America's Cherished Reserves

Hilary Allester Soderland

in The Oxford Handbook of Public Archaeology

Published in print January 2012 | ISBN: 9780199237821
Published online September 2012 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Archaeology

America's Cherished Reserves

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  • Contemporary and Public Archaeology



This article examines the importance of the first consolidating legislation on National Parks in the development of America's national heritage. It considers the ‘public’ in its focus on the legal regulation of United States archaeology and asserts the enduring significance of the 1916 legislation that created the National Park Service. Utilizing a legal-historical approach, the article explores the societal ideals, values, and sentiments critical in the law-making process of the 1916 National Park Organic Act, and subsequently situates these mores within the legal historiography of American archaeology. In so doing, it addresses the importance of the 1916 Act in expanding the legal regulation inaugurated by the 1906 Antiquities Act, thus providing a foundation from which subsequent regulatory measures were to be constructed, and in safeguarding an untold number of archaeological sites through the extraction of vast areas from the public domain.

Keywords: National Parks; national heritage; legal regulation; United States archaeology; Organic Act

Article.  9232 words. 

Subjects: Archaeology ; Contemporary and Public Archaeology

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