YOU CAN HELP PRESERVE THE PAST
Archeological sites are everywhere. These places of past human activity may have survived for hundreds or thousands of years in the ground, but they are fragile and nonrenewable resources nonetheless. Any modern earthmoving activity can disturb or destroy them. Once the unwritten story that lies in the ground is destroyed—by plow, bulldozer, erosion, or pothunting—we can never know what it might have told us about the past. Such destruction is like tearing a chapter from a history book—when the site is lost, only part of the story can be known. Modern technology is destroying our past every day—highways, airports, deep plowing, strip mining, housing developments, clear cutting—all this disturbs the vulnerable history now preserved in the ground. If this history is not recorded before these land changes occur, we lose the past.
You Can Help
You can help protect sites and record information about the past. Knowledgeable individuals who can recognize the dangers threatening sites and who know where to go for help provide the best protection for archeological sites. We cannot save every prehistoric site or every historic building, but in order to make intelligent decisions about what should be saved, we must know about as many sites as possible.
Become a Member
There are many ways individuals can help Preserve the Past. One way is to become a member of the Arkansas Archeological Society. The Society has training programs, meetings, publications, and a lending library for its members to learn about the past. Through the Society’s Training Program, conducted in cooperation with the Arkansas Archeological Survey, members learn through practical experience to recognize and record information from archeological sites. Once you have this training, you can help record sites or volunteer as a Steward.
The Arkansas Archeological Survey and the Arkansas Historic Preservation Program provide Arkansas with an excellent statewide program for recording information about both historic and prehistoric sites. The professional staffs of these agencies can help you learn to recognize and record sites. If it should become necessary to disturb a site on your land, perhaps by plowing or through construction activities, you can contact one of the professional archeologists or historians so that a thorough record can be made before the site is disturbed. Or if you want to learn how to record a site yourself, click here.
Become a Steward
You can also become a Steward of the Past. Through the Stewardship Program, you can “adopt” an archaeological site and monitor it throughout the year to see that it remains safe and protected. To learn how to become a Steward, click here.
For more information on protecting the past, check out the Society for American Archaeology’s information on Archaeology & You: Preserving the Past for the Future.
Current Volunteer Opportunities
To add your name to the database for members willing to participate in a variety of volunteer activities as needed, click here for a form.