Protection, preservation, and interpretation continue to be the goals of
public archeology, while new strategies and techniques to preserve the archeological
record are initiated. Public outreach and participation, partnerships, and
preservation programs are top priorities. The Native American Graves Protection
and Repatriation Act influences participation of Native Americans in archeological
projects, while amendments to the Archaeological Resources Protection Act
(ARPA) require federal agencies to conduct public outreach and education
about archeology. Also under ARPA, programs to fight looting and preserve
the archaeological record expand, more law enforcement personnel are trained
in archeological protection, and the law is used more often to prosecute
more looters. The use and sharing of archeological research results is improved
through interagency cooperation in project development and information exchange
at the national, state, and local levels. In addition, the systematic preservation
of artifacts and related records from archeological sites results in better
conservation and use of collections and records to enhance the understanding
of the past.
The regulations, Curation of
Federally-Owned and Administered Archeological Collections
(36 CFR 79) are published in final form. They establish definitions,
standards, procedures, and guidelines that federal agencies
must observe to manage and preserve archeological collections
and associated records from federal projects.
Archeological collections sometimes are stored in inappropriate
facilities and may suffer further from compression damage,
water damage, and pest infestation.
US Army Corps of Engineers, St. Louis District
- Congress enacts the Native
American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA).
It provide definitions procedures
for the disposition or repatriation of culturally affiliated
Native American, Native Hawaiian, and Native Alaskan human remains,
funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony
that were inadvertently discovered or intentionally excavated
from tribal or federal lands after 1990, or are held by federal
agencies or museums that receive federal funds.
- The National Park Service (NPS) releases the Abandoned
Shipwreck Act (ASA) Guidelines to provide advice to both
state and federal agencies on effective management of abandoned
shipwrecks under their care.
Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan issues the National
Strategy for Federal Archeology. The strategy is designed
as an integrative mechanism to maintain standards and keep efforts
focused on preserving sites in situ, conserving collections
and records, using and sharing research results, and promoting
public education and outreach.
Teaching with Historic Places in a Virginia classroom.
- The NPS National Register of Historic Places initiates the
Historic Places program to promote places as effective tools
for enlivening traditional classroom instruction.
- The African Burial Ground, a 17th century cemetery, is discovered
20 feet beneath ground surface in the densely developed southern
tip of Manhattan, New York City. During the next several years
of excavation, over 400 burials of enslaved Africans and African
Americans are recovered and studied to learn about when the
cemetery was used and the historical and cultural backgrounds
of the people buried there.
The US Forest Service establishes
in Time (PIT) as a national program. PIT volunteers work
with professional archeologists and historians on projects such
as excavation, survey, historic structure restoration, and the
analysis and curation of artifacts.
Passport in Time logo.
- The National
Historical Preservation Act is amended to include the stipulation
that the Secretary of the Interior must consult with Indian
tribes and Native Hawaiian organizations. It also provides for
the establishment of tribal preservation programs and creates
a presidential appointment to the Advisory Council on Historic
Preservation for a Native American or Native Hawaiian.
- The National Park Service launches the National
Archeological Database, Reports module. It is an expanded
bibliographic inventory of reports on archeological investigation
and planning, mostly of limited circulation ("gray literature").
NADB-Reports can be searched by state, county, cultural affiliation,
keyword, year of publication, title, and author. In 2004, it
holds over 350,000 records.
- ArchNet is the first
website to provide access to extensive archeological resources
on the Internet. It serves as the Virtual Library for Archaeology.
Vanishing Treasures, a grassroots
effort by NPS park superintendents to preserve prehistoric and
historic ruins in the arid west, is launched. The key goals
are to address the stabilization of structures in imminent danger
of loss, train a new generation of craftsmen before the older
ones retire, and evaluate, rank, and accomplish preservation
strategies on Vanishing Treasures resources.
Salinas Pueblo Missions in New Mexico is an example of
one of the sites Vanishing Treasures is working to preserve.
- In response to a growing concern that its archaeological
collections were not being properly curated or managed, the
US Army Corps of Engineers creates the Mandatory
Center of Expertise for the Curation and Management of Archaeological
Collections (MCX-CMAC). MCX-CMAC is charged with assisting
the Corps and other federal, state, and local agencies in activities
such as NAGPRA-compliance activities, archives, archaeological
collections management, and the design of museum collection
Interagency cooperation begins as archeologists from the NPS
Center work with the US Department of Defense to investigate
aircraft crash sites from the Vietnam
War in an attempt to resolve the fate of aircrews who were
lost with these planes in Vietnam and Laos. Using eyewitness
accounts from local residents, US military personnel and Vietnamese
laborers identify and excavate crash sites scattered across
a series of rice paddies.
Excavations of an aircraft crash site in Vietnam.
- The American
Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) is incorporated to
promote the professional, ethical, and business practices of
the cultural resources industry for the benefit of the resources,
the public, and the members of the association.
- The human skeletal remains that have come to be referred
to as "Kennewick Man",
or the "Ancient One", are found in Kennewick, Washington.
Almost immediately controversy develops regarding who is responsible
for determining the fate of the remains. Indian tribes, local
officials, and some members of the scientific community make
claims. Subsequently, the federal government conducts extensive
research on Kennewick Man as part of the effort to resolve the
legal case that develops from the initial controversy.
