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New Frontiers in Preservation

The theme for Archaeology and Historic Preservation Week in 2004 was "New Frontiers in Preservation." As the theme implied, the focus for the year is on what is "new" in the preservation of our cultural heritage. Preservation is a dynamic and constantly changing endeavor as new ideas appear and we see our past in a different light. Buildings built after WWII and in the early years of the 1950s are now eligible for listing on the National and State Register of Historic Places. Determining which of these buildings is important is causing everyone to look at this time period from a new perspective.

Recent work at First American sites in southeastern Wisconsin have produced remarkably early dates. This work has placed Wisconsin archaeologists in the forefront of this fascinating research.

The second aspect of the theme, frontiers, covers a much wider territory of ideas and meanings. The theme for the 2004 Archaeology and Historic Preservation Week suggests unexplored areas of preservation. The Maritime Preservation and Archaeology program at the Society continues to bring to the surface new information and new ideas about the people who made their living and sometimes died on the State’s waterways.

For many of us frontiers are geographic places, or boundaries, the edge between two places or spaces. The three forts depicted on the 2004 Archaeology Week poster are clear examples of this type of frontier. The idea of frontier in this context also suggests the movement of people and the interaction of different people in a "new" environment. Frontiers are places where one can move from the known to the unknown, or from this world to another world. Frontiers are also temporal, as we think about our lives, we constantly cross and re-cross the frontiers from the present to the past and from the present to the future. Frontiers involve changes in technology such as the change from the atlatl dart to the bow and arrow, from horses to tractors, and from log house construction to frame buildings. Frontiers are places of adventure, excitement and sometimes danger. And, there is seldom just one “frontier,” but many different frontiers occupying the same space and occurring at the same time; each evolving and changing, and each influencing and being influenced by the other.

Join us as we explore new frontiers and enjoy the frontiers of your life.


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