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Cultural Resources

Cultural Resources are evidence of past human activity. These may include pioneer homes, buildings or old roads; structures with unique architecture; prehistoric village sites; historic or prehistoric artifacts or objects; rock inscription; human burial sites; earthworks, such as battlefield entrenchments, prehistoric canals, or mounds. These nonrenewable resources often yield unique information about past societies and environments, and provide answers for modern day social and conservation problems. Although many have been discovered and protected, there are numerous forgotten, undiscovered, or unprotected cultural resources in rural America.

The Cultural Resources Training Series (Go to Agricultural Learning Service under USDA Employee Resources and log in)


Advisory Council on Historic Preservation
Link to the independent agency charged with overseeing the Federal preservation programs and providing access for private citizens to the review process.

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Directory of State Historic Preservation Officers

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Directory of Tribal Historic Preservation Officers 

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Protecting Historic Properties
A Citizen's Guide to Section 106 Review-link to grass-roots guidance for private property owners interested in understanding federal historic preservation

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Links to the Past
Link to technical guidance documents for treatment of historic and cultural properties, developed by the National Park Service's Technical Preservation Services, the current list of National Register of Historic Places properties and guidances on care and treatment.

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The National Trust for Historic Preservation
Link to the nation's largest private, locally-based historic preservation non-profit organization and dozens of technical guidances and briefs on care and maintenance of historic properties.

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Society for American Archaeology

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Society for Historical Archaeology

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Indigenous Stewardship Methods


Culturally Significant Plants


Plant Guides of Culturally Significant Plants


The Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) Online Database

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The following documents require Adobe Acrobat Reader.

Indigenous Stewardship Methods and NRCS Conservation Practices Guidebook (PDF; 1 MB)

NRCS' Nationwide Programmatic Agreement with the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation and the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (PDF; 439 KB) NRCS' umbrella document for streamlining procedures to protect historic properties.

25 Simple Things You Can Do to Promote the Public Benefits of Archaeology (PDF; 18 KB)

Compilation of State and Tribal Laws and Regulations
State laws often require treatment of burial sites and associated resources, and most carry penalties for failure to comply.

In response to increasing concerns over the looting of cultural resources, including sites containing human remains and funerary objects, many states and tribes have enacted legislation and codes to project burial sites. These laws and codes often require special treatment of burial sites and objects and may have penalties for failure to comply. This project (the map) is a compilation of exiting state and tribal cultural resources laws and codes and we encourage you to review and comment, and suggest additional information and web links.

Click on any state in the map to view available information on its State and Tribal Laws and Regulations. The information contained on this web site is to provide you with basic information and is not a substitute for legal counsel.

The following National Statement of Work Templates require Microsoft Word:

Cultural Resources Evaluations (DOC; 35 KB)
Cultural Resources Archival Research (DOC; 36 KB)
Cultural Resources Identification Surveys (DOC; 50 KB)