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In Memoriam




CoVA News

Upcoming Events

These are the events within the next 3 months. A complete calendar for the year can be found here.

August 26, 2018
COVA Photo Contest 2018 submission deadline
Online voting begins in September.


In Memoriam (2014)

Lysbeth B. Acuff (Beth) died in Richmond, VA from complications of pneumonia. She had been suffering from dementia and had been in a nursing home since July 2013. Beth was born August 31, 1937 in Springfield, Missouri. Her father was in the Navy so they lived in a number of communities. While in college at Southwest Missouri State, she met her husband and moved with him to New York City for his job. Beth began work at Academic Press. In 1968 she became a stay-at-home mom. The family moved to Philadelphia and then to Chevy Chase, Maryland in 1972. Beth returned to college at American University studying under Drs. Charles McNett and June Evans graduating with a B.A. in Anthropology in 1977.

Beth enjoyed all aspects of archaeology: prehistoric and historical. She worked at the Cahokia mound site in Illinois and the Shawnee Minisink Paleo-Indian site in eastern Pennsylvania. After receiving her Master’s degree in Applied Anthropology from the University of Maryland she worked with the National Park Service on sites at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia as well as assisting Dr. Anne Yentsch with the excavation and artifact analysis of the Calvert House in Annapolis, Maryland.

Beth was hired to be the Chief Curator at the Virginia Department of Historic Resources in 1986. There she established new protocols for the vast archaeological collections. She helped to preserve significant artifacts from tiny potsherds to a massive tub mill. She was responsible for moving the 1000s of boxes of artifacts from an off-site storage warehouse into an on-site state-of-the-art climate-controlled storage facility at the Department’s new headquarters (2801 Kensington, Avenue, Richmond). She also designed the conservation laboratory. Beth played an active role in public education including managing Virginia Archaeology Month, assisting with the 1991 Society for Historical Archaeology & Conference on Underwater Archaeology joint meetings that were held in Richmond, and designing numerous public exhibits, tours, and publications. She helped draft the State Collections Management Standards. She served on the Collections Management Committee for the Council of Virginia Archaeologists (COVA) and helped determine the requirements for new collections to be deposited at the Department’s storage facility. She served on the Executive Board of the Council for Northeast Historical Archaeology and had been president of the Church Hill Association, the City's oldest neighborhood. She was called upon for her expertise by other archaeologists, historians, and museums throughout the U.S.

 A memorial service was held for Beth near her home at the historic St. John’s Church in the Church Hill neighborhood of the City of Richmond on January 26, 2014.  The family has suggested memorials in her name, be sent to the Virginia Historical Society, 428 N. Boulevard, Richmond, VA 23220.


In Memoriam (2008)

It is with great sadness that we report two life members of COVA passed away in 2008. Both founders of the organization, Norman Barka and Howard MacCord, made numerous lasting contributions to archaeology within Virginia.

Howard MacCord served for many years as the Virginia State Archaeologist where he was involved in archaeological excavations throughout the state. Upon his retirement, Colonel MacCord continued to promote archaeology and the benefits of archaeological excavations through his active membership in COVA and many other organizations.

A resolution honoring Howard's contributions to Virginia archaeology was cosponsored by COVA and introduced at the Southeastern Archaeological Conference (SEAC) meeting by COVA member Cliff Boyd. The March 2009 ASV Quarterly Bulletin was dedicated to Howard as well as a remembrance on the ASV website. His obituary was published in the Richmond Times-Dispatch on November 13, 2008.

Norman Barka was a professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary where he trained numerous students during his forty year career. He was one of the founders of their highly successful graduate program in historical archaeology and relished teaching both undergraduates and graduate students – especially during field schools.

His legacy in Virginia includes the Chickahominy River Survey where he conducted research into prehistoric / protohistoric sites and excavation of several important historic sites including the Poor Potter in Yorktown, the Yorktown Battlefield, and Flowerdew Hundred. Professor Barka began teaching fieldschools in the Caribbean in 1981, conducting extensive excavations on St. Eustatius, Bermuda and many other islands until 2002. Additional details about Norman Barka's life can be found within an autobiographical speech he made to the Society for Historical Archaeology (published in the Spring 2008 newsletter for the Department of Anthropology at the College of William and Mary) and in his obituary published in the Daily Press, May 2, 2008.