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Appendix 2 Number 93 Price 25 cents Reprint and Circular Series of the National Research Council Guide Leaflet for Amateur Archaeologists Issued under the Auspices of the Committee on State Archaeological Surveys Division of Anthropology and Psychology National Research Council National Research Council Washington, D.C. 1930 Guide Leaflet for Amateur Archaeologists In 1920 the National Research Council organized the Committee on State Archaeological Surveys to encourage systematic study of fast-vanishing Indian remains. In the 10 years of its existence, the committee has assisted in the formation of research organizations in various states, has sought to systematize and unify methods of investigation, and through publications , conferences, and visits by its chairman, has endeavored to keep all workers in the field informed of the progress of archaeological research throughout the United States. The activities of the committee have been purely advisory. It has not sought to control the actions of any group or state but has freely offered its help and advice in the advancement of scientific work. It now seeks to extend its services to amateur archaeologists and to all who are interested in the early history of our country. In presenting this booklet, the committee hopes to enlist the active cooperation of all intelligent laymen in the preservation of archaeological sites. It seeks to give information which will enable the local investigator to carryon work according to the most approved methods, so that he may assist in unraveling the story of human development on the American continent. It is evident to everyone that the great majority of our Indian remains have already been destroyed. This has been due in part to the fact that many pre-historic sites have been occupied by white settlers who have found it necessary to level Indian mounds and earthworks in order to utilize the land for farm purposes, for city development, or to make way for roads. However, the greatest destruction has been wrought by curio hunters who have dug into the mounds in search of relics, without realizing that they were destroying valuable historical material. To open an archaeological site without knowing how to preserve the record is equal to tearing pages out of a valuable book, a book which can never be rewritten. In each state there are some people who are interested only in securing specimens which they can sell for personal gain. They care nothing for history or science and are not disturbed by the fact that their ruthless methods destroy materials of great interest to their fellow citizens. This leaflet is not addressed to such. Their activities will cease only when public opinion is strong enough to make their work unprofitable. Today no scientific institution and no well-informed person will purchase archaeological material which is not accompanied by a full record. When intelligent local collectors take the same attitude, the work of these [4] commercial "pot hunters" will cease. An Indian relic without data is as worthless as an unidentified postage stamp or a bird's egg. The pages which follow seek to show how amateur archaeologists may assist in recovering the prehistory of our country and at the same time help to preserve the existing Indian sites for future generations. It is well known that some of our Indian tribes were nomadic. They were wanderers who made their camps near to favorable hunting grounds and who moved to new sites whenever whim or necessity dictated. Other Indian groups were dependent chiefly on agriculture, and these made permanent settlements which were occupied for long periods. But exhaustion of soil, hostile raids, epidemics, and other causes led to their abandonment and the establishment of new camps. Thus it sometimes happened that a single campsite was occupied several times, and the record of these periods of occupation can now be read by careful excavation. In some places it is possible to carry back the record through successive stages of development from historic to ancient times. Examples of such stratification are rare and should be noted with the utmost care. Through them we can trace the movements of peoples, the growth of culture, and the effects of environment on man in America. But such a story can be obtained by neither the careless digger nor by those who are interested only in beautiful specimens. It can only be revealed by those who preserve every evidence of this early life. Every potsherd , every implement of bone or stone, no matter how crude or fragmentary , every animal bone or vegetable product...

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Additional Information

ISBN
9780817313531
Related ISBN
9780817310844
MARC Record
OCLC
772460338
Pages
386
Launched on MUSE
2012-01-01
Language
English
Open Access
No
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