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The Contributions of Regulatory Archaeology to the Understanding and Management of Vermont's Nonrenewable Past

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09/09/2003

The realm of "regulatory" archaeology, or archaeology that is required by state or federal laws designed to protect and preserve cultural resources. Broadly speaking, regulatory or "contract" archaeology has made immense contributions to our understanding of North America's past. Here in Vermont, the contributions of regulatory archaeology have been especially significant in terms of our understanding of Vermont's Native American and early European heritage. Through regulatory archaeology, hundreds of previously unknown sites have been identified, ranging in size from small camps to larger village sites and spanning the full length of human history in Vermont from 11,000 years ago to the present. As a result of contract archaeology, many of the sites that have been discovered have been evaluated against state and national significance criteria. Of these, the most significant have been declared eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and either preserved in place or partially salvaged before construction. This talk will focus on the exciting results of large scale archaeological excavations conducted at precontact Native American sites by the UVM Consulting Archaeology Program in advance of local highway and development projects. Special emphasis will be placed on the importance of cultural resource management laws to the advancement of Vermont archaeology, the long-term value of data recovered from endangered sites, and the ongoing need for site preservation. John G. Crock is a research assistant professor of anthropology in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Vermont and the Director of the UVM Consulting Archaeology Program.

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