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Message From James Harrell

Subject: RE: Support for John Shearman
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 19:16:39 -0700

Dear Jim,
In response to your e-mail, I agree that if the Luxor project was one involving construction, hiring Mr. Shearman to run the construction aspects of the project, when they were needed, might actually have made some sense. Unfortunately, that is not what happened. By the time John was hired, the construction phase of the project, the building of the conservation lab in Karnak, was long finished. All that remained was continued training of SCA conservators and implementation of actual conservation projects and work, primarily using the trained graduates of the Conservation Field School.  
Had John been hired to do construction when it was needed, I would certainly have deferred to and respected his experience in and knowledge of construction. He was unwilling to do the same for me, however, and repeatedly injected himself into and interfered in areas of the ongoing conservation projects about which he had no experience or training, whatsoever. Although I was and had been the Chief Conservator on the project from its inception, this counted for nothing with John and he went out of his way to say so on the occasion of the staff meeting, the circumstances of which I have already related in the initial postings on the arcecomplaints website.  
When I inadvertently found out from another staff member that John wanted to treat some copper alloy coins excavated by the SCA with the old and discredited technique of electrolytic reduction, I warned him that this treatment posed a serious threat to the artifacts. His decision was based on advice from Elsa Bourguignon, the lab manager, who had no prior experience in Egypt before she arrived in Luxor and as far as I know, none with metals. John not only ignored my warnings, he ridiculed my advice and told me point blank to complain to the SCA if I didn't like it. When I took him at his word and did so, this then set off a chain of retaliatory conduct resulting in my being ejected from the project for questioning and objecting to his decisions with respect to the conservation projects and his decisions about them.
That I was right in my advice was demonstrated by the SCA subsequently independently investigating Ms. Bourguignon and her actions concerning the project, including her very anti Egyptian behavior which was countenanced and encouraged by John and about which I also complained to no effect, all of which resulted in the SCA permanently barring her from the project and returning to Karnak for any reason.  Even in the face of this action by the SCA, John continued to agitate for her return and approached several SCA Luxor staff about the matter, in an attempt to secure her return, when it was clearly contrary to the interests of the project. To say that his handling of the matter was left than deft is a gross understatement and demonstrates his lack of ability to manage personnel adequately, or in a positive fashion.
I am well aware of John's claim to have managed archaeological projects involving construction and his involvement in the program in the UK concerning it. However, my understanding of his writings is that they reflect a point of view emphasizing how to get construction projects built and completed, despite the need for and in the face of any archaeology, placing construction first and archaeology and conservation second. There is never any question of saving or preserving any extant archaeology discovered or uncovered in a construction project. This is the very antithesis of what archaeology and archaeological conservation are all about, which certainly carried over into his management in Luxor.
For this reason I have called upon Gerry Scott and John to publicly post his CV with specific verifiable details that demonstrate the experience and expertise claimed by him and the qualifications he has to run the Luxor project, stated first on his own website, which I do not believe is any longer active on the web, as I can no longer locate it and now in ARCE's website.
I appreciate your rising to the defense of your friend, as it demonstrates loyalty and the fact that you are not merely a fair weather friend, laudable qualities both. Had Mr. Shearman demonstrated the restraint and respectful professionalism you suggest in your e-mail, perhaps there would be a lot less to complain about. As it is, the record demonstrates the actual state of affairs and the lack of restraint and respectful professionalism you advocate. 
My contacts with you over the years at ARCE meetings and your own excellent work have always exhibited a high degree of professionalism and competence
Mr. Shearman would do better in future to follow your example and advice.
Very truly yours,
Ed Johnson          

Subject: Support for John Shearman
Date: Fri, 13 May 2011 19:55:57 -0400

13 May 2011



Dear Mr. Johnson,


I am a member of ARCE and also a fellow Toledoan and friend of John Shearman. It is not my intent to debate your characterization of John's qualifications except in one particular: his expertise in managing an archaeological project like the one he now directs in Luxor. He is, as you have said, a building contractor with an engineering background. But you may not be aware that up until his Luxor appointment, John was working on a PhD in the management of construction projects at archaeological sites. The emphasis was on the "management" of the specialists and contractors who are doing the actual work. Although he hasn't finished his studies yet, John did put in two or three years of intensive research on this subject at a few archaeological sites around the world, including Egypt. So I'd say the he is well and even uniquely qualified for "managing" archaeological projects that have a construction or engineering aspect. Obviously, however, when a project also involves conservation issues then he needs to heed the advice of specialists when making his decisions.




Jim Harrell



James A. Harrell, Ph.D.

Professor Emeritus of Geology

Department of Environmental Sciences, MS #604

The University of Toledo

2801 West Bancroft St.

Toledo, OH 43606-3390, USA

Tel: [1] 419-530-2193

Fax: [1] 419-530-4421


Web Sites: (general),

and http://www/ (Egyptian research)



From: Edward Johnson []
Sent: Friday, May 13, 2011 2:14 PM
Subject: FW: ARCE Board-arcecomplaints-Round II-G-17


Subject: ARCE Board-arcecomplaints-Round II
Date: Mon, 9 May 2011 17:19:37 -0700

Dear Board Members,
Please find attached copies of the next series of documents which I am posting to As none of you bothered to respond to my first set of postings on the website and were and remain dismissive of the concerns I expressed therein, I have provided you with some of the comments sent to ARCE by members which I was copied on and will now post publicly.
I have also attached two open letters to Gerry Scott concerning other issues, raised in members comments and the website postings.
The first concerns the lack of transparency within ARCE as to a number of issues, including the way job openings are posted and handled, selection criteria for such positions and the like, as well as the lack of transparency concerning and the secretive selection of, candidates for the annual election to the Board.
The second open letter concerns the qualifications and the selection process by which Mr. Shearman was hired for the position of Director of the Luxor project and raises bona fide questions about his apparent lack of professional qualifications for the position, raised first by myself and then other members, as reflected in their comments and correspondence. 

I am copying Mr. Scott on this e-mail so he may specifically address these issues as ARCE's Director.
As should now be obvious, the members are becoming aware of what is and has been going on, despite the best efforts of the Board and Management to quash and stifle dissemination of such matters. They demand plain, straightforward answers to these questions. Will they be forthcoming?  
Very truly yours,
Edward D. Johnson  


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