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Norman F. Barka
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May 17, 2011
Researching out of nostalgia to my summer in archaeological field school under Dr. Barka, I discovered he passed away in 2008. His summer program I attended in 1985 is STILL one my fondest memories in my lifetime. He was talented and knew how to make digging in the sun for 6 hours a day amusing somehow - quite a feat. God bless you Dr. Barka and I will never forget you!
July 30, 2010
I just knew about Dr. Barka's passing. I´m very sad. He was my professor and thesis advisor. I traveled twice to Statia and he was always funny in his special way. Goodbye Dr. Barka. My condolences do Patty and his sons. I´m sure you are in a wonderful archaelogical site in heaven. From your Brazilian student Lavinia Monteiro
June 01, 2008
I was deeply saddened to hear of Norms passing and it is truly hard to imagine life in Virginia or Carribean archaeology - much less Washington Hall ever being the same without him. This was the first academically trained PhD level American archaeologist to work in Virginia, and with Nate Altshuler he created the Department of Anthropology literally from scratch. For some strange reason I was put on the payroll starting at $2.75 an hour to feed ticks and mousquitos from 1974 to 1979 lauching me into the most fun and educational 5 years I ever had in my life! I will never forget the many kindnesses and opportunities this quiet gentle man bestowed upon me. And what wild heady times these were working with Ben McCary, Lefty Gregory, Andy Edwards, Ray Sasser, Ed Ayres, Jimmy Smith, and Mike Barber - on some of the most interesting archaeology sites imaginable. It didn't hurt that his staff were all really champion people! I was also delighted to have been able to improve myself in William and Mary's MA program in the 1990s with so many discreet chuckles and jabs at the "New Archaeology" and inane theory and doses of a very wry sense of humor. In a world of huge self promoting archaeology egos good ole Stormin Norman was refreshingly modest and honest scholar who was more interested in disappearing behind the plain unlevened visceral and meticulous archaeology of Mortimer Wheeler than any media attention or pretentious theory. This truly unforgetable even iconic man cannot be replaced! God Bless him, Patty, his sons and all his students where ever they are!

PS. Marley Brown gave a truly great speech in his inimitable but always effective rambling style on Norm at the Wren Chapel and the reception at the African Room in Washington Hall - where his pipe, hat, and manual typewriter were set up in true Anthropology museum style - all were simply wonderful. (I saw no chocolate though since nothing survived Norm's previous gleanings.) What nearly broke me was seeing pictures of the old white lumbering even hulking "Anthro Truck." The many heartfelt verbal testimonials from three generations of students and colleagues at the Wren will also be cherished memories. Don't agree with Norm's sometimes conservative interpretations (?) chances are the drawings and photgraphs are so good and the information was so well preserved on paper you can make your own - so the impecable data he or his students captured will live forever as will the site. Do to his unremmiting generosity I have tried this with his cooperation and it WORKS!
May 21, 2008
It is with great sadness that I have just learned of Dr. Barka's passing. I vividly remember his arrival at William & Mary in 1965. For me he was a true "gate keeper", and became the most influential professor I had at W&M. As one of the first and few Anthropology graduates at the College in the late 1960's, I fondly remember Dr. Barka's encyclopedic knowledge, his passion for archaeology, his incredible dry wit, and his concern for his students. He will indeed be missed....
May 20, 2008
I am deeply sadden to learn of the passing of Dr. Barka. I, too, was one of his students in the early 70's. Norm hired me while I was a student to work for Southside Historical Sites, Inc. where I spent a couple of semesters boiling down "road kill" for the bone collection of Virginia's native animals. Upon my graduation in 1975, I continued to work with Norm and Sounthside at Yorktown and Flowerdew Hundred. My career path lead me, but not my heart, away from archaeology. But I will never forget Dr. Barka, his humor, intelligence, and his love of chocolate! He would exchange his lunch anyday on the site for a bar of chocolate! He was wonderful to work for and with...he will be greatly missed. My condolences to his family and friends.
May 20, 2008
I just found out, with great sadness, about Norm Barka's passing. My condolences to his family. He will be missed by all.
