In 1906, citizens concerned about protecting archeological areas on
federal and Indian lands were gratified by the passage of the Antiquities
Act. This statute recognized that archeological sites on U.S. public
lands are special and important resources and their historic, scientific,
commemorative, and cultural values must be preserved for present and
future generations of Americans. A new era began with the passage of
the Antiquities Act. Public awareness about archeology increased, as
did the involvement of public agencies and the establishment of preservation
policies. National Monuments commemorating and preserving archeological
sites were created throughout the U.S. Support for scientific methods
in archeology grew and professionalism in the field of American archeology
developed. The National Park Service (NPS) was established in 1916 to
care for outstanding cultural and natural resources. The NPS's responsibilities
included managing historical and archeological areas in the U.S. as
well as active engagement in site preservation. Concerns about site
destruction and the need for public support to preserve sites continued
through this period.
In January, Representative Lacey of Iowa introduces a new bill.
Following hearings and debate, the Antiquities
Act is enacted on June 8. This statute decrees Presidential
authority to establish National Monuments and requires permits to
be approved before archeological investigations can be undertaken
on federal land.
The Antiquities Act of 1906
Congress establishes Mesa Verde
National Park in Colorado to protect and interpret the major
pueblo ruins located there.
President Theodore Roosevelt proclaims Devils
Tower in Wyoming, El Morro
in New Mexico, and Montezuma
Castle in Arizona as National Monuments. These monuments contain
significant archeological and ethnographic sites.
Congress charters the Archeological
Institute of America.
Chaco Canyon and Gila
Cliff Dwellings in New Mexico and Tonto
in Arizona, all with significant archeological sites, are proclaimed
Cliff dweller pottery from Mesa Verde National Park
One of the first permits issued under the Antiquities Act of 1906,
to survey public land in Utah, is granted to the AIA, represented
by Edgar L. Hewett, Director of American Archaeology for the AIA.
Tumacacori and the Grand
Canyon (which becomes a National Park in 1919) are proclaimed
National Monuments in Arizona.
Nels C. Nelson uses careful recording and analysis of stratigraphy
in the Galisteo Basin, New Mexico, to demonstrate chronological
relationships among pottery styles used prehistorically in the Rio
A. V. Kidder at Pecos, 1916
Walnut Canyon, encompassing
extensive archeological sites in Arizona, becomes a National Monument.
A. V. Kidder begins to conduct stratigraphic excavations at Pecos.
Bandelier National Monument,
named for Adolph F.A. Bandelier, a Swiss-American scholar who carried
out extensive archeological surveys of the region's prehistoric
sites, is established near Los Alamos, New Mexico.
National Park Service (NPS) is
created within the DOI by passage of 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."
Alfred Kroeber surface collects Zuni artifacts and practices seriation
and the direct historical approach. He hypothesizes a decrease in
the use of redwares and an increase in the use of black-on-white
ceramics over time.
Sixteen Antiquities Act permits are granted. This is the greatest
number of permits granted in one year under the Act.
T. Mather is named the 1st Director of the newly formed National
Horace Albright and Stephen Mather, the first two Directors
of the NPS
Leslie Speir combines seriation and the direct historical approach
to establish a chronology for the surface collections from Zuni.
His findings are published in An Outline for a Chronology of
Lafayette National Park (renamed Acadia
in 1929) becomes the first and only National Park east of the Mississippi
and remains so throughout the 1920's.
The National Parks Association is founded in Washington, D.C.
Publication of Kidder's Introduction to Southwestern Archaeology,
"the first effort to synthesize what was known of regional prehistory
at the time."
John D. Rockefeller funds the beginning of the restoration of Williamsburg,
Jesse Nusbaum and Navajo Indians at Mesa Verde
Jesse Nusbaum, Superintendent of Mesa Verde National Park, is appointed
Archeologist for the DOI, a newly created position.
A. V. Kidder organizes the first Pecos Conference.
Tree-ring dating is definitively tied to the modern calendar by
A. E. Douglass.
M. Albright is appointed the 2nd Director of the National Park
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