Skip to main content

What is The Archaeological Conservancy?

The Archaeological Conservancy is the only national, nonprofit organization that identifies, acquires, and preserves the most significant archaeological sites in the United States. Since its beginning in 1980, the Conservancy has now preserved 585 sites across the nation, ranging in age from the earliest habitation sites in North America to a 19th-century frontier army post.

We are building a national system of archaeological preserves to ensure the survival of our irreplaceable cultural heritage.

Where We Work

The Archaeological Conservancy maintains almost 600 preserves in five designated regions across the USA

Preservation Work

Continuing management and maintenance of each of our sites, preserving the past for the future.

Board of Directors

Meet the dedicated individuals guiding our mission, each contributing their expertise to shape the vision and direction.

Preserving The Past

Why save archaeological sites?

The degradation and destruction of ancestral Native American villages, whether at the hands of looters or in the name of commercial development like shopping centers, diminish our collective heritage as Americans. The invaluable connections we share with these storied places are also destroyed forever.

In recent decades, the field of archaeology has witnessed remarkable advancements in knowledge and methodologies. Modern researchers leverage cutting-edge technologies like tree-ring dating, radiocarbon dating, archaeomagnetic dating, obsidian hydration dating, pollen analysis, and trace-element analysis to extract valuable insights from the archaeological record. Many of these technologies were nonexistent half a century ago. For this reason, it’s important that we keep a significant portion of raw data in the ground, where future archaeologists with even more advanced knowledge and technologies will have access to it.

What does The Conservancy own?

Since its beginning in 1980, the Conservancy has now acquired almost 600 endangered sites in 45 states across America. These preserves range in size from a few acres to more than 1,000 acres. They include the earliest habitation sites in North America, a 19th-century frontier army post, and nearly every major cultural period in between.

Examples of Conservancy preserves include California’s Borax Lake site, which encompasses 11,000 years of human occupation; the first mission of Father Kino, as well as several important Sinagua and Hohokam ruins in Arizona; important Caddo Indian sites in Texas and Oklahoma; and in Georgia, key cultural locales of the region’s first Indians.

And the list goes on: several ancient Indian villages in Florida; Mississippian sites in Arkansas and Missouri, at least two of which Hernando de Soto visited in 1541; villages of the eastern lakeshore peoples in Michigan; ancestral sites of New Mexico’s Pueblo people; in Colorado, Yellowjacket and Mud Springs Pueblos–the two largest ruins of the Mesa Verde culture; and in the Northeast, two Paleo-Indian sites and a Seneca Iroquois village.

Some Conservancy sites have been incorporated into public parks such as Petrified Forest National Park in Arizona, Chaco Culture National Historical Park in New Mexico, Parkin Archeological State Park in Arkansas, and Hopewell Culture National Historical Park in Ohio.

Pueblo San Marcos
Preserved since 1981
Borax Lake Preserve
Preserved since 1989
Windover Preserve
Preserved since 2013
Arbuckle's Fort
Preserved since 2020
Twin Mounds
Preserved since 2020
Sugarloaf Pueblo
Preserved since 1991
Leonard Rockshelter
Preserved since 2002
The Sharrow Preserve
Preserved since 1999
Haynie Preserve
Preserved since 2019
Prospect Hill Preserve
Preserved since 2011
Smith Family Preserve
Preserved since 2013
Stallings Island
Preserved since 1997
Synagogue Site
Preserved since 2021

Virtual Tours of Selected Preserves