction sites does not mean that you are doomed to the dreary world of obscure gray literature. I learned that public archaeology and outreach was not a novelty or a mysterious skill, but that talking with the public about what we do is a meaningful part of the job. I learned to be creative, to think critically, and be thoughtful in my presentation of the past. And there are many traits I saw in Adrian that I strive for in my current career—I try to be brave, to stay humble, to maintain a sense of humor, and yet take my job and all of its responsibilities seriously.

In sum, Adrian encouraged me to think big, inspired me to speak loud, and gave me the skills I needed to be professional. I am proud, and honored to have had him as a mentor.

Thanks Adrian!


Chelsea Rose
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU, 2009

When he was a Shovel Bum

It was summer of 1973. I was working on a site in Winchester, England, a Roman road with cremation burials on either side just outside what were once the old city walls. At the edge of the site just beyond the cremation pots were a bunch of half buried wooden boxes full of stuff like old bottles, plates and cups. I had no idea what they were doing there but some were in good enough condition to swipe and take off to flog at the local weekly jumble sale. One day a distraught young lady showed up looking for a job. She had been working on a big excavation in York in the north of England and had left because “some American stole my boyfriend”. I remember telling her it won't last, the Yanks are only here for the summer and you'll be able to get him back …

The Yank's name was Mary, the Brit's was Adrian …

Adrian I met when I moved on to York that year. I had heard of him before, we had both worked previously though at different times in the port city of Southampton for the local Archaeological Trust  put up in abandoned dockside houses that were due to be demolished as part of slum clearance.  Mary I knew from an excavation a few years earlier at the 11th century Wolvesey Palace in Winchester, another big summer dig with about 300 volunteers accommodated sardine like in the dorms, nooks and crannies of a former nurses’ home with some wild parties and the local pubs making record profits. Those were slave labour days on British digs, nine hours a day six days a week and a pound a week as reward for your sweat and toil, three pounds if you were lucky enough to be a supervisor.

Near the end of the year, Adrian decided to head back to California with Mary. Because we were paid peanuts, or he had spent most of his cash on Mary, Adrian was almost penniless and in those days before easy credit cards, US Immigration officials tended to take a dim view of penniless long haired Brits at the point of entry and regularly sent them back where they came from on the next flight. So a plan was hatched.  Myself being a bit thriftier I had somehow amassed some cash.

I loaned Adrian a hundred pounds which he converted into a pile of one pound notes. He put a ten pound note on top of the pile and wrapped a rubber band around it. On arriving at SFO, and being asked how financial he was, he showed the immigration officer the tenner then flipped fast through the rest of the pile giving the impression he had arrived with the then fabulous sum of a thousand British pounds.

The rest is history, or perhaps more accurately, historical archaeology.

And that is my contribution to the beginnings of the Praetzellis dynasty …

Jack Mc Ilroy

A Big Congratulations and Thank You to Adrian

I was fortunate enough to have taken one of Adrian's last archaeological methods classes at SSU. It was the last semester of my undergraduate coursework, and when I spoke to Margie about applying to the CRM program, she said I should take his methods class first. So I did (thank you, Margie), and it was one of the best decisions I made in my life. Although it was only taught one day a week (a Friday, at that), it was the most enjoyable class I had that semester, and possibly one of the best courses I have had in my long, drawn out college career. Perhaps the best part was that, prior to this, I had absolutely no archaeological fieldwork experience whatsoever, so in some ways I was an archaeologist tabula rasa, with Adrian's lessons being imprinted in my mind: lay tools face down, wear a hat and sturdy boots, excavate from the known to unknown, and the importance of paperwork.

Adrian introduced me to the Fairfield Osborn Preserve (FOP), where he had been taking his methods class, AND taught the FOP naturalists about archaeology and cultural resources, I believe since sometime in the 1990s. Without this introduction, I would not have chose the FOP as the place for my thesis work.

Today I work at the ASC, again in part thanks to Adrian. I still feel like, and quite frankly I am, a newbie here. And I cannot help but feel some regret that I will be missing out on more of Adrian's lessons and experience, from which there is so much to draw. But at the same time I feel that I, along with some of the other younger staff and students, are standard bearers for this institution, which Adrian has shaped significantly. Now I go to the FOP to teach the naturalists, but I always make sure to mention that I do not give as good as a presentation as my predecessor, mostly because I do not have an English accent or a long, gray beard. And now I teach younger students about archaeology, directly adjacent to the site where Adrian taught myself and so many others.

Unfortunately, I never had the privilege of meeting Dave Fredrickson, the former ASC director, so I do not know how his pedagogy influenced others around him. I do know that, as I continue my career in CRM, I will not forget Adrian's lessons, and I will continue to aspire to his level of dedicated professionalism. Congratulations on the retirement Adrian, you deserve it!

Kyle Rabellino
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU 2014

Dear Adrian, Congratulations on all of your amazing accomplishments as a "faculty human" and those ahead as you become a plain old human!

Julie King
Professor of Anthropology
St. Mary's College of Maryland

Congratulations on your retirement, Adrian.  I enjoyed the times we worked together all those years ago.

Dell Upton
Professor, Architectural History

You think you'll sneak out of town that easily, Adrian? Not a chance. We'll all be celebrating you whether you like it or not. You deserve it. You're welcome to join the party or glower grumpily from your lair.

It's been a pleasure being one of your publishers. And your friend. Congrats on your many accomplishments.

Mitch Allen
AltaMira Press

The Greatest Mentor in The World: A Tribute (this is just a tribute, you got to believe …)

Everyone who has had the pleasure of meeting Adrian Praetzellis, however ephemerally, is forever blessed. Many people do not recognize this fact right away; his mannerisms are pleasantly unassuming and his disposition is delightfully jovial. It is often when people move on from his presence, or he moves on from theirs–the fact sets in that they have been touched by an extra-special life. For the lucky ones (and I am proud to include myself amongst them), they come to gradually realize how utterly talented, personable, brilliant, and graciously magnanimous this man Praetzellis can be, and what a lucky privilege it is to be his friend and protégé.
Adrian makes teaching look easy. He makes cultural resource consulting look easy and fun (even though he insists that it is not). His pleasant, even temperament overshadows any harshness he may have in his criticisms, or any condescension he may have in his advice.

I, Thea Fuerstenberg, had the ultimate privilege of having Adrian as my mentor for four years (do not judge, everyone finishes school on different schedules). I have never learned harder or more in my life, and I never felt slighted, misinterpreted, silenced, or stupid under his guidance. And that's crazy ! His criticisms were somehow poignant and clear without being harsh, for instance: “No, no, no. You are not in third grade” or “You cannot simply say that no one liked Franciscans” and “????” are some of my favorite comments from Adrian. They do not make me feel dumb, they make me smile. I'm smiling right now ! Even today, six years after I graduated from under his wing, he still helps me without hesitation.

One who has not yet had the occasion to meet the formidable and illustrious Dr. Adrian Praetzellis very likely will not understand. His books are helpful and hilarious, his home and family is warm and inviting, and his attitude is something for which we should all strive. He even has a cool hairstyle.

I cannot actually express how important Adrian is in my own life, but his influence on other lives is evident by the vast army of cultural resource practitioners that are contentedly doing better than everyone else at their jobs ! 
This brings me to my end-scene, with a classic Adrian quote: “Jolly good – Later, dudes !”

Thea Fuerstenberg
M.A. in Cultural Resources Management, SSU 2010

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