30,000 Feet or Boots on the Ground

Author(s): Susan Stratton; Michael McIntyre

Year: 2015


The National Register (NR) Criteria are supposed to assist in defining the significance of a cultural resource - bringing some order to chaos. But whose interpretation of significance? Were the criteria based on the agreement of culturally diverse individuals? Or the result of those that felt we needed to show some resources are better than others, using an objective checklist approach. Either it can answer "important" research questions or not. Either George Washington slept here or he didn't.

To an archaeologist, the focus has been on Criterion D - a properties' scientific information followed reluctantly (if at all) by looking at the other NR Criteria (A, B, and C). Or even less defined, "I know the site is significant, but how do I make the case for one or more NR Criteria?" But this is the scientist's approach and often dismisses or overlooks the significance of the site or landscape as seen through the eyes of the living culture - the descendant's perspective which to some may be subjective. Let's explore the meaning of significance in the context of a subjective National Register. Should we take more of a "30,000 ft." approach and have less "Boots on the Ground"?

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Cite this Record

30,000 Feet or Boots on the Ground. Susan Stratton, Michael McIntyre. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 397742)

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Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;