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Roads to the Past Preserving Signs of the PastWhere Are They NowAbout the ExhibitionEducational ResourcesHome From Salvage to Science

With Native Participation
Present Native American tribes in the Southwest are descended from the ancient cultures of the region, and yet many of their ancestral lands and sacred sites are not under their control. As archaeologists began to study the past of Native Americans, many Pueblo and Navajo men worked on excavations. These workers contri-buted a wealth of cultural information that was unexpected by archaeologists. Today, tribal people are still sought as participants and consultants in archaeological excavations, and many tribes such as the Navajo Nation, Mescalero Apache Tribe, and Zuni Pueblo have established their own historic preservation programs to administer highway archaeology projects on their lands.

And Government Support
Beginning in 1906, historic preservation laws have been enacted to protect and preserve our nation's fragile record of the past. During the Great Depression of the 1930s, many Americans were introduced to archaeology through jobs on digs sponsored by the Works Progress Administration. In New Mexico, the WPA supported excavation and stabilization projects at the ancestral villages of Kuaua, Quarai, and Abo.

Archaeological investigations are now often required for ground-disturbing projects involving federal licenses and funds on federal, tribal, state, and municipal lands. When properly preserved and studied, these resources can provide important knowledge about past human lifeways and deserve our respect and protection.

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Native American excavators working on the excavation of Pueblo Bonito, Chaco Canyon, ca. 1896-1899.

Navajo tribal members Leonard Yazzie and Alphonso Benally worked for the La Plata Project for several years. In this photo, they are excavating a thirteenth century structure.