Digital Preservation is going to be the next big movement among those trying to preserve world wide heritage. Cyark is a non-profit that is at the for front of technology and preservation. Cyark is a preserve ration organization that takes a different approach then some of the older organizations such as UNESCO and the World Monuments Fund. Cyark is a tech based non-profit founded by Ben Kacyra in 2003. Kacyra's company Cyra developed laser scanning technology for 3D objects. Cyark is using this technology to help preserve heritages sites around the world.
You can watch Kaycra discuss Cyark's mission and demonstrate the technology at the TedGlobal 2011 conference sponsored by TED Talks.
Cyark has the ability to conserve sites indefinitely which no other organization can do. Even sites that are well protected can ultimately be destroyed by nature or man. Cyark is creating an archive of human history and achievement for generations to come. You can donate to the cause here.
The iPad has revolutionized education. Cyark has released an iPad app that allows you to virtually visit Fort Laramie. The app itself is well done, and you can see the potential for other sites Cyark has surveyed.
We have added a new forum page to Watching Archaeology. This is an experiment to encourage more discussion and reader participation on the site. Please use it for any questions or topics regarding archaeology you would like to discuss.
It seems like everyone wants to chime in about the controversy of National Geographic and the Spike channel both airing TV shows about "artifact collectors" many archaeologist would call them looters. The outcry has been especially strong against National Geographic an organization with a long history of scientific research. I have the first two episodes of diggers on my DVR, but I have not had a chance to watch them. I am holding off judgement until I actually see what the episodes entail. A lot of people have rushed to judgement(probably rightfully so) but I will hold back my scathing critique until I have all the facts.
The Archaeological Conservancy is a United States based foundation whose mission is to preserve archaeological sites though out the country. The Conservancy differs from the other organizations that we have overviewed so far. They operate only in the United States, they also actively purchase archaeological sites of interest. These sites are bought from local land owners to preserve both European and Native American heritage.
The urgency of the situation in the United States is best summed up very well on the Archaeological Conservancy website
"Every day, prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the United States are lost forever--along with the precious information they contain. Modern-day looters use backhoes and bulldozers to recover artifacts for the international market. Urban development and agricultural methods such as land leveling and topsoil mining destroy ancient sites. The Conservancy protects these sites by acquiring the land on which they rest, preserving them for posterity."(http://www.americanarchaeology.com/aaabout.html)
The Conservancy also publishes a quarterly magazine called American Archaeology. It is the only popular magazine dedicated to American archaeology in publication. The articles are mainly focused on research currently going on Conservancy sites. This is a great opportunity to learn about ongoing excavations the general public is not privy to. There in lies my one major complaint with the Conservancy. The publishing of data and excavations on Conservancy sites. The Conservancy has a great platform for the dissemination of information to its members. Knowing first hand that ongoing research is happening on many of these sites there is little to no updates available on the Conservancy webpage.
The Archaeological Conservancy is helping to save American heritage that would be lost to development. I encourage you to check out their webpage and learn more.