Skip to content

Happy Archaeology Day!

October 19, 2013
The John Young Homestead in Pu'ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is believed to be the oldest European structure in the Hawaiian Islands. It is one of many important archaeological sites located in the National Parks in the Pacific Islands. (NPS)

The John Young Homestead in Pu’ukohola Heiau National Historic Site is believed to be the oldest European structure in the Hawaiian Islands. It is one of many important archaeological sites located in the National Parks in the Pacific Islands. (NPS)

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.

    Visitors waling along the boardwalk at the Pu'uloa Petroglyph Field in Hawai'i Volcanoes National Park. (NPS Photo/Jay Robinson)

    Visitors walking along the boardwalk at the Pu’uloa Petroglyph Field in Hawai’i Volcanoes National Park. (NPS Photo/Jay Robinson)

  • 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.

    Grinding stone or foaga at Saua site in the National Park of American Samoa. (Photo by Epi Suafo’a-Taua’i/NPS).

    Archaeologist at a grinding stone or foaga at Saua site in the National Park of American Samoa. (Photo by Epi Suafo’a-Taua’i/NPS).

  • 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.

Thanks for being a courteous guest!

War in the Pacific National Historical Park, Guam: A defensive position installed by the Japanese in 1944 on the island of Guam. (NPS)

No comments yet

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

Gravatar
WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 232,880 other followers

Build a website with WordPress.com
%d bloggers like this: