Department

Anthropology

First Advisor

Dr. Danny Walker

Description

Nearly 50% of Wyoming is managed in the public interest by Federal agencies. This, coupled with the substantial amount of energy development conducted in the state, has led to the predominance of so-called Public Archaeology in Wyoming over pure academic research. There is more contract archaeology conducted to comply with provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) on Wyoming’s Federal land than in any other state. I examined archaeological field methods over a 132 year time span, and investigated what impact the NHPA has had on archaeological field and research methods in Wyoming. We have come a long way from early studies where researchers in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s were working blind because of a lack of general knowledge and often no specific methodology to where we are today: still working blind with a lack of knowledge about the sites and cultures we are investigating, why we are investigating them and often what methodology should be used.

Comments

Oral Presentation, McNair Scholars

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The Impact of the National Historic Preservation Act on Archaeological Field Methods in Wyoming

Nearly 50% of Wyoming is managed in the public interest by Federal agencies. This, coupled with the substantial amount of energy development conducted in the state, has led to the predominance of so-called Public Archaeology in Wyoming over pure academic research. There is more contract archaeology conducted to comply with provisions of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) on Wyoming’s Federal land than in any other state. I examined archaeological field methods over a 132 year time span, and investigated what impact the NHPA has had on archaeological field and research methods in Wyoming. We have come a long way from early studies where researchers in the late 1890’s and early 1900’s were working blind because of a lack of general knowledge and often no specific methodology to where we are today: still working blind with a lack of knowledge about the sites and cultures we are investigating, why we are investigating them and often what methodology should be used.