Happy Archaeology Day!
Miriam-Webster definition of Archaeology:
“1. the scientific study of material remains (as fossil relics, artifacts, and monuments) of past human life and activities; 2. remains of the culture of a people”
The National Parks of the Pacific Islands contain an amazing variety of important archaeological sites. These sites include ancient temples, settlement sites, World War II battlefields, burials, and many other cultural and historical resources. Visiting archaeological sites can be enjoyable and at times awe-inspiring occasions. Today being Archaeology Day, we thought we’d share with you a few important tips for your next visit to a national park archaeological site.
House Rules for Visiting Archaeological Sites in National Parks (from the National Park Service Archeology Program)
- Visit only if you are invited. Inquire at the Visitor Center about which sites are open to public viewing.
- Don’t touch the paintings. Oils from your skin damage pictographs (rock paintings) and petroglyphs (rock carvings). Never deface rock art by scratching or rubbing the rock surface. It ruins irreplaceable masterpieces, and is illegal.
- Don’t eat in the living room. Avoid picnicking in archeological sites, since crumbs attract rodents who may nest within the site. Make sure that you pick up and carry out all of your trash and garbage.
- Don’t take the knickknacks. Leave all artifacts, including small fragments of pottery and stone chips, right where you find them for others to enjoy. Out of context, artifacts cannot help us to understand the past. It is illegal to remove them.
- No slumber parties. Avoid camping in or near archeological sites. Smoke from campfires stains walls and cliffs, and charcoal leaves a mess. Never use wood from archeological sites in campfires.
- Don’t pee in the parlor…or any other room. Human waste left at archeological sites is unsightly and unsanitary.
- Keep your feet off the furniture. Cultural sites, even those designated as “open” to visitors, are very fragile. Walk carefully and stay on established trails. Avoid leaning or sitting on walls and never climb on rock art panels.