The development, publication, and distribution of Archaeology & You has been a joint project by the Department of the Interior, the National Geographic Society, and the Society for American Archaeology. Each of these organizations has a special interest in the interpretation and preservation of America's archaeological heritage. As Secretary of the Interior, I am responsible for the care of archaeological remains on federal lands administered by bureaus within the Department of the Interior. I also have the job of providing leadership, guidance, and oversight for archaeological programs in federal agencies or sponsored by federal agencies throughout the government.
In addressing this second, broader national responsibility, we have developed a National Strategy for Federal Archaeology that identifies several areas in which federal and other public agencies should try to enhance their archaeological efforts. One of these important areas is the improvement of public education and outreach efforts. Archaeology & You, therefore, is designed to provide access to archaeological information and activities for the general public.
Many Americans are interested in the historic and prehistoric archaeology of this country and want to learn more about it. The increasing popularity of State Archaeology Week celebrations, archaeological open houses and tours, volunteer programs, and even the Indiana Jones films all demonstrate that archaeology is a topic of interest to millions of Americans.
We need more and better public education and opportunities for the public to participate in appropriate archaeological projects. Participation in public programs and events helps protect and preserve archaeological sites by ensuring, for example, the careful recording and detailed attention to context that is necessary in the scientific archaeological field and laboratory work and by educating volunteers who can help meet interpretive and management goals.
I hope that readers enjoy Archaeology & You and find it useful in learning more about the fascinating world of archaeology and America's archaeological resources.