[NPS Arrowhead] U.S. Dept. of Interior National Park Service Archeology Program
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The National Strategy for Federal Archeology

The stewardship of America's archeological heritage is a well-established policy and function of the Federal government. Beginning in 1892 when Casa Grande Ruins were set aside for preservation, Federal agencies have paid special attention to the archeological resources on their lands, or that their activities affect. 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. In 1990 Secretary of the Interior Manuel Lujan, Jr., identified activities and programs for special emphasis by Federal agencies undertaking or funding archeology. In 1999 the National Strategy was updated and affirmed as official governmental policy.

Preserve and Protect Archeological Sites in Place

  • Identify, evaluate, and document sites
  • Increase our understanding of the past and improve preservation through well-designed research
  • Assess and document threats to sites and monitor their condition
  • Prevent or slow deterioration of sites by stabilization and other means
  • Fight looting with public awareness programs and effective legal strategies among archeologists, law enforcement officers, and public prosecutors

Conserve Archeological Collections and Records

  • Locate collections and records, assess their condition, and conserve appropriately
  • Identify actions needed to ensure long-term care of and access to collection and records
  • Undertake, facilitate, and promote research using collections and records to better understand the past

Utilize and Share Archeological Research Results

  • Synthesize research results, particularly from limited-distribution, technical reports, to advance scientific knowledge, further preservation, and better inform the public
  • Facilitate use of archeological databases by managers and researchers
  • Develop data standards to better share research results

Increase Outreach and Participation in Public Archeology

  • Establish education programs as a regular agency function
  • Interpret archeological research for the public in a way that is accurate and understandable
  • Consider the views of diverse cultural groups when interpreting the past
  • Engage the public in archeology through professionally directed volunteer programs