Field-Based Decisions on Collection of Archaeological Materials: Monitoring and Ethics

Author(s): Ellen Brennan

Year: 2019


This is an abstract from the "To Curate or Not to Curate: Surprises, Remorse, and Archaeological Grey Area" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.

Cultural Resource Managers are faced with increasing challenges regarding collection of archaeological materials from site contexts. Increased visitation, information sharing through social media, and emerging forms of recreation taking people to previously unexplored areas, contribute to challenges to preserving previously unknown archaeological sites and the materials they contain undisturbed. Federal land managers are directed to manage archaeological resources in situ, "unless the removal of artifacts or physical disturbance is justified by research, consultation, preservation, protection, or interpretive requirements" (NPS Management Policies 2006). To our tribal colleagues artifacts represent tangible evidence of their ancestors. Such items also represent intangible connections to past ways of life and add an ephemeral quality to archaeological sites that is irreplaceable. Materials gathered during data recovery projects are always curated for future study and use. Those from unexcavated archaeological contexts must be carefully evaluated to determine if collections should be made. Grand Canyon National Park cultural resource managers use monitoring information and field-based decision making to guide our actions regarding collection and curation of archaeological materials in otherwise in situ archaeological contexts.

Cite this Record

Field-Based Decisions on Collection of Archaeological Materials: Monitoring and Ethics. Ellen Brennan. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 452187)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -124.365; min lat: 25.958 ; max long: -93.428; max lat: 41.902 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 25104