TITLE: The National Park Service Archeology and Ethnography Program

ACCESS: http://www.cr.nps.gov/aad/index.htm

The Archeology and Ethnography Program is an important component of our National Park Service. The anthropologists in this program provide guidance to decision-makers regarding the preservation of the diverse cultures and cultural heritage found within our parks. The program originates from federal and agency mandates and has two primary objectives. The first is to preserve and protect the 6-7 million archaeological sites located on public land both within and outside of National Park borders. The second is to identify and represent contemporary people with cultural or historical attachments to National Park land or who rely on it for subsistence.

The program's Web site is informative and speaks to several audiences: National Park Service administrators, anthropologists, students and the general public. It is clearly intended to educate and involve as many interested parties as possible. It offers online professional training through self-paced tutorials. These courses cover archaeological interpretation and technical site management, as well as ethnographic assessment. The training is geared to the National Park Service staff and management. But, it is equally instructive for amateurs and the general public.

The site has a special area dedicated to the public. There, visitors are encouraged to explore, learn and participate. Pathfinders point to anthropological sites and projects, museums, exhibits and other interesting links. Educational opportunities are presented and volunteerism is encouraged. Teachers will find curriculum-building materials and instructional tools. To further inform its broad audience, extensive bibliographies linking to the full-text of articles, laws, standards, reports and technical briefs related to the programs mission are scattered through the site.

As an entity providing government documents to the public, the program's site is necessarily straightforward. Visitors do not require any special plugins or media software. The information is largely text-based and presented in an ADA-friendly environment. The site's design is professional and the content satisfactorily organized. However, the sitemap does prove to be a handy tool since many pages have similar or ambiguous titles. The search function returns results for the entire National Park Service site, often leading the visitor away from the Archeology and Ethnography Program.

The anthropologists who work for and with the National Park Service are enthusiastic about protecting our interests and our cultural heritage; they seek to increase the public's awareness of their mission and the importance of cultural resource management in general. The site is enjoyable and informative. Recommended for all audiences.

Sheri Webber
Purchase College, SUNY

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