Archaeology and the federal preservation effort
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Archaeology and the Federal Preservation Effort. Two issues of retention combine to form historic preservation in the United States. The preservation of archaeology and architecture do not flow from the same source.

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Archaeology and the Federal Preservation Effort

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Archaeology and the federal preservation effort

Archaeology and the Federal Preservation Effort


Two issues of retention combine to form historic preservation in the united states

Two issues of retention combine to form historic preservation in the United States

The preservation of archaeology and architecture do not flow from the same source.

Architectural preservation came first from desire to memorialize famous ancestors, heroes and battlefields.

Archaeological preservation comes only as professional archaeologists have defined the field and identified a past to preserve.

The majority of laws in the United States about archaeology concern public lands. The federal government owns approximately 1/3 of the land in the United States.


Legislation responds to crises what spawned the legislation for archaeology

Legislation responds to crises, what spawned the legislation for archaeology?

The earliest archaeological legislation was the American Antiquities Act of 1906

The perception that entrepreneurs and foreign museums were looting [excavating sites with little or no recording of the artifacts' relationships].

Only applies to federal lands.

Only allows excavation with permit.

Weak enforcement penalties.

Allows the government to create monuments of important sites. [eminent domain]


And the language is

And the language is

Sec 2. That the President of the United States is hereby authorized, in his discretion, to declare by public proclamation historic landmarks, historic and prehistoric structures, and other objects of historic or scientific interest that are situated upon the lands owned or controlled by the Government of the United States to be national monuments, and may reserve as a part thereof parcels of land, the limits of which in all cases shall be confined to the smallest area compatible with proper care and management of the objects to be protected

Sec. 3. That permits for the examination of ruins, the excavation of archaeological sites, and the gathering of objects of antiquity upon the lands under their respective jurisdictions may be granted by the Secretaries of the Interior, Agriculture, and War to institutions which the may deem properly qualified to conduct such examination, excavation, or gathering, subject to such rules and regulation as they may prescribe: Provided, That the examinations, excavations, and gatherings are undertaken for the benefit of reputable museums, universities, colleges, or other recognized scientific or educational institutions, with a view to increasing the knowledge of such objects, and that the gatherings shall be made for permanent preservation in public museums.


Situation leading to legislation

Situation leading to legislation

On December 18, 1888, cowboys Richard Wetherill and Charlie Mason from Montezuma County, Colorado found the cliff ruins at Mesa Verde while searching for stray cattle.

Along with family members and friends Richard took artifacts and at least one mummified child from the site.

1892, Richard leads Baron Gustav Nordenskiold of Sweden to the site at Mesa Verde. He published The Cliff Dwellers of the Mesa Verde, in 1893.


Chaco canyon

Chaco Canyon

1896 Wetherill leads an expedition of the Talbot and Frederic Hyde to Chaco Canyon (Pueblo Bonito). Their finds go to the American Museum of Natural History in New York.

1901 Wetherill & the Hydes start to dig at Chaco Canyon in San Juan Co, NM.

Edgar Hewitt of New Mexico Normal University at Las Vegas complains to the Government Land Office. GLO in 1902 revokes the Homestead claims of the Wetherill and Hyde brothers.


Legislative efforts

Legislative efforts

1904 The Henry Cabot Lodge-William Rodenberg Bill. Made the Secretary of the Interior responsible for the administration. Bill never came to floor of the House.

1904 The Sequoia Stone Dish Incident

December 1905 Hewett introduces a draft bill with backing of the American Anthropological Association and the Archaeological Institute of America. Gives power to name sites to the president.Forest Reserve Act of 1891.

1906 American Antiquities Act passed. President Roosevelt declares Chaco Canyon a National Monument.

1909 GLO cancels the permit of Edgar Hewett at Navajo Ruins in northern Arizona. The issue was the motives for excavation.

1916 National Park Service created.


Federal laws impacting archaeology

Federal Laws impacting archaeology

For content of legislation that continues to impact archaeology and historic preservation practice of all kinds use this link from the National Park Service History and Culture website.

Historic Sites Act of 1935.

Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.

Reservoir Salvage Act of 1960.

