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Why does NPS interpret archeology?

The stewardship of America's archeological heritage is a well established policy and function of the federal government. Interagency cooperation and partnerships are fundamental to this mission. Archeological resources—sites, collections, and records—are unique and fragile. They must be used wisely and protected for future generations.

(photo) Archeological excavations at Fort Vancouver.

Archeological excavations at Fort Vancouver. (NPS)

Through programs that preserve, protect, conserve, and educate the public regarding archeological resources the National Park Service preserves over 63,000 archeological sites, as well as huge archeological collections from scientific investigations of those sites. Interpreting archeological resources helps meet this part of the NPS mission by:

National Strategy for the Federal Archeology Program

The Federal Archeology Program encompasses a wide range of archeological interpretation programs, collections care, scientific investigations, protection efforts, and public education and outreach efforts. In 1991, the Secretary of the Interior identified areas of special emphasis for federal agencies with archeological programs. The 1998 update of the National Strategy renews our effort to pursue these actions.

Preserve and Protect Archeological Sites in Place

Conserve Archeological Collections and Records

Utilize and Share Archeological Research Results

Increase Public Education and Participation in Archeology

The National Strategy for the Federal Archeology Program reinforces the NPS commitment to preserve and interpret American archeological resources. Work done in each park by managers, interpreters, and archeologists ensure that these resources will be protected and appreciated by visitors.

Fun fact

Archeology is happening all over the nation! Research in the Parks links to web sites describing NPS archeology projects.

For your information

The Public Interpretation Initiative
Read about the purposes and direction of the Public Interpretation Initiative, a public outreach program initiated and coordinated by the NPS Southeast Archeological Center.

TSM/MJB