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Archeology This Month

Learn more about how archeology protects the memory of America's fallen heroes.

Commemorate Memorial Day

Memorial Day takes place annually on the last Monday of May in the United States. Known as “Decoration Day” until 1882, the holiday began after the Civil War to commemorate fallen soldiers. By the 20th century, its purpose had expanded to honor all Americans who have died in war. Archeology helps us to remember both the reasons behind war and the places where Americans lived, fought, and died for their beliefs. More >>

Archeologist Cheryl LaRoche and Yoruba priestess Ayoka Quinones in closing ceremony at Philadelphia's President's House excavation. [City of Philadelphia photo].

Archeology and You!

August 25, 2011 marks the 95th birthday of the National Park Service. Its mission is to preserve natural and cultural resources “by such means as will leave them unimpaired for the enjoyment of future generations.” Over the past decade parks and programs have turned to the public—a practice called civic engagement—to work towards this mission. For archeologists, civic engagement can mean anything from giving stakeholder communities ownership over research plans, to helping to communicate forgotten or misrepresented histories, to engaging the public in a dialogue about historical manifestations of race, class, and gender, and their transformation into the present. More >>

Mound City at Hopewell Culture National Historic Park is a great place to get outdoors! (NPS photo).

Celebrate Great Outdoors Month!

June is Great Outdoors Month! Get outdoors to do something archeological, like hiking, climbing, or excavating. Take a hike! Visit Betatakin or Keet Seel at Navajo National Monument, where rangers will guide you through the intact cliff dwellings of Ancestral Puebloan peoples. Wander the grounds at Kingsley Plantation at Timucuan Ecological and Historic National Preserve to see the quarters of enslaved farmers. Circle the mounds at Hopewell Culture National Historical Park, evidence of social and ceremonial activities. More >>

An NPS interpreter at Stones River National Battlefield and his Junior Ranger brigade prepare to battle boredom!

Let's Move Outside!

National Park Week (April 16-24) celebrates Healthy Parks, Healthy People. It's a busy month full of fun reasons to get outdoors. April 23 is Junior Ranger Day. Earth Day (April 22) is also celebrated in April, and some states, such as Alaska, Maryland, and Montana honor April as their state's archeology month. We're full of great ideas to get you out-of-doors and moving around this April! More >>

Archeologists discuss their work with visitors at Michigan's Colonial Michilimackinac. (Photo by Barbara Little)

Celebrate America's Archeology Outdoors!

The America's Great Outdoors and Let's Move Outside programs encourage all Americans to head out-of-doors—just the place you'll find a lot of archeological things to see and do! Participate in an excavation. Take a ranger-led hike to archeological sites. Learn how to knap tools in an outdoors workshop. Wash artifacts in the big tent. You'll get exercise, for sure, but you'll probably learn something that you didn't know about before—and that's good exercise for your brain! More >>

Slave cabins made from oyster shell tabby at Timucuan National Preserve's Kingsley Plantation.

Celebrate African American History Month

Archeology tells us more about the historic contributions of African Americans to the nation—both as individuals and as groups—at places and through objects. Experiences of slavery, freedom, uplift, and political and intellectual involvement are integral to the American story. Learn more by exploring NPS parks across the nation, either in person on online. More >>

The Hokule'a, a replica of a Hawaiian voyaging canoe. Picture courtesy of http://www.hawaiimagazine.com.

Celebrate World Heritage Archeology

What do Cahokia Mound State Historic Site in Illinois, Chaco Culture in New Mexico, Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado, and Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument near Hawaii have in common? These places have each been recognized as World Heritage Sites commemorating our ancient cultural heritage. They share this distinction with the Greek Acropolis, the Italian site of Pompeii, and the Mexican city of Teotihuacan, rare places of such outstanding universal value that they are important to the whole world. More >>

Nunamiut students screen excavated soil for artifacts in northern Alaska's Anaktuvuk Pass. (NPS photo)

Celebrate American Indian Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month. For many people, archeology makes the distant past and its people into real, breathing communities not unlike their own. High school students in archeological field schools are learning just that, and are becoming connected with their ancestral heritage while gaining skills in science. More >>

Post card from Ellis Island: Welcome, New Americans!

Celebrate Heritage in October!

October reflects the diversity of heritage in the United States. Celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month until October 15, as well as Italian American Heritage Month, Polish American Heritage Month, and Filipino American Heritage Month all month long! More >>

Newly-minted Junior Ranger prepares to take her Park knowledge back to the classroom.

Back to School with Archeology

It’s back-to-school time! Are you a student who wants to learn more about archeology? Maybe you’re looking to extend your summertime experience on an archeological dig in the off season? Or you’re a teacher who wants to draw on archeology for your classroom? The National Park Service has lots of great resources for everyone headed back to class this fall. More >>

Totem poles at Sitka National Historical Park, one of our earliest National Monuments.

Celebrate Archeology

Happy Birthday, National Park Service! Come celebrate with us fee-free! August 25 is Founders Day—an important event for American archeology. Beginning in the late 19th century, preservationists worked to save archeological sites. Their efforts led to the Antiquities Act of 1906, which led to the creation of many national monuments and has had a major impact on national parks into the 21st century. More >>

Thomas Farm at Monocacy National Battlefield. (NPS photo).