Since the organization of the first state archeology week in
Arizona in 1983, the celebration of Archeology
Week has grown considerably. Thirty-nine states now celebrate
an archeology week or month. Archeology celebrations enhance
the public's understanding of archeology and the need for the
preservation of the archeological record.
Wyoming archaeology month poster.
- In a landmark ARPA decision on the Shumway case, the US Court
of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit rules that the sentencing judge
may use “archeological value” to calculate loss
when sentencing looters. The value
is based on what it would cost to retrieve scientific information
from the site had it not been violated, plus the costs of site
stabilization and artifact curation. The ruling stems from the
appeal of a man who received the largest sentence ever handed
down in an ARPA case.
- Archeologists succeed in publishing an archeological excavation
report, complete with extensive data and graphics, on a CD.
This is Excavating
Occaneechi Town: Archaeology Of An Eighteenth-Century Indian
Village In North Carolina edited by R. P. Stephen Davis,
Jr., Patrick Livingood, H. Trawick Ward, and Vincas Steponaitis.
The authors' more recent website also includes an Electronic
- The Register
of Professional Archaeologists (RPA) is formed to establish
universal standards in archeology. RPA is a listing of archeologists
who have agreed to abide by an explicit code of conduct and
standards of research performance based on the code of ethics,
standards of performance, and grievance procedures of the former
Society of Professional Archeologists.
National NAGPRA becomes
a program of the NPS. The program maintains several online databases
designed to provide access to information on a variety of NAGPRA-related
topics: the Native American Consultation Database (NACD), the
Notices of Inventories Completion Database and the Notices of
Intent to Repatriate Database.
- The US Attorney for the District of Utah reaches a creative
settlement in U.S. v. Dose, which involved ARPA violations committed
by a teacher leading a middle school archeology club trip and
the school district. The teacher is required to share the lessons
he learned in speaking engagements and in articles for education
journals and the Society for American Archaeology's "Archaeology
& Public Education" newsletter. He must also pay for
the repair of the archeological site involved, while the middle
school district pays the ARPA civil penalty.
A coalition of archeological organizations commissioned Harris
Interactive to conduct a study of the American public to understand
their perceptions, knowledge, and attitudes about archeology.
"Exploring Public Perceptions
and Attitudes about Archaeology" is released and reveals
that people think archeology is important to today's society.
Thunder Bay's shipwrecks create artificial reef habitat
and attract marine life, creating popular spots for divers
to explore natural and cultural resources.
Glen Allen, Channel Islands Marine Sanctuary
Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve is
designated as the 13th national marine sanctuary and the first
in the Great Lakes. Approximately 160 shipwrecks that span more
than a century of maritime history lie within the region.
- The NPS launches its first self-motivated, distance learning
course for archeologists worldwide, Managing
Archeological Collections. It focuses on the issues and
activities involved in preserving and managing archeological
collections from the field to the museum and over the long term.
It has ten sections, each with a bibliography, related links,
and a quiz.
Archaeology, a national heritage education program, is founded
by the Bureau of
Land Management (BLM) for educators and their students.
Its goals are to teach young Americans to value and protect
our cultural heritage, strengthen children's sense of personal
responsibility for stewardship, and use the vast historic and
archaeological resources under the custody of the BLM to support
the education of America's children.
Children completing Project Archaeology activities.
- An interdisciplinary workgroup of NPS archeologists and interpreters
develop a curriculum to train both sets of professionals in
the skills and abilities needed to effectively interpret archeological
resources to the public. This is the first shared competency
in the NPS.
- The UNESCO
Convention on the Protection of the Underwater Cultural Heritage
is adopted as a follow-up to the 1996 ICOMOS Charter on the
Protection and Management of Underwater Cultural Heritage. Developed
by government experts from over 107 nations, the convention
is the product of many years of negotiations and contains professional
rules on underwater archeology.
Although Shiloh National
Military Park was established to commemorate a Civil War
battle, it was also occupied by Mississippian peoples (from
circa AD 1000 - 1350). The NPS Southeast
Archeological Center's (SEAC) Shiloh
Mound Archeological Testing Project begins working on the
Shiloh Mound Complex. It includes a number of mounds around
a plaza and an encircling palisade situated on a high bluff
that is rapidly eroding into the Tennessee River.
Top view of Mound A excavations at Shiloh National Military
- The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issues
for Research, Exploration and Salvage of RMS TITANIC. The
guidelines are developed in consultation with the United Kingdom,
France, and Canada.
America" Executive Order 13287 is issued. It advances
the protection, enhancement, and contemporary use of historic
properties owned by the federal Government, and promotes intergovernmental
cooperation and partnerships for the preservation and use of
Preserve America logo.
- Interpretation for Archeologists:
A Guide to Increasing Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities
is launched. America's archeological resources embody a rich
heritage of human experiences and cultural identities. They
tell us about people from the past and establish important connections
to the present. Interpretation guides the public to realizing
the personal relevance of archeological resources and the importance
of their preservation and protection.
- Your thoughts on the significant events in public archeology
are always appreciated. Please send your suggestions to Terry
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