Both federal law and National Park Service policy require protection and preservation of archeological remains. Where preservation in-place is not possible, recovery operations, like those being conducted in connection with the redevelopment of Independence Mall, are undertaken. These policies ensure that important parts of America's heritage will not be lost and that current and future generations of Americans will be able to learn more about the history of their country. The artifacts and information derived from these preservation efforts are used by scholars and the interested public who wish to study the past.
Independence National Historical Park uses information from archeological projects to enhance the portrayal of the past provided to visitors to the park. In some cases archeological remains are displayed directly (such as at the park's Franklin Court, a short distance from the Mall) or indirectly (archeological projects frequently provide the information that guides the restoration or furnishing of historic buildings.)
The archeological resources under each of the national parks belong to all Americans. The National Park Service is entrusted with protecting these resources from loss or damage. Archeological sites and artifacts on all federal land are protected under the Archaeological Resource Protection Act.
Unauthorized excavation, removal, damage, alteration, or defacement of archaeological resources is a federal offense under this statute and violators are subject to possible imprisonment and fine.
This web site will provide continuing information on the progress of the excavations.