Saving the Past from the Future: Archaeological Curation in the St. Louis District
ARMY ENGINEER DISTRICT ST LOUIS MO
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Millions of dollars of federal funds have been spent on the recovery of archaeological resources, but did not address curation and maintenance needs. A 1988 inspection revealed that the St. Louis Districts collections were deteriorating. The St. Louis District is responsible for the management of cultural resources on District property and for the archaeological and historical resources removed from those lands. As mandated by federal law, agencies are required to ensure that all recovered archaeological materials and the associated records are adequately curated. District collections are public property. They are the result of many years of archaeological research and the expenditure of millions of dollars of federal funds. A typical federally-sponsored mitigation program provides for the recovery of materials from archaeological sites, analysis of recovered items, publication and circulation of a final report, and placement of collections in storage facilities for preservation and future study. Most collections were stored by universities and museums. However, inadequate funding and failing facilities seriously impair the ability of these institutions to adequately care for these collections. Corrective measures taken will enable the St. Louis District to meet minimum federal requirements of adequate, long term curation of archaeological collections and implement an efficient archaeological curation program that will protect and preserve archaeological resources for future generations.
- Humanities and History