This past year has been a tremendous success with the help of generous donors like yourself. Because our amazing Conservancy members, we have preserved more than 23 sites from damage and destruction in 2016 – sites that otherwise might have been dug up by looters, razed for development, or simply damaged by neglect. Please GIVE so we can continue this important preservation work. 

Since 1980, we’ve permanently protected over 505 sites in 45 states. We’ve established long term relationships with archaeologists, tribal leaders, and landowners.

Even though we’ve achieved so much, there is still a lot of work to be done. Help support us begin 2017 with the resources to meet these challenges! Today, we face many more challenges than we did 36 years ago. Development continues to grow, demand for artifacts on the black market increases every year with the rise of internet sales, and environmental threats continue to endanger sites that aren’t properly stabilized.

That’s why today I’m asking you to give a special year-end contribution to our General Fund. Your tax-deductible year-end gift of $25, $50, $100 or more will help provide us with the resources to identify, negotiate and acquire sites throughout the country.

This year, the General Fund was instrumental in the preservation of many invaluable sites, including:

  • Steel Earthworks, located in south central Ohio, contains the highest concentration of small earthworks so far discovered in Ohio. This 73-acre site is the Conservancy’s sixth large Hopewell preserve in the area. From about 100 B.C. to A.D. 500, the Hopewell produced massive earthworks. Unfortunately, many sites in the region have been destroyed by modern farming and urban sprawl. Steel Earthworks is unusual in that one circular earthwork remains visible despite decades of plowing. It measures 300 feet in diameter with an interior ditch and earthen wall. In addition to the visible earthwork and one known from a 19th century map, a 2007 magnetometer survey revealed nine more earthworks with little in the way of surface traces.
  • The Conservancy preserved two Chaco sites in New Mexico this year, the Holmes Group and the 500th Site Pueblo. Holmes Group, our 501st site saved, is considered one of the largest and most complex of all the Chaco-period occupation sites. In 1984 archaeologists conducted a survey that identified and mapped 127 surface features at the site. Today, rubble mounds conceal a series of structures and features built from dressed sandstone and river cobbles that include two great houses, two great kivas, and two cobble masonry structures. Prehistoric roads leading to the settlement are clearly visible in LiDAR images of the site, and aerial photos show a 1,000-foot diameter artificial swale enclosing the community center.
The landowner (left) and Mr. Lawrence (center) look on as Hannah Mattson of the University of New Mexico analyzes ceramics found in a midden at the Conservancy’s 500th site. Photo Credit: Chaz Evans
The landowner (left) and Mr. Lawrence (center) look on as Hannah Mattson of the University of New Mexico
analyzes ceramics found in a midden at the Conservancy’s 500th site. Photo Credit: Chaz Evans
  • The 500th Site Pueblo, a 45-acre Chaco outlier occupied from A.D. 1050 to 1130, is located on a ranch near Grants. The site has a cluster of about a dozen or more dispersed masonry roomblocks, trash middens, and an abundance of ceramics including Puerco black-on-red and Gallup black-on-white. Despite more than a century of excavation and study at Chaco, archaeologists still differ over exactly what Chaco was. More questions than answers exist about the path that took Chaco from a vibrant cultural center to total abandonment. Research at both of these sites may shed some light on the mysteries of Chaco and the Chacoan phenomenon.
  • The Legend Rock site in Wyoming is an approximately 1,600-yard-long cliff that contains more than 330 prehistoric petroglyph panels and over 900 petroglyphs. Dating from 7,000 to 1,500 years old, the site was not only a spiritual place, but also a habitation site as evidenced by a bison processing area. There also appears to be red ochre processing pits. Red ochre was used in the caching of lithic material, burials, and pictograph production. Some of the images include complex human, animal and geometric forms as well as bows, arrows, eagles, and horses. The landowners generously offered to donate the site to the Conservancy. Accepting the donation is just the first step in ensuring Legend Rock is preserved. Using the General Fund, the Conservancy covers the closing costs, develops a management plan, and funds all the steps necessary to protect the site from vandalism, looters, and the environment.

Next year, we hope to save even more. Help Support the Archaeological Conservancy into 2017 !

In the Northeast, we continue our efforts to preserve sites of Native cultures. This region has a rich heritage of occupation, including the various tribes of the Iroquois, Algonquin, and Ritwan language groups.

In the Southeast, we’ve stepped up our efforts to save mound sites threatened by looters and modern agricultural practices.

In the Midwest, we’re aggressively pursuing sites built by the mysterious moundbuilders. Because urban sprawl is an increasing problem here, we spend a lot of time negotiating with developers.

In the Southwest, we continue our 36 years of acquiring important Anasazi, Hohokam, Caddo and other sites.

In the West, while most of the coast is already developed, we are hard at work on the many sites that remain in the interior regions.

It’s your generosity that keeps our cultural legacy alive. I know that the Conservancy is just one of many organizations asking for your help. That’s why I hope that as you consider your year-end giving, you’ll feel that the preservation of this great nation’s past is one effort that merits your support.

With my best regards and wishes for a happy and prosperous New Year,

Mark Michel, The Archaeological Conservancy President

Steel Earthworks Clipping


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