The Foundation for American Public Archaeology: Section 3 of the Antiquities Act of 1906

Author(s): Francis McManamon

Year: 2006


The Antiquities Act of 1906 is not widely known, yet it is among the most important of American laws for archaeological and historical preservation, as well as for natural resource conservation. To the extent that the law is known, it is most commonly understood to be the authority by which the president can establish national monuments on public lands. This chapter describes another important aspect of the law: its position as the foundation for public archaeological and historic preservation policies in the United States. Specifically, the three spects of this policy foundation are: (1) archaeological resources are public resources and their uses should be regulated publicly and for a public benefit rather than for private commercial or personal gain; (2) the primary values of archaeological resources arc educational and commemorative; and (3) archaeological resources should be investigated and interpreted by qualifIed professionals U5lng the best historical and scientific methods and techniques. Section 3 of the Antiquities Act established these policies regarding archaeological sites. Later in the twentieth century, the Historic Sites Act (1935) and the National Historic Preservation Act (1966) extended these same fundamental policies to a wlder range of historic and cultural resources, including those located on other-than-public lands.

Cite this Record

The Foundation for American Public Archaeology: Section 3 of the Antiquities Act of 1906. Francis McManamon. In The Antiquities Act of 1906: A Century of American Archaeology, Historic Preservation, and Nature Conservation. Pp. 153-175. Tucson, AZ: The University of Arizona Press. 2006 ( tDAR id: 391541) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8SQ918X

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Contact(s): Francis McManamon

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