May 09, 2008
Learned about Dr. Barka from Dave Riggs, Museum Curator, NPS Yorktown. Not very good about situations like this, very numbing. Should be use to it by now-- I'm just not. My condolences to his family. It is difficult to say good-bye. Always been that way, not sure why... maybe due to inadequate grief counseling in the very early years. Who could ever forget that pipe of his and the tobacco aroma?... A deep, calculating draw as if reaching for a thought, and then grasping it, exhaled with diffused smoke that lingered close by him, waiting to trigger another to begin again. So many questions I wanted to ask him, now unanswered, a few big ones, but mostly small ones such as the status of the west end of the 2nd siege line Yorktown-- what Jerome Greene in "Guns" calls 1B, 2B, 3B-- just west of the old Hampton Road (VA 704). I think Doug Sanford here spoke well that we are his legacy. We best honor him by carrying on his work, regardless of academic credentials or status in life, in whatever way we can, the best we can, formally or not, such as the telling of a story or joke that one remembers him in. I will never forget that day on the second siege line Yorktown Battlefield October 1975 when he drove up, got out with a flat shovel slung over his right shoulder, and proceeded to what I believe the Brits call "muck-in." He showed us where we needed to be digging at that part of the excavation; he showed the way. It is for us to keep that spirit alive, to never forget-- we who remember are lucky to have known Norman Forthun Barka... there will never be another.
May 07, 2008
My deepest sympathy to Norm's family. I had the pleasure of working with Norm on the SHA Newsletter for many years. His unfailing patience, whit, and interest in all aspects of the field made that collaboration both enjoyable and memorable. He will be missed.
May 07, 2008
Goodbye Norm. We will all miss you. You will always be my mentor and friend. My condolences to Patty and the rest of the family.
May 06, 2008
It must have been thirty years ago that Dr. Norm Barka, Dr. Ben McCary and Dr. Joe Benthall responded to a call for archaeological assistance regarding a small site on Penniman Road just outside of Williamsburg. Barka's research proved the site to be "Blair's Quarter," a lost 18th-century group of buildings that were destroyed during the Battle of Williamsburg in 1862. It was Norm's approach to the small finds, such as Blair's Quarter, leaving no stone unturned, that endears him to the profession. Norm, thank you for being here.
May 05, 2008
I am deeply saddened to hear of his passing and consider myself fortunate to be part of the enduring legacy he created as an educator.
May 05, 2008
I am very saddened to hear of the passing of Dr. Norman Barka. He was instrumental in shaping my graduate education in historical archaeology at the College of William and Mary. I will never forget his classes and his dry sense of humor. His contribtutions to historical archaeology are admirable. My condolensences to his family and friends.
May 05, 2008
Very sad news indeed to hear Dr. Barka has passed on. As evidenced by the entries here, he was a giant in the education of so many archeologists spread across the U.S. My memories of him both in the classroom and in the field on Statia will always be pleasant. And of course the stories about him are legendary. Farewell Sparky, so very many people will miss you.
May 05, 2008
So very sorry to hear of Dr. Barka's passing. We have such fond memories of time spent in his company at William & Mary and in Bermuda. We joined Norm's legion of MA students in 1990 and with them, acknowledge his achievements both as a scholar and professor. His wriest, driest humor will be greatly missed.
Suzanne Plousos and Joe Last
May 05, 2008
Last
Friday I posted a hasty note to this guest book. I would like to add several things which I neglected to include at that
time. First of all, my condolences to Norm's family. I was surprised at his passing so quickly after his retirement. I simply didn't think of him as 'that old'. I remember him from my years at W&M with his dry humor and shy smile. On the Yorktown Battlefield site he set me to excavating a fence line, because I "was experienced at that" (I was on the fencing team in college). I had my first anthropology class with him and it pretty much hooked me on the subject. Though our paths never crossed professionally after my graduation, he was responsible for starting me on a course which as spanned several decades. I share others sense of loss, both to the profession and on a
personal note as one of my most influential professors.
May 05, 2008
Sad news, indeed. I suppose that I must have known him some 30 years through his dedicated service to the Society for Historical Archaeology. Norm was the definitive gentleman scholar, with a quiet but delightful sense of humor, and he will be missed greatly.
