Beginning more than 11,000 years ago, people traveled through and used the Yellowstone area. As Yellowstone's infrastructure is updated to meet the needs of the upcoming century, archeologists and cultural resource specialists work to minimize impacts to historic resources. One way we accomplish this is by excavating "test units" to examine archeological deposits below the ground surface.
"Archeological resources are invaluable in our understanding of people's lives before creation of the park, and also inform us about past climate and biotic change." - Archeologist Beth Horton, PhD
We use this knowledge to assess archeological sites for their significance or eligibility for listing on the National Register of Historic Places: the official list of our country's buildings, districts, sites, structures, and objects worthy of preservation.
"Seeing how our predecessors lived in the environment of Yellowstone over the millennia is fascinating; and protecting the evidence of their lives at archeological sites, historic buildings, and cultural landscapes is my calling." - Cultural Resource Specialist Tom James