Editor’s note: This post continues a series commemorating the anniversary of the National Historic Preservation Act by examining a past article published in The Public Historian, describing its significance, and relating it to contemporary conversations in historic preservation.
Locations speak to multiple generations, cultures, and time periods. “Appreciating the complexity of the historic period,” according to Ted Karamanski in “Logging, History, and the National Forests: A Case Study of Cultural Resource Management” (The Public Historian, 1985), is at the forefront of cultural resource management (CRM), no matter when or where you practice (30). But knowing which sources can reveal the layers of multiple historic contexts can be challenging, both in the field and in the library.
The layering of generations was at the crux of the challenges that Karamanski outlined in 1985 and that I face in my own career today. Although I’m formally trained in historic preservation and architectural history, over the past six years at Historical Research Associates, my duties have morphed to include managing archaeological investigations. I’ve learned the “archy speak” fluently enough to navigate the appropriate laws, and I am on a first name basis with a few state archaeologists. The adventure, however, has also brought me to the same conclusion Karamanski arrived at in his article: “both archaeologists and historians are necessary, and their work must be integrated” (39). In many ways, not much seems to have changed in the regulatory environment, though the definition of “cultural resource” seems to be expanding every day. Continue reading