May 03, 2008
I knew Norman Barka for many years ,primarily through the meetings of the Society for Historical Archaeology. Barka was an important researcher on two difference regions: the Chesapeake and on the West Indies. He was a major educator and supporter of Historical Archaeology as seen in his work as Editor of the SHA Newsletter [Ruppe Award]. He was also a very nice person. We all looked for him and missed him at the most recent SHA meetings.
May 03, 2008
We are very saddened to learn of Dr. Barka's death. We will always remember him as a friend and mentor.
May 02, 2008
I'm saddened to hear of Norm Barka's passing...the world's light is a bit dimmer.
May 02, 2008
I was sad to hear the news about Dr. Barka. He will surely not be forgotten by any of the students that he introduced to the field of historical archaeology. I was fortunate to be able to take classes with him the year before he retired, and I can't help but smile when I think of his wry sense of humor. My sincere condolences to his family. He will be missed, but he has truly left a legacy.
May 02, 2008
We've lost a great archaeologist and a really nice guy. My condolences go to his family. He will be greatly missed.
May 02, 2008
This is such sad news indeed, but reading all of these entries reminds us of the remarkable contribution Norm made as a teacher and researcher. I will always be indebted to him for his gentle support and encouragement. He was a true scholar and gentleman. As I remember, our grad class (1980/81) often joked with him (sometimes at his expense) and he was such as good sport with a wry sense of humor (who can forget the Walter Taylor Society Marching Band). I cannot go to any Chesapeake site without thinking of our class field trips with Norm in the "white van of death." My deepest sympathies to Patti and Norm's extended family - we will hold you and Norm in the light (as the Quakers say).

Don Linebaugh
MA W&M 1982
May 02, 2008
Norm Barka gave me an archaeology field job on the Yorktown Battlefield, and later at Flowerdew Hundred. It started me on a long, strange course of events that I never anticipated as a cultural anthro student at W&M. The standards for careful, thoughtful field observation, careful and methodical recordation that Dr. Barka set up for the fieldwork under his direction are models that I rarely see equaled anywhere else.

My condolences to all of his family, friends, colleagues, and other many admirers.
May 02, 2008
Condolences to the Barka Family, Norman truly brighten the world and will be greatly missed.
May 02, 2008
I will always remember Dr. Barka's classes with fondness. I feel blessed to have known him.
May 02, 2008
I was much saddened by the news that Norm Barka had died. We first met in the early 1970s when I attended my first Society for Historical Archaeology conference and have been friends ever since, sharing an interest in the society, historical archaeology in general, and St. Eustatius specifically. His commitment to the field is exemplary as are his numerous research reports. I will miss his smile and dry sense of humor. Rest well, my friend.
May 02, 2008
I am saddened by Norm's passing- I have happy memories of chatting to him on both sides of the Atlantic over several decades. He recruited me to be SHA newsletter European co-ordinator in Quebec City back in 2000. He was a fine scholar and a true gentleman.
May 02, 2008
Historical archaeology has lost a true giant. Norm will be missed.
May 02, 2008
Norm Barka was a great friend and help to me early in my career. He lectured in 1976 in my class at Penn and was a great hit with his low key sincere speaking style. When I joined the NPS Norm and I worked to preserve the Poor Potter's Kiln site, a great archaeological discovery.Norm is the kind of individual you see about once a year and then when he's gone you miss him terribly. He was a giant in his time: as the great mentors of my life pass on, Cotter, Rutsch, Deetz, Jashemski, Brown (Frank], Charly Peterson and Penny Batcheler all I can do is remember :..ave atque vale, magister archaeologiae!
May 02, 2008
How sad. I always thought Norm had a bit of the Oxford don in him: encyclopedic knowledge, quiet humor, and had done just about everything one can do in colonial archaeology. I'll remember you in my prayers, Norm.
May 02, 2008
It is indeed sad news to learn of Norm's passing. He was one of the founders of Chesapeake archaeology, inspiring and training dozens of students. He later made equally important contributions in Bermuda and the Caribbean. Norm was a soft spoken man with good common sense and keen wisdom. It was a pleasure to serve with him on the SHA board and learn from him. He made many, many contributions in teaching, research and service. My sympathy and prayers for his wife, children and grandchildren. We have lost a friend, a colleague, and a very talented scholar.
