U.S. Government Archeology



Federal Archaeology Laws

This web site is provided by the North Carolina Archaeology Home Page. The site provides an excellent overview of the major federal laws that pertain to archaeology.


Archeology and Historic Preservation: Secretary of the Interior’s Standards and Guidelines

The National Park Service has posted this updated version of the U.S. federal standards for planning, documenting and evaluating archaeological projects and registering historic properties.


General Sources

National Register of Historic Places

The National Register is a list of U.S. cultural properties that have been deemed worthy of preservation. Properties include buildings, archaeological sites, landscapes, battlefields, bridges, etc. The site has excellent search functions and even provides travel itineraries for trips to historical sites.
Smithsonian–Department of Anthropology 
The Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology provides a variety of educational leaflets and bibliographies covering anthropology and archaeology.

Bureau of Land Management– Anasazi Heritage Center

This web site features information about the Anasazi Heritage Center, which is dedicated to the Pueblo people who lived in the four corners region of the American Southwest. According to the site the BLM manages approximately 5 million prehistoric and historic properties.

The National Anthropological Archives (NAA)

The NAA collects a variety of materials (field notes, maps, recordings) from all the fields of anthropology (archaeology, ethnology, linguistics, and physical anthropology). The collection is made up of materials from the Smithsonian’s early work with native North Americans, the Smithsonian’s Department of Anthropology, the Bureau of American Ethnology, the U.S. National Museum’s Division of Ethnology and its Division of Physical Anthropology, and a number of other organizations.
National Park Service–Archaeology *Highly Recommended*
This is, perhaps, the most complete archaeology site produced by the federal government. The National Park Service is the primary government agency responsible for archaeological matters. The NPS preserves over 60,000 archaeological sites and provides extensive educational and regulatory information on its site.

Who would have thought NASA would be involved with archaeology? This site explains NASA’s application of remote sensing technology in archaeological investigations.

Department of the Navy–Underwater Archaeology Branch 
This very interesting site is dedicated to the archaeology and preservation of US. Navy ships and airplane wrecks. The site contains information on policy, conservation, text resources, and examples of some historic navy wrecks.


Passport in Time (PIT)

Passport in Time is an archaeological volunteer program sponsored by the USDA Forest Service. PIT provides excellent opportunities for those who would like to participate in “real” archaeological excavation.


Print Material

Many archaeological sources are accessible only in paper. One way to find these is to use the Catalog of U.S. Government Publications. Coverage begins in 1976.

Library of Congress Collections Overviews – Social Sciences- ANTHROPOLOGY, ARCHAEOLOGY and ETHNOLOGY

This site provides a brief statement discussing the scope, size, strengths and weaknesses of the archaeological holdings of the Library of Congress.


In the Dewey Decimal Classification system archaeology can be found in the 930s.


In the Library of Congress Classification system anthropology can be can be found in the GNs, and prehistoric archaeology can be found specifically in GN700-890.


Archaeology Sites

Archaeology at Andersonville

During the American Civil War, the Andersonville prisoner of war camp held thousands of Union prisoners. Largely due to the poor conditions of the camp, almost 13,000 prisoners died there during the 15 months the prison was open. This site, provided by the NPS Southeast Archeological Center, documents the historical and archaeological record of the camp.


The Five Points Site

This site describes the historical and archaeological investigations of the “Five Points” slum in New York City. This site provides a good example of historical and urban archaeology. The web site does an excellent job at showing the importance of historical archaeology in the interpretation of the past.