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Public Archaeology Edit

Public Archaeology is an area of archaeology that involves bringing researchers and members of the community into the interpretation, evaluation, and specific views from the past of particular people in hopes to somehow find an insight significant to the people associated with the site.

Main Goals Edit

Trigger states in his book, A History of Archaeological Thought, "[community archaeology] seeks to involve local in the planning and carrying out of research that are of direct interest to them" (2007:260). The groups are defined as "ethnic minorities, occupational groups, social groups and alternative life styles" (2007:260). According to the Society of American Archaeology's Public Archaeology there are a few goals that they agredd with that were provided by Carol McDavid. They are listed below.


  • "They aim to engage the public in order to share archaeological findings and/or promote stewardship of cultural resources or to otherwise make archaeology relevant to society by providing the public with the means for constructing their own past."
  • "This growing field of archaeological research includes theoretical and practical work in archaeological heritage management (AHM), archaeological education, museums archaeology, the sociopolitics of archaeology, Cultural Resource Management (CRM), and a number of other arenas in which archaeologists ad their public interact" with eachother."

American Anthropological Association (AAA) Edit

In the past few decades Public Archaeology has really come into full bloom. There have been more and more archaeological sites that are trying to incorporate the community in the interpretation of a site. They archaeologists working on a dig will talk with members of surrounding communities to see if there have been any oral traditions passed from one generation to the next and if there is so way that the archaeologist could incorporate that information into their findings. One of the major groups that is working among the organization of Public Archaeology is the US National Park Service.

Public Archaeology Journal Edit

According to SA, the Public Archaeology Journal is "the only international, peer-reviewed journal...providing...for the growing debate surrounding archaeological and heritage issues as they relate to the wider world of politics, ethics, government, social questions, education, management, economics, and philosophy." The association states that the journals goals are to report on groundbreaking research and analysis from a broad range of areas of study. The journal reports and takes articles from many different kinds of archaeologists and and different topics. For instance, the February 2009 issues includes artciles about an by several authors; A Climate of Fear: Recent British Policy and Management of Coastal Heritage by Joe Flatman, More Than Meet the Eyes?: Archaeology Under Water, Technology, and Interpretation by Joe Sperry, and a few others. The site also explain membership rates for various people and tim eperiods. The rates range from $125 for one year adult, to $25,000 for a lifetime membership.

National Park Service Edit

About the National Park Service Edit

After the forming of Yellow Stone National Park by the US government in 1872 year, there was a need for an organization that was going to keep the park whole and the future national park connected together. The National Park Service came together a few years after the Yellow Stone Park and had started to prosper after that. Currently there are more than 1,200 national parks in the world in over 100 nations. Working hand in hand with the Department of the Interior, more national parks and monuments were established. The department of the Interior employs all of the archaeologists that work on the archaeological digs that are run in the federally owned lands with the national parks and monuments. It is required that all archaeologists in a state turn in a research design to the state's Archaeologist Office for confirmation the the chance to do an excavation. From there, depending on the location of the site, the state archaeologist may have to contact the Department of the Interior for permission to conduct the dig. The National Park Service now consists of 390 areas, 84 million acres in more than 49 states. If land were to be added it needs to go through congress. The only person who has authority to add monuments onto federal land is the President of the United States.

Goals of the National Park Service Edit

There are a few major goals of the National Park Service. Their goals are the original goals set out by the forefathers but also take into consideration of the current ideas of the people and the congress.

  • Guardian of our diverse cultural and recreational resources
  • Environmental advocate
  • World leader in the parks and preservation community
  • Pioneer in the drive to protect America's open space.

Time Line of Public Archaeology in the United States Edit

This time line was shorten from the National Park Service website (see citation at the bottom of the page). I took the events that I believed to be the most important from the list they complied. [don't narrate... just state]I give full credit to NPS for their time line. [These events are important in the history of the National Park Service as an organization and to the development of archaeological research in the National Parks.]

1784- Archaeology started in the United States with the controlled excavation of a mound in Virginia by Thomas Jefferson.

1832- The first archaeological site for public observation was started in Arkansas; Hot Spring Reservation.

1846- Joseph Henry establishes the Smithsonian Institute with the aim to "a collection of of data [that] precedes theorizing"

1872- Yellowstone National Park is registered at the first national park by the Congress. This act creates a policy that allows the government to put aside land for federal ownership that allows the public to use it and also preserves the land for natural and cultural importance for a long time.

1879- The Bureau of American Ethnology is formed by John Wesley Powell to document the then "disappearing" Native American People of the western United States. Archaeological Institute of America is founded by Charles Eliot Norton.

1892- Benjamin Harrison is the first president to enact an order that set aside Casa Grande Ruin and more than 400 acres because of the archaeological value of the land.

1900- Second failed attempt to pass a bill in the House of Representatives that protect antiquities on public land.
1906- The Antiquities Act is passed by the citizens concerned with protecting artifacts on federal and Native American land. The artifacts were deemed important with their "historic, scientific, commemorative, and cultural values." This act increased the public interest in archaeological sites and the awareness of the urgency of protection for those sites. Many more acres of land were declared federally protected in this year also.

1907-1910- Many more areas of land, such as the Grand Canyon and Big Hole Battlefield, are declared to be Federally owned National Monuments.

1912-1914- Nels C. Nelson take careful consideration in the stratigraphy of the land in areas that he is observing in the use of historical "chronological relationships among pottery styles in the Rio Grande".

1916- The National Park service is created using the Organic Act to "promote and regulate the use of …national parks, monuments, and reservations …to conserve the scenery and the natural and historic objects and the wild life therein and to …leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations."Also under the Antiquities Act of 1906, 16 places are granted permits. This is the largest number of Historical Monuments to be permitted the grant in one year.

1929- Tree-ring dating is introduced and corralated with the calender by A.E. Douglas.

1930- NPS begins to introduce national parks for public recreations which started as unemployment relief projects.

1934- The U.S. National Archives are created. The Society of American Archaeology is started to "promote relationships between archaeolgists, professionals and amateurs, and to combat the commercialization of archaeological artifacts.

1935- The Historic Sites act is created that "asserts that the federal government takes responsibility in recognizing and providing techinical assistance to nationally known sites, buildings, objects and antiquities, no matter where in the United States".

1941- With the start of World War II, there is a decrease in the activity of NPS. The director defends the parks "against pressures for comsumptive use of the parks resources in the name of national defense."

1950- The start of cultural resource management begins to appear. Archaeologists work with the Pipeline Salvage Program in the Southwest. The archaeologists survey the land and the area alongside of the pipe and also inspect the trenches where the pipes are being laid.

1956- Highway salvage archaeology is introduced further expanding the CRM (cultural resource management field).

1960- Reservoir Salvage Act begins ensuring the preservation of archaeological materials through construction of dams.

1963- Advisory Council of Underwater Archaeology is created to educate people about underwater archaeology and the preservation of deep sea artifacts.

1966- National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is passed due to the public's reaction to a possible threat to archaeological sites and historical structures in areas that are being developed due to a increase in population and expanding cities.

1970- UNESCO is passed prohibiting the import, export and transfer of ownership of cultural property between international lines to reduce the worldwide pillaging of cultural goods.

1971- The Protection and Enhancement of Cultural Environment is enacted requiring agencies to inventory historical properties, forcing them to add them to the National Registry of Historic Places. This causes agencies also to possibly relocate their plans for construction depending on the site that is found.

1974- Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act is passed authorizing the oversight and coordination of public archaeology to the Secretary of the Interior. This act also allows federal money to be spent on the archaeological field for excavations research and publication of projected results. Also an increased awareness of archaeological responsibilities leads to the increased demand for professional archaeologists

1979- Archaeological Resource Protection Act is passed giving further power to the Antiquities Act of 1906. It promises that the government will improve enforcement of resource protection, including many different types of artifacts and sites.

1986- One year after the discovery of the Titanic, RMS Titanic Maritime Memorial Act is passed to encourage the US and other countries to enter into negotiations to designate the shipwreck as a memorial and developed guidelines to the exploration of, research on, and salvage of the shipwreck.

1990- The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, is passed by congress giving the Native Americans all culturally affiliated artifacts such as human remains, funeral objects, sacred objects, and all other object inadvertly discovered from tribal land from the federal government. after 1990 that are being held in museums.

1991- The secretary of Interiors enacts the National Strategy for Federal Archaeology which maintains standards for the way archaeology is done, maintain the site, conserving collections, and sharing results with other archaeologists and possibly the public to increase the archaeological knowledge in the community.

1993- ArchNet is established which provides a detailed look into the archaeological resources found on the internet. It is the Virtual Library for Archaeology.

1997- Since the first appearance in 1983, Archaeology Week has become an experience in 39 states. This week or month long celebration encourages the public to notice the type of archaeological work that is going on all around them. It also lets people experience the importance of historical preservation that needs to be obtained before all of our past has disappeared.

1998- Registration of Professional Archaeologist is established to promote the universal codes, ethics, and conducts to be taken by all professionals in the field.

2003- Preserve America is enacted to further the Antiquities and Preservation Acts of 1906 and 1979. It advances the protection, enhancement, and contemporary use of federally owned historic properties.

Organization Edit

The National Park Service is controlled in Washington D.C. with a director and six associate directors. Each member has a specific duty that they are involved in ranging from Tourism to concession management to resource management in all of the parks that are associated with the national parks in the United States. There are six separate offices located in offices all over the United States, Lousianna, Washington D.C., Colorado, West Virginia and Virginia. The field is headed by the six regions of the United State Parks are headed by a Regional Manager who reports to the Regional Director. The regional directors is in control of the policies, planning, and general authority of the parks in their designated areas. They are also in control of the budget formulation and financial management (National Park Service).

Work Cited Edit

McDavid, Carol. 2002:2. From Real Space to Cyberspace: The Internet and Public Archaeology Practice. Unpublished doctoral dissertation. University of Cambridge.

National Park Services. U.S. Department of the Interior. 2007 Public Archaeology in the United States; History; Mission; Quick Facts; Grants. Electronic Document. http://www.nps.gov/archeology/timeline/timeline.htm

Public Archaeology. Society of American Archaeology. Electronic Document. http://ssa.org/ForThePublic/ForArchaeologists/tabid/261/default.aspx

Trigger, Bruce. 2007 A History of Archaeological Thought. Cambridge University Press.

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