May 02, 2008
It is very sad to hear of the passing of Stormin Norman Barka. He was a great professor, a great teacher, a kind person, and a good mentor. I will never forget learning about historic artifacts from him in the basement of the Wren Building. My condolences to his family and other students.
May 02, 2008
My sincere condolences to Norman's family, friends, and students. His wide knowledge and personalty made talking with him at conferences a thing to look forward to.
May 02, 2008
I took my first anthropology class from Norm Barka in the early '70s. I was in several more of his classes and worked on several of his projects. He started me off on a career in anthropology/archaeology that I still follow to some extent today, having morphed into a college administrator along the way.
May 02, 2008
I am so sorry to hear of his passing. Norm taught me many things and gave me a love of historic craftsmanship. We will miss him.
May 02, 2008
We're all saddened here in Delaware to hear of Dr. Barka's passing. I was a student of his and remember well that dry humor that snuck into his lectures, catching us off-guard. One of my first field experiences was on the Poor Potter site, and Dr. Barka on that day is still very vivid in my memory.
May 02, 2008
My condolences to all of Norm's family and his many friends and colleagues. He was quite generous with data and encouragement when I was doing my dissertation research in the Chesapeake many years ago. He was one of the great ones in 20th Century American Historical Archaeology and he will be missed.
May 02, 2008
My deepest condolences to Dr. Barka's family and friends. He will be missed.
May 02, 2008
I was very saddened to hear of Norman Barka's passing. Historical Archaeology has lost one of its leaders. I was one of his Master's Degree students at William and Mary and appreciated the opportunity to study with him. My year at the College was one of the defining experiences in my life and career. Dr. Barka was dedicated to teaching and launched a generation of students in their careers. He made significant contributions to historical archaeology through his work in Virginia and St. Eustasius . His work editing the SHA newsletter was truly appreciated. He will be missed. I express my condolences to his wife and family.
May 02, 2008
I too am saddened by Norm's death. I valued his classes as an undergraduate in the early '70s. Norm guided me in the field and in my initial experience for CRM projects. As for so many others, he helped establish my career. His many former students and now professionals, are his legacy.
May 02, 2008
What a sad day for Historical Archaeology to hear of the passing of "Stormin Norman's"! He was a quiet leader in the field but he was so influential! So many of his students became colleagues who owe much of their success to this great teacher. Dr. Barka served on my thesis committee and helped prepare me for my career in archaeology in Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic. I know he will be missed by all of us who came to know him through archaeology and academia, but above all he will be missed by his family and devoted Patty. I have many fond memories of William and Mary, but especially enjoyed having worked with Dr. Barka as a contributing current research editor to the SHA Newsletter one of the publications for which Dr. Barka served as editor for so many years. Norman, you are in a better place now. My thoughts about you, your classes, and research remain wonderful. I extend my prayers to your family. Norman you will be missed, but your legacy and accomplishments will continue!
May 02, 2008
I am very sorry to learn of Norm Barka's passing. He was very helpful to me in my early career in archaeology and my studies at William and Mary. I want to extend my sympathies and best wishes to his wife and family.
May 02, 2008
My thoughts and prayers are with all of Dr. Barka's family and friends at this time. I was a student of his at W&M and will always carry fond memories of my time there, especially in his classes in the basement of Washington Hall!
May 02, 2008
I'm saddened to learn of Dr. Barka's passing, having just spoken of how much I learned from him in my last seminar of this semester, not knowing the news. He held me to high standards as a student and as an excavator; I have always appreciated everything he did for me during my time at William and Mary and in ensuing years. He will be missed. My condolences to his friends and family.
May 02, 2008
I was one of Norm's many graduate students at William & Mary, and was lucky enough to go to the Caribbean & Bermuda to work with him & learn from him. He contributed significantly to my education as an archaeologist, and enriched my life as a person. Norm was a fine person with the driest sense of human imaginable, and it's very sad to know that he is gone. I'll miss seeing him at conferences and remembering old times. My condolences to his family on their loss
May 02, 2008
Norm was a friend and a gentleman, giving me respect and quiet friendship. I valued his acquaintance enormously, and mourn his passing. He will be very much missed by colleagues outside the USA.
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