Archaeology is the scientific study of people who lived in the past through the excavation and interpretation of objects they leave behind. Archaeology is one of the few ways we can learn about people who left no written records. In North America, 95 percent of human history happened before there was writing on this continent. An archaeological site is any place where physical remnants of past human activities exist. Archaeologists excavate sites to unearth artifacts, soil features, and ecofacts that can answer questions about when, who, where, how, and why people lived and worked at a particular place and time. Fort Bragg manages approximately 450 archaeological sites that contain important information about the past. These sites reflect nearly 10,000 years of human occupation in the Sandhills.
Today in the United States most archaeological work is done to comply with the National Historic Preservation Act passed by the United States Congress in 1966. The act requires federal agencies to consider whether their work will affect important archaeological or historical resources. Federal agencies also must create cultural resources management programs to identify, evaluate, and preserve resources on federal lands.