Skip to main content

Cover Photo: Conservancy staff at their Santa Fe headquarters in 1993.


Albuquerque, New Mexico | The Archaeological Conservancy is pleased to announce 2020 is the 40th anniversary of their founding. The year-long celebration of this milestone will include virtual lectures and site tours, as well as a commemorative issue of the organization’s quarterly magazine, American Archaeology, which publishes this month and will feature organizational highlights and a look back on their first 40 years.

The Archaeological Conservancy is the only national nonprofit organization that identifies, acquires, and preserves the most significant archaeological sites in the United States. The creation of the Conservancy was a response to the increasing destruction of archaeological sites across the country and the vulnerability of sites on private land. Since their beginning in 1980, the Conservancy has preserved archaeological sites ranging in age from North America’s earliest habitation sites 16,000 years ago to 19th-century frontier army posts. The organization is building a national system of archaeological preserves to ensure the survival of this irreplaceable cultural heritage.

Over the past 40 years, hard work and careful planning have paid off. The Archaeological Conservancy has grown from a little-known start-up to having a network of five regional offices across the nation. Beginning with their headquarters in Albuquerque, NM, the organization has now established regional offices in Reno, NV; Madison, WI; Frederick, MD; and Marks, MS. In only four decades, their 20,000+ members have aided in preserving 550 sites throughout the U.S. They have become one of the leading educational sources for archaeology and preservation on social media and launched the successful American Archaeology magazine. The Conservancy moves into the future with a focus on innovation, community engagement, and site preservation that will offer future generations the opportunity to enjoy these unique and precious cultural resources for decades to come.

Mark Michel, The Archaeological Conservancy’s President, and one of its founders, states, “The remains of previous cultures is an essential part of our national heritage. Preserving them for future generations to study and enjoy is a mission all Americans will benefit from.”

The Archaeological Conservancy celebrates this important anniversary with a continued focus on preserving the nation’s most vulnerable cultural resources. These efforts are made possible through the donations of their members and supporters. To learn more about The Archaeological Conservancy and how to join, please visit