Washington, D.C. has many prehistoric and historical archaeological sites.
The DC City Archaeologist is Dr. Ruth Trocolli. She participates in Section 106 consultations and conducts reviews of projects that have the potential to harm known and potential archaeological sites.The City Archaeologist reviews projects, maintains the records of the sites and their locations, and a library of reports of the digs.
All the information on sites, projects, collections, and reports is managed using electronic databases and a Geographic Information System, or GIS. A GIS is a program that combines mapping with data tables, and is a powerful tool for keeping track of large amounts of information. The GIS is used to help identify locations where buried sites might be present and to make sure new projects don’t harm known sites.
Many of the artifacts from the digs on District government property are managed by the City Archaeologist and are stored in several locations. Federal agencies may curate their own collections.When archaeologists say “Save the Past for the Future!” they mean don’t destroy or dig sites unless there is real need to do so, carefully record sites so that the information contained in them is not lost, and curate the collections and information so that they are preserved for future use.
If you think you know of a site that may not be recorded please contact the City Archaeologist, Ruth Trocolli at 202-442-8836, or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Archaeology is an integral part of Historic Preservation because sites preserve evidence of the past.