50 Years of Archaeology

The passage of the National Historic Preservation Act in 1966 fundamentally changed American archaeology. The Act requires that federal agencies be good stewards of historic places – including archaeological sites – that are under an agency’s control. The Act also requires that, when a project is planned, agencies must consider the possible effects of all their actions on archaeological sites and other kinds of historic places.  

Because of these requirements, over the past 50 years, hundreds of thousands of archaeological sites have been found, recorded, and, in many cases, preserved in place. In those cases where sites could not be left in place because of the larger need for highways, energy, housing, and other trappings of modern life, sites have been scientifically excavated and analyzed. The reports containing the results of these analyses preserve the information those places contained and the knowledge we have gained from them for future generations.

All of the archaeological work that is carried out to meet the requirements of the NHPA creates a vast reservoir of understanding about life in the past and yields a wealth of amazing stories about our American experience. The videos on this website have been created by volunteer groups of archaeologists from across the country in order to share some of these stories with you.

Our library of videos will grow throughout 2016, so please check back for new additions. You may share these videos freely with any audience for non-commercial purposes. Enjoy!

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