Assessing Site Significance: A Guide for Archaeologists and Historians / Edition 2

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Assessing Site Significance is an invaluable resource for archaeologists and others who need guidance in determining whether sites are eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Because the register's eligibility criteria were largely developed for standing sites, it is difficult to know in any particular case whether a site known primarily through archaeological work has sufficient "historical significance" to be listed. Hardesty and Little address these challenges, describing how to file for NRHP eligibility and how to determine the historical significance of archaeological properties. This second edition brings everything up to date, and includes new material on 17th- and 18th-century sites, traditional cultural properties, shipwrecks, Japanese internment camps, and military properties.

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Editorial Reviews

Julia King
One of the most important decisions a cultural resource manager can make involves assessing site significance—a decision that often determines, at least in the US federal preservation system, if a site merits further consideration as a historic property. In the second edition of this important book, veteran preservationists Don Hardesty and Barbara Little offer an updated primer on the complex process of determining significance, especially for sites occupied in the relatively recent past. The authors discuss the role and history of significance in the preservation process, and present compelling case studies. A must-read for the 21st-century preservationist!
Provides practical guidance for archaeologists and others on how to examine sites for their historical significance, both for academic reasons and for proposals to the National Register of Historical Places. Describes the process of filing for eligibility, and discusses issues of site integrity, archaeological evidence, and traditional cultural properties. Examples are provided of sites including historic trails, factories, military camps, and trash heaps. Hardesty teaches anthropology at the University of Nevada-Reno. Little works in the Archaeology and Ethnography Program of the National Park Service. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
Florida Historical Quarterly
This book would be useful for archaeologists, historians, and cultural resource managers. It is an excellent reference tool for anyone interested in nominating historic archaeological sites to the National Register of Historic Places and could be used as a textbook in a cultural resource management class, providing a framework for evaluating historic archaeological sites and identifying a broad range of research questions that can be addressed at historic archaeological sites.
— David Pollack, (Kentucky Archaeolgical Survey
A very useful book about an important practical aspect of cultural resources management (CRM)....A valuable addition to the CRM literature.
— D. B. Landon, (University of Massachusetts, Boston)
Illinois Archaeology
Hardesty and Little recognize the unique issues that archaeologists face in dealing with historical resources and orient their volume to presenting solutions to these problems....This is a valuable volume for both CRM professionals and historical archaeologists.
— Thomas E. Emerson, Illinois Transportation Archaeology Research Program, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Nebraska History
Hardesty and Little are well-qualified to lead these discussions and have done a superb job of keeping the text interesting and informative....It is a good resource and one that should not be overlooked.
— Stacy Stupka-Burda, Nebraska State Historical Society
The Public Historian
Assessing Site Significance provides practical guidance for those attempting to evaluate the significance of historical archaeological sites....The authors, who bring decades of practices experience to their task, concentrate on ... evaluating 'recent' sites, with an emphasis on those dating from the industrial age....The discussion of historic context is particularly important, and warrants reading by historians and other professionals engaged in cultural resources management....The authors do an admirable job of meeting the needs of historical archaeologists and clearly and explicitly advocate for an interdisciplinary approach....Reading this book will provide nonarchaeologists with a better understanding of how archaeologists view cultural resources and how they approach questions of significance, integrity, and redundancy.
— Patrick O'Bannon
Canadian Journal Of Archaeology
Developing a larger understanding of the significance of historical resources in their cultural and political contexts, and broadening the scope of archaeological involvement, are becoming increasingly important tasks for field archaeologists and these examples provide some excellent opportunities for teaching and learning.
— Dale Walde, University of Calgary, Department of Archaeology
Journal Of The Society For Industrial Archaeology
Their [Hardesty and Little] combined effort in Assessing Site Significance provides solid support to new practitioners and reinforces the work of experienced heritage management professionals in effectively applying National Register guidelines for assessing the significance of historic archaeological sites. . . .The authors' perception that assessment practice continues to evolve is a welcome contribution to the work and, assuming the current legislative mandates coninue, secures the book's role as an essential voume for heritage management students and professionals for years to come.
— Michael Madson
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780759111271
  • Publisher: AltaMira Press
  • Publication date: 3/16/2009
  • Series: Heritage Resource Management Series
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 254
  • Sales rank: 766,213
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald L. Hardesty is a professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Nevada-Reno. Barbara J. Little is an archaeologist with the National Park Service in Washington, DC, and adjunct professor of anthropology at the University of Maryland, College Park.

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Table of Contents

Preface to the Second Edition

Part One: Approaches to Assessing Significance
Chapter 1. Introduction
Chapter 2. Determining National Register Eligibility
Chapter 3. Scientific and Scholarly Significance

Part Two: Case Studies
Chapter 4. Linear Sites
Chapter 5. Industrial Sites and Monuments
Chapter 6. Domestic Sites and Farmsteads
Chapter 7. Large-Scale Sites


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