Yat Kitischee – Preserving the Past

Florida has a rich and fascinating cultural heritage that is at least 12,000 years old. Unfortunately, it has been estimated that within 25 years Florida’s prehistoric archaeological sites will all be damaged or destroyed. Whether by construction, development, or vandalism the impact is the same – the loss of Florida’s unique archaeological record. When a site is damaged, large chunks of information are lost forever. Imagine viewing the Mona Lisa with pieces of the canvas missing or reading Moby Dick with every third page torn out. The information can never be replaced because the remarkable cultures that created these sites are gone and the people left no written records. This is why archaeological sites are referred to as “non-renewable resources.” They are the only evidence we have of these people ever having been here. We should all cherish Florida’s archaeological heritage and protect it for future generations as a source of knowledge and inspiration.

Why should we preserve archaeological sites?

Archaeologists acknowledge that their science is still young and growing. Methods used for excavation only twenty years ago are considered inadequate today. It is therefore reasonable to assume that today’s methods will be improved upon as technology advances. This is why archaeologists like to leave intact a portion of each site they work on for future archaeologists to excavate.

There is another reason to preserve sites. Archaeology is more than just an arcane science or a nostalgic look into the past. Its true worth lies in its ability to develop in us a respect for people and cultures different from our own. Preserving archaeological sites helps preserve a major source of evidence documenting the diversity of cultures that have existed since humans first walked the earth.