The Federal Archaeology Program: Report to Congress FY1996 and FY1997


The archeological record--what has been left behind by those who came before--is a vast store of knowledge about our diverse cultural heritage. That record is fragile and irreplaceable, constantly undergoing changes from cultural and natural processes that threaten the valuable information it contains. Our knowledge of the past depends on how well we preserve and investigate this wealth of information.

The American people have charged their government with preserving an estimated 6 to 7 million archeological sites on 743 million acres of federal and tribal land. The archeology done by government agencies is required by the Archaeological Resources Protection Act and the National Historic Preservation Act. One important goal is to preserve sites that are (or may be) eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and that are protected under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act. Agencies must consider the effect projects they conduct, fund, or authorize have on these sites. These projects are on federal, tribal, state, or private land, entailing road construction, mining, logging, building prisons, and other earth-disturbing activities. This report, called for by the Archeological and Historic Preservation Act and the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, assesses the accomplishments of agencies with archeological programs as well as the impact of federal projects on the nation's archeological heritage. The latter legislation, passed in 1979 to counter rampant looting, also calls for federal land managers to issue permits for archeological work, create public awareness programs, undertake comprehensive surveys of lands, and document archeological crimes.

The federal archeology program brings together the archeological community, private groups, and the public; it reaches millions of Americans. Partnerships are fundamental. This report highlights cooperative efforts with tribes (see page 16), who are gradually taking more responsibility in preserving sites, collections, and records under their jurisdiction and elsewhere. With any effort of this magnitude, incomplete data have an effect; the statistics here are a general measure of the archeology program rather than a precise calculation. In all, 39 agencies and departments provided information (HUD and the Federal Highway Administration did not). These statistics are on the Park Service web site at

Cite this Record

The Federal Archaeology Program: Report to Congress FY1996 and FY1997. Daniel Haas. The Secretary of the Interior Reports to Congress. Washington, D.C.: National Park Service; U.S. Department of the Interior. 1999 ( tDAR id: 378392) ; doi:10.6067/XCV86M39GH

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: 1996 to 1997

Spatial Coverage

min long: -168.398; min lat: 20.303 ; max long: -67.148; max lat: 71.074 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Contact(s): Francis McManamon

Sponsor(s): Archeology Program, National Park Service


General Note:

File Information

  Name Size Creation Date Date Uploaded Access
federal-archaeology-program-report-to-congress_1996_1997.pdf 7.07mb Oct 31, 2012 11:56:39 AM Public