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Preserving Archaeological Sites with GAPP

The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) has estimated there to be over 195,000 cultural, historic, and archaeological sites in just nine of the most active shale formations located in the U.S. to date (see SAA report). The FracTracker Alliance has also mapped data from the National Registry of Historic Places (see below), which includes approximately 70,000 listed properties—fewer than the number of archaeological sites in the State of New Mexico alone. There is, therefore, much to be gained by all stakeholders in generating a model that will help companies manage risk effectively and protect these sites with consistent, thoughtful approaches.


Digitized items on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), and shale plays and basins, where unconventional drilling operations most often occur. Please note that not all of the items on the NRHP have been digitized. To access legend, layer descriptions, and other map controls, please click the expanding arrows icon in the top-right corner of the map.

Last year, a group of representatives from the energy industry and the historic preservation community founded the Gas and Preservation Partnership (GAPP), a collaboration between the energy industry and the historic preservation community to advance energy exploration while protecting