To respond to this interest, the Heritage Preservation Services Division, National Park Service, initiated the "Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands Project." Coordinated by Heritage Preservation Services Division, the Project received partial funding from the National Park Service's "Partnerships in Cultural Resource Training" Initiative. Project cosponsors included the Archeology and Ethnography Program of the National Park Service, the Society for American Archaeology, the Society for Historical Archaeology, the Archaeological Conservancy, the National Trust for Historic Preservation, and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers.
The Project concentrated on archeological site protection during private and non-federal public actions. There is already a lot of attention being paid to protecting sites as part of federal activities, such as during the processes associated with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, and the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act. The Private Lands Project addressed the broader arena where there is no federal involvement, in situations where landowners and local communities are faced with decisions about the fate of their valued archeological resources. In addition, the Project focussed on protecting the site in place, not on protecting the site's information after it has been excavated.
The goal of the project was "To raise awareness and to stimulate and facilitate action on the part of public and private agencies and organizations, landowners, and the general public on responsible strategies for protecting archeological sites on private lands." Major project activities included: (1) sending a request to all individuals who had received a copy of Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands, asking for case study information on actual archeological site protection, which was compiled to form background information for the working meeting discussion; (2) a working meeting of a small group of experts to discuss current practice, strategies, lessons learned, and keys to success, held in conjunction with the Society for American Archaeology's annual meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana, April 9-10, 1996; (3) a forum with panelist presentations on preliminary results from the working meeting and continued discussion with a broader range of participants, also held in conjunction with the Society for American Archaeology's annual meeting in New Orleans (see Appendix 7 for a list of participants); and (4) preparation of this Strategies booklet.
This booklet, Strategies for Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands, expands upon the "Summary of Protection Strategies" chart that appeared as Appendix A in the book, Protecting Archeological Sites on Private Lands. Some of the case studies compiled for the working meeting are included to show how some of the strategies have been used to protect sites in various situations. Major findings from both the working meeting and the forum are interspersed throughout the booklet.
In a format that is easy to use and understand, Strategies identifies a wide variety of tools that are being used to protect archeological sites, summarizes the benefits of each, and notes features of these tools that merit special attention. Case study examples of actual archeological protection projects are presented to illustrate the use of selected protection strategies. Information on lessons learned and keys to success highlight experiences in communities all across the country. Finally, excerpts from selected documents provide examples of language that has been used in easements, ordinances, and plans for protecting archeological sites.
Strategies is not intended to serve as the definitive word or as a legal "how-to" on protecting archeological sites on private lands. This is not the only reference that you would want to consult in order to protect a site. Rather, Strategies is a general guide to the range of tools that could be, or are currently being, used to protect archeological sites in local communities. If you are thinking about taking action to protect a specific site, you will want more detailed information and advice from experts in using these strategies. If you are interested in learning more about protecting archeological sites, contact information is noted for each case study, and the Bibliography contains a number of sources that you may find helpful.
It is hoped that this booklet helps you become familiar with the "tool kit" of strategies for protecting archeological sites that are important to you and your community. After DeKalb County, Georgia passed an ordinance protecting the Archaic-period Soapstone Ridge archeological complex, DeKalb County Historic Preservation Commission member Thomas R. Wheaton commented that "The biggest lesson to be learned is that real protection of sites is greatly enhanced, and may only be possible, at the local level." (Wheaton 1998:29).