Great Gallery wall paintings of people at Canyonlands National Park.
The Great Gallery at Canyonlands National Park. NPS photo.

People leave their mark wherever they have been, and there lies the potential for archeology. When archeologists dig through the layers of the past they find evidence of how people worked, traded, cared for each other, and made their homes. What might archeologists find to learn about you?

Archeology reveals a unique perspective on people and their cultures: the intimate details of how they lived, expressed their identities, and coexisted with other groups. It gives a fuller picture of the continent's first inhabitants and their descendants. It reveals the perspectives of people of color on enslavement, immigration, citizenship, and civil rights. And archeology can illuminate shared events experienced in different ways in different cultures; social events such as war, travel, or homesteading, may not affect families and communities in the same ways.

Native Americans: Learn about mound builders, musicians, rock painters, toolmakers, traders, explorers, fishermen, architects -- the earliest Americans whose descendants comprise modern American Indian, Alaskan Native, and Native Hawaiian peoples.

African Americans: Track African American life and culture and the students, civil rights leaders, scientists, Buffalo soldiers, enslaved people, homesteaders, and farmers who strived for a more just future.

Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders: Learn about America’s most challenging issues - such as immigration, acculturation, and civil rights - through abalone fishermen, railroad builders, sanctuary seekers, war camps incarcerees, and agricultural workers.

American Latinos: Discover stories that underpin the Spanish discovery and settlement of the New World through explorers, city planners, wax-weed processors, and shipwrecked crews.

Women, Past and Present: Find out about women archeologists, and the stories about women told through archeology.

U.S. Presidents and Their Households: Peek into the home lives of U.S. presidents and the people who knew them, including soldiers with whom they served, friends and family, enslaved and free people, and farm workers.

Soldiers and the Homefront: War transformed the lives and lands of the people who fought them and lived in their path, as witnessed not only by soldiers and prisoners of war, but enslaved and free people, farmers, and other civilians.

Traders and Travelers: Follow the extensive trade and transportation networks that criss-crossed North America, and the paths shaping cultures, economies, and routes of Native Americans, fur traders, toolmakers, and tourists.

Last updated: February 27, 2023