Why should sites be preserved?

An overview of the professional views on why archaeological sites should be protected and preserved:

Sites are finite (there are only so many of them) because the people who made them during their everyday activities only created a limited number, and man and nature constantly degrade what is left. All human societies change, and in changing, leave behind a record of that change.

Sites are fragile, in that any disturbance in the position of the artifacts or features or trash destroys the patterns that are their primary scientific value.

Sites are informative. They can tell the story of the past people who lived here. They can be used to reconstruct how human groups adapted to changing conditions, past life ways, past economies, past technologies, past trade, previous buildings and even political processes.

Archaeological sites give the past a “voice”. They show how people made choices in their interaction with the physical environment (the earth and its resources), the biotic environment (plants and animals), and the cultural environment (cooperating and non-cooperating with other human beings).

Without archaeology, almost 99% of human “history” would be unknown.

Adopted by permission from the Oregon State website, constructed by Dr. Leland Gilsen