It is the purpose of sections 469 to 469c-1 of this title to further the policy set forth insections 461 to 467 of this title, by specifically providing for the preservation of historical and archeological data (including relics and specimens) which might otherwise be irreparably lost or destroyed as the result of(1) flooding, the building of access roads, the erection of workmen’s communities, the relocation of railroads and highways, and other alterations of the terrain caused by the construction of a dam by any agency of the United States, or by any private person or corporation holding a license issued by any such agency or(2)any alteration of the terrain caused as a result of any Federal construction project or federally licensed activity or program.


Archaeological and historic preservation act of 1974

Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act of 1974.

American Indian Religious Freedom Act of 1978. On and after August 11, 1978, it shall be the policy of the United States to protect and preserve for American Indians their inherent right of freedom to believe, express, and exercise the traditional religions of the American Indian, Eskimo, Aleut, and Native Hawaiians, including but not limited to access to sites, use and possession of sacred objects, and the freedom to worship through ceremonials and traditional rites.J. Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979. Requires that artifacts taken from public lands be done with permit and that all artifacts are the possessions of the federal government. Gives Native peoples standings to reject permits on sacred grounds.


Native american grave protection and repatriation act 1990

Native American Grave Protection and Repatriation Act 1990

The ownership or control of Native American cultural items which are excavated or discovered on Federal or tribal lands after the date of enactment of this Act shall be (with priority given in the order listed)–

(1) in the case of Native American human remains and associated funerary objects, in the lineal descendants of the Native American; or(2) in any case in which such lineal descendants cannot be ascertained, and in the case of unassociated funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony–

(A) in the Indian tribe or Native Hawaiian organization on whose tribal land such objects or remains were discovered;


Differences between archaeological and architectural sites

Differences between archaeological and architectural sites

Not visible.

1. Analogy to alchemy: turning base materials-soil and stone, bone and ceramic-into the gold of archaeological observation and interpretation.

a. Each excavation is an experiment in recovering past activities, one that, unlike the pure sciences, is not replicable.

b. Archaeological record presents special documentation of the past. The stories held within the earth are unique and democratic; that is, they represent all of a society-not just the learned-and illustrate most aspects of a culture, from the mundane to the ideological.

c. Archaeology is primarily a hand-labor and handmade endeavor that borrows tools, technology, methods, and theory from other disciplines.

d. Also uses satellite imagery and sophisticated computer programs to help predict where archaeological sites will probably be found with statistical certainty across large, relatively unexplored landscapes.

2. archaeology is a destructive process.a. The archaeologist, unlike the historian, architectural historian, or other preservation professional, destroys nonrenewable resources to advance our understanding of the past.b. Justifies the profession’s concern for record keeping.

Value of site is information about culture, not the site itself.

1. Greatest quantity of federally-funded archaeology is rescue archaeology.2. Until recently most archaeology concerned with prehistoric not historic sites.

Archaeologists see themselves as social scientists, not humanists.

  • 1. Questions of professionalism relate to advancing the discipline of archaeology.2. An alternative approach is client-oriented archaeology.3. Like a guild, archaeology also has its own language and brand of apprentices, journeymen, and masters.


What archaeology has given to historic preservation

What archaeology has given to historic preservation.

Preservation planning.

Applying anthropological models to non archaeological preservation.

The importance of cultural values in what could be considered significant.


Archaeology becomes a business

Archaeology Becomes a Business

Cultural Resource Management

80% of all archaeology in the United States is tied to CRM programs.business mentality applied to a formerly academic and avocational pursuit.

Professionalism of CRM

1. Registry of Professional Archaeologists (ROPA).a. Quality controlb. Peer reviewc. Ethics

d. Responsibilities to the public, clients, and the profession

American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) was established in 1995 as the trade association.

Union of Archaeological Field Technicians (UFAT) was established in 1991 as a labor union.

Domination of procedures and process over the protection of properties by regulations.

The three principal laws governing the practice of archaeology in the United States are the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act of 1979, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act of 1990.The “research exception” to the criteria of adverse effect was developed as a regulatory shortcut, so that archaeological sites would not hold up the review of projects in situations where potential impact could not be determined during early project planning.


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