Celebrate Summer

July marks the foundational event in America: the signing of the Declaration of Independence in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on July 4. Archeology at Independence NHP has uncovered evidence of the places where history happened, and artifacts that describe the activities of the people who witnessed it. More >>

NPS diver assesses submerged cultural resources in the Dry Tortugas.

Celebrate National Oceans Month!

Celebrate National Oceans Month in June by visiting archeological places that tell about the historical relationships between people and the sea. Whether along the shore or completely submerged, archeology demonstrates that Americans and their visitors have drawn on the ocean for fun, transportation, trade, and food for thousands of years. More >>

Cannon fire during Fort Pulaski's candlelantern tour.

Celebrate National Park Week!

National Park Week is April 17-25, 2010. Entrance is free to all 392 NPS sites, including parks with archeology! Where will you go—the mounds at Hopewell Culture? Kingsley Plantation at Timucuan? Community gardens at Manzanar? Montezuma Castle? Get started on the Visit Archeology page, or find a park near you. Experience why the national parks are America’s best idea! More >>

Cannon fire during Fort Pulaski's candlelantern tour.

Civil War Archeology

The months of March and April saw key events in the American Civil War, including its beginning and end. Archeology documents events at these place, and the 150th anniversary of the war begins in 2011—so start your planning to visit the battlefield parks now, armed with knowledge about archeological finds! Find out about upcoming events at the American Civil War homepage. More >>

[Photo by Tracy Aukerman] African Dance demonstration at the 2005 Kingsley Heritage Celebration.

Celebrate African American History Month

Archeology tells us more about the historic contributions of African Americans to the nation—both as individuals and as groups—at places and through objects. Experiences of slavery, freedom, uplift, and political and intellectual involvement are integral to the American story. Learn more by exploring NPS parks across the nation, either in person on online. More >>

Visitor enjoys the Marching Bear Group mounds at Effigy Mounds National Monument (NPS photo).

Celebrate Great Outdoors Month!

Traveling the great outdoors this summer? Here are some great archeological places to visit.

Canada has a host of world heritage sites where archeology has revealed information about the past. The Great Lakes region is home to the earliest known metalworking sites in North America, and Maine's museums and parks host archeological sites and collections documenting over 12,000 years of history—and that's just the beginning! More >>

Merritt Park, a community garden at Manzanar War Relocation Center, built by Japanese American internees.  Painting by K. Uetsuzi, Photo by Ansel Adams.

Celebrate Asian Pacific American Heritage Month!

May is Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. Join archeologists and explore the history of Asian Americans’ cultural heritage, from stone fish traps at Kaloko Fishpond, to California's Chinatowns, or even a community garden in a World War II internment camp. More >>

Families have fun learning about archeology in their National Park.

It's time to get out and enjoy your National Parks!

National Park Week is April 18-29 and Junior Ranger Day is April 26.

Want to gain a new perspective on our nation's history? Explore the many exhibits and programs about archeology, a field that offers many things for you to see, do, and visit. Join those who already find archeology interesting and useful. More >>

Archeologists excavate New Philadelphia, near Barry, Illinois.

Celebrate New Archeological National Historic Landmarks

Three new National Historic Landmarks – Miami Circle, New Philadelphia, and Ludlow Tent Colony – were recently designated. The NPS National Historic Landmark (NHL) program recognizes places throughout the United States for their exceptional value or quality in telling the story of America. Sites designated as NHLs are automatically listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Archeological NHLs are designated for providing significant new knowledge about the past or the potential to provide information. Oftentimes this information cannot be known any other way except through archeology, as the three new NHLs attest. More >>

[Photo by Rik Panganiban] Millions gather on the National Mall to celebrate the inauguration of Barack Obama.

Celebrate African American History Month

This year's celebration of African American History Month comes on the heels of a milestone in African American history, the rise to the presidency of Barack Obama. As the eyes of the world turned to President Obama's inauguration on the steps of the U.S. Capitol, the record crowds on the National Mall evoked such historical moments as the Million Man March, Dr. King's speech to the March on Washington, and Marian Anderson's groundbreaking performance at the Lincoln Memorial. More >>

Franklin Court at Independence National Historical Park. (NPS photo)

Celebrate Benjamin Franklin’s Birthday

Happy Birthday, Benjamin Franklin! Franklin would have turned 303 years old on January 17, 2009. What was everyday life like in his Philadelphia household at Franklin Court, now part of Independence National Historical Park? Would archeology show his love of beer, experiments with electricity, pithy sense of humor, and keen intellect?

Franklin Court was the site of a mansion built under Franklin’s direction between 1763-65. Archeology found evidence of his tinkering proclivities, such as contrivances to carry away steam and smoke from the kitchen, ducts and dampers to heat the house, and a refrigerating pit to keep foodstuffs cool. Artifacts attest to household activities and preferences. Franklin lived at the house in 1775-1776, a key period in the development of America as a nation independent from Great Britain. He also lived at Franklin Court from 1785 until his death in 1790. More >>

Native fisherman works his net in the Alaskan twilight. (NPS photo)

November is National American Indian Heritage Month (2008)

November is National American Indian Heritage Month. Look to archeology in the National Parks to trace the history and heritage of American Indians from ancient to modern times. Here are a few ideas to get started.

