A United States-USSR archaeological symposium, scheduled to open at Harvard on May 24, has been postponed six months because of Soviet delays in selecting their delegates.
The conference, part of the first archaeological exchange between the two nations, was moved to November 9 because the Soviet Academy of Sciences provided a final list of nine delegates too late for final arrangements to be made, U.S. organizers said yesterday.
Confusion and competition within the Soviet Union, not international tension, caused the delay, organizers added.
"Moscow was dealing with several of its provincial republics--Uzbekistan, Tadjikistan and Turkmenistan--and apparently the provincial academies of science had difficulty selecting people." C.C. Lamberg-Karlovsky, director of the Peabody Museum and one of the meeting's organizers, said yesterday.
"There is no evidence it had anything to do with Afghanistan or our State Department's reticence to allow scientific exchanges," he added.
Philip Kohl, professor of anthropology at Wellesley College and a conference organizer agreed, adding that the Soviets had to satisfy many "local bigwigs, people who are powerful within their own local institutes."
Four of the Soviet scientists on the final list of delegates are "major and first class archaeologists." Lamberg-Karlovsky said, adding that the remaining five came from republics bordering Iran and Afghanistan and had never been ouvside of the Soviet Union.
"They have done considerable justice in making up their delegation. We don't have three tour guides whom no one has ever heard of," he said.
The conference, which was arranged in 1979, will last for about two weeks. In 1982, eight to ten American anthropologists will make a reciprocal journey to the Soviet Union.