Methods and Aims in American ArchæOlogy


    ALTHOUGH archæologists in the United States welcomed the financial assistance afforded field research and excavation by the measures taken by the Federal and State Government authorities for the relief of unemployment, their satisfaction was tempered by some misgiving. It is true that it now became possible to open up sites long marked as desirable for investigation, but of which the examination had to be postponed while the funds available were devoted to purposes of more insistent urgency in their bearing upon major archaeological problems. At the same time, it was recalled to how great an extent the antiquities of the remarkable and unique indigenous civilization of the Americas had suffered from amateur and untrained trophy hunting. Further, public works were being inaugurated or accelerated which would add to the destruction on a vastly extended scale. The construction of a great dam in the Tennessee Valley during the War of 1914–18, for example, had inundated twenty-three square miles of country, and to this the projected scheme of the Tennessee Valley Authority would add a further 100 square miles, both tracts-taken from a territory thickly studded with relics of Indian occupation, of which so considerable a proportion would now be lost for ever to archaeological study. It was evident that there was an urgent call both for trained and skilled supervisors of excavations and public works, and for a scheme of conservation to preserve as much as was possible of the evidence of antiquity for study by posterity.

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    Methods and Aims in American ArchæOlogy. Nature 145, 437–439 (1940).

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