Thomas Connolly's contributions across Oregon, especially his collaborative approach to heighten understanding of Oregon's Native American cultures, have landed the Museum of Natural and Cultural History archaeologist the 2013 Earle A. Chiles Award.
Connolly's selection was announced this week by the High Desert Museum in Bend. The Chiles Award was established in 1983 to raise awareness of contemporary issues in Oregon's High Desert region and to honor the professional contributions of an individual whose work has enhanced public understanding of the region's natural and cultural heritage.
Connolly, who has served as the museum's director of archaeological research since 1986, will speak about his work Dec. 3, when he will officially be presented with the $15,000 award during the 30th annual Earle A. Chiles Award Banquet in Portland.
"I'm honored by this award, and especially to be included among the previous award recipients who have done so much for the preservation and enhancement of our natural and cultural heritage," Connolly said.
Connolly's team regularly conducts archaeological investigations, primarily in Oregon, that assist public agencies and utility companies in protecting cultural resources. He was praised by members of the Chiles Award committee for approaching such investigations, which often occur on culturally significant and/or sacred sites, in a way that respects and includes diverse parties.