Natural Resources and Management Cultural resources are the traces of all past activities and accomplishments of people that includes designated historic districts, archeological sites, buildings, structures, and objects. These also include less tangible forms like aspects of folk life, traditional or religious practices, and landscapes. These nonrenewable resources often yield unique information about past societies and environments, and can provide answers for modern day social and conservation problems. a ship wreck an arrowhead a canon an Indian campsite Indian rock art a tin can a Victorian house an historic mining town an irrigation canal a dam All of these can be cultural resources.
Cultural resources are the physical remains of a people’s way of life that archaeologists and historians study to try to interpret how people lived. Cultural resources are important because they help us to learn about our past. These tangible remains help us understand other cultures, appreciate architecture and engineering, and learn about past accomplishments. Furthermore, they offer educational and recreational opportunities and provide links to our past. People have lived in North America for at least 12, 000 years. Archaeologists and historians have divided this time span into prehistoric and historic periods.
The prehistoric period extends from the earliest arrival of humans in North America to the coming of the European explorers. The historic period begins with the arrival of these explorers and continues up to the present. As you walk across public land, something on the ground catches your eye. You pick up a piece of pottery or an arrowhead, wondering about the people who made this artifact. Who were they? When did they live? How did they live? If you return the artifact to where you found it, you have left in place a clue that could help us answer these questions. If you take the artifact home with you, or just move it to a different spot, you may have destroyed a clue to the past.
Religion as a Vital Part of Life Does religion really affect the way people live their daily lives? People believe that religion makes a better family and makes the world a better place to live. Many people follow religion so strongly that the future generations follow religion just as hard. Some people seem to change religion for their own recognition. There seem to be those people who go to ...
Each artifact is not merely something to be held and examined; it is also a bit of information which, when taken together with other bits, allows us to unravel the mysteries of the past. The past that belongs to all of us. It is part of our heritage as Americans and human beings. People who loot or vandalize archaeological or historic sites are stealing not only artifacts, but irreplaceable information; they are stealing our past. People who deface or loot historical sites, disturb Indian burials, or buy or sell grave goods can be fined or imprisoned under the Archaeological Resources Protection Act, Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act, and Department of the Interior regulations. You can help protect America’s precious cultural resources: Treat historic and archaeological sites with care and respect when you visit.
Take only with your eyes and heart; leave them intact for your children’s children. If you see someone vandalizing or looting a site, notify the regional archaeologist as soon as possible. Do not attempt to confront the vandal yourself. Join your local or state archaeological or historical society. You will learn more about the archaeology and history of your part of the country.
Many states have volunteer programs that allow people to be trained and work on archaeological excavations.