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Norman F. Barka

Norman F. Barka

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February 26, 2017
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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.

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