Over 10,000 years ago, America's earliest immigrants crossed the Bering Land Bridge. Evidence remains of these earliest Americans' eating and hunting in artifacts such as wooden bowls, projectile points, and cutting implements. Check out the park's online collections by doing a word search for "archeology" to see for yourself evidence of their everyday lives. Learn more about the earliest Americans through an online exhibit, a theme study, and publications. More >>

Park Service preservation experts replaster Tumacácori's granary to keep it as close to an original condition as possible. (NPS photo)

Celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the rich cultural heritage of peoples of Spanish, Hispanic, and Latino origin. Archeological sites reveal many different aspects of Hispanic heritage, from early exploration and commerce on the high seas to the building of mission churches and much more.

Re-enactors haul fur bales at Fort Vancouver National Historic Site. (NPS photo)

Celebrate Archeology

The National Park Service celebrates its birthday on August 25, which is Founders Day. Where would national parks be without archeology?

Well, for one thing, visitors wouldn't learn the full story of Jamestown Island, where we just celebrated the 400-year anniversary of the first permanent English settlement in America. Nor would we be able to visit the accurate reconstruction of Fort Vancouver, center of the fur trade and the colonization of the northwestern United States. More >>

What's round on the ends and high in the middle?  Ohio's mounds, of course!  Summer is the perfect time to get outside and experience archeological sites and exhibits in Ohio's parks, or at a park near you! (Photo by JQ Jacobs)

Visit Archeology

Going on vacation this summer? Throw a hat, a trowel, and some elbow grease into your suitcase, and you will be ready for any archeological adventure that comes your way!

If you're visiting the midwest, take a gander at Ohio Archeology, a travel guide to the ancient mounds, canals, and other historic sites that are the state's archeological heritage. More >>

Visitors learn about archeology and preservation at Philadelphia's President's House excavation. [NPS photo]

May is Preservation Month

Spring is a good time to think about new discoveries! Many states celebrate archeology during the months of April and May. Go to the Society for American Archaeology's state archaeology month page to find out when your state celebrates archeological discovery.

May is also Preservation Month, when we pay special attention to our historic heritage and the places that represent it. More >>

High school intern works alongside her mother screening soil and gravel at Kenai Fjords National Park. [NPS photo]

April: Archeology and Our Environment

April is full of good reasons to turn our attention to the great outdoors.

Celebrate National Park Week by visiting a national park. Earth Day is April 22! Some States have declared April as Archaeology month. Go to the Society for American Archaeology's state archaeology month page to find out when your state celebrates archeological discovery. More >>

Archeologists excavate at Amistad National Recreation Area. [NPS photo]

March is Women’s History Month

Women’s history? Isn’t that about the suffrage movement and the struggle for Women’s Rights? Seneca Falls? Elizabeth Cady Stanton? Sojourner Truth?

Of course, and that’s exciting and inspiring history, but there’s a lot more to women’s history, too, and some of it is waiting underground. More >>

Celebrate African American History Month

African American history is American history, from the earliest colonial settlement at Jamestown to the American Revolution to the struggle for Civil Rights. Archeology helps to reveal this history and celebrate African American achievements.

Long before the Civil War ended legal slavery, African Americans carved out places on the landscape, creating a legacy for all of us today. More >>

Celebrate World Heritage Archeology

What do Cahokia Mound State Historic Site in Illinois, Chaco Culture in New Mexico, and Mesa Verde National Park in Colorado have in common? Here’s a hint: they share this distinction with the Greek Acropolis, the Italian site of Pompeii, and the Mexican city of Teotihuacan. These places have each been recognized as World Heritage Sites that commemorate our ancient cultural heritage. A few rare places are of such outstanding universal value that they are important to the whole world. World Heritage recognizes and celebrates our common humanity: our common struggles, ambitions, achievements. More >>

December: North American Archeoastronomy

Wonder at the immense and unfathomable universe connects people in every time and every place to each other. We share a wonder at the movement of the sun and moon and invent ways to track them, making calendars so that we might plant and harvest and carry out ceremonies at opportune times. We see shapes in the stars, creating stories about the beings we find there.

Ancient astronomers throughout the world found ways to track celestial movements and to predict the year's important events, including winter solstice which (in the northern hemisphere) is the first day of winter and the shortest day of the year. More >>

November is National American Indian Heritage Month (2007)

For hundreds of generations American Indians have called this land home. In some places, the achievements of ancient cultures are visible on the landscape in surviving architecture of stone, adobe, or earth. More often, the remains of materials are underground and out of sight. In either case, the methods and techniques of archeology are used to illuminate the past and help us better understand it. More >>

October is Archeology Month

Over 15 states celebrate archeology during the month of October. Why? For the sheer fun of it! Go to the Society for American Archaeology's state archaeology resource page to find out when your state celebrates archeological discovery. More >>

TSM/MJB