Why The Archaeological Conservancy Wants You To Help Protect America’s National Treasures

Help Protect Our Irreplaceable National Treasures! from The Archaeological Conservancy.

When an extraordinary Hohokam village site was lost to developers, America’s Archaeological Conservancy group decided that was the last straw – it’s time to take action to protect America’s national treasures. Dawn Kauffman explains how you can help.

Back in 2000, land with an extraordinary Hohokam village site on it became available for sale in Phoenix, Arizona. The land was expensive, and The Conservancy didn’t have the cash in our Preservation Fund. So we approached the landowner and explained our mission and the importance of protecting archaeological resources to make a deal. Unfortunately, the landowner’s financial situation made this impossible. We lost the chance to save this significant site.

Today, a warehouse stands on the site – the ancient village is lost forever. In response, The Archaeological Conservancy created an emergency fund, Protect Our Irreplaceable National Treasures (POINT) for immediate purchases.

We have protected 134 highly threatened sites throughout the United Sates through this emergency fund. The 135th site to be preserved with POINT-6 funds is the Dein Ruin. This significant early 12th century archaeological site sits on a rocky terrace overlooking the Chacoan Outpost that is Aztec Ruins National Monument. Dein with a Great House and two Great Kivas was part of an important ceremonial center in the larger Chaco Canyon cultural system.

Ceramic bowl dating to the Late Mississippian period (AD 1400-1650) found at Chickasawba. 📷 National Park Service USA

Among these newly protected sites is the second parcel of Chickasawba Mounds, Arkansas, which was continuously occupied from the Late Archaic (3000 – 1500 B.C.E.) through the Proto-historic periods. This Mound site, part of a chiefdom society, originally consisted of three mounds arranged around a plaza area.

The Tinaja Pueblo, another POINT-6 acquisition, is an ancestral Zuni site located near the foothills of the Zuni Mountains, New Mexico. This 13th century masonry pueblo has more than 130 rooms and an associated roomblock sitting on a small mesa above the valley floor. These protected sites will now be preserved for future generations.

Tinaja Puebloan ruins, a site recently protected in south centeral New Mexico and ancestral to the modern Zuni pueblo people. 📷 National Park Service USA

Just like in the UK, here superstores, fast food restaurants, and parking lots take up an ever-increasing amount of land and open space. Along with the natural resources that are consumed, such rapid, unchecked development also destroys our cultural resources.

Like the UK, a patch work of laws protect archaeological sites depending on the locale, but U.S. sites on private lands receive no special protections. Once an archaeological site is leveled for development, that part of our global heritage is erased forever. Looters sell artifacts to unscrupulous collectors; vandals damage sites; and modern agricultural and industrial practices destroy sites forever. Now, more than ever, many sites are in imminent danger of being destroyed or sold. The POINT-6 crowdfunding campaign makes cash immediately available to rescue sites that are in eminent danger from all of these pressures.

The Archaeological Conservancy was established in 1980, is the only American non-profit dedicated to acquiring and preserving the best of the U.S.’s remaining archaeological sites. The Conservancy has preserved over 515 sites across the U.S., working with local communities, coalitions, and Tribal Nations.

Please join us in protecting extraordinary pieces of our global cultural heritage. Donations will be matched dollar for dollar at www.give.archaeologicalconservancy.org. With these funds, the Conservancy will ensure that endangered archaeological sites are preserved for posterity, saving phenomenal pieces of history and prehistory.

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Written by Maiya Pina-Dacier

Head of Community at DigVentures, Maiya digs with a trowel in one hand, and a Twitter feed in the other. She reports on all our discoveries live from the trenches, and keeps our Site Hut full of the latest archaeology news. Got a story? Just drop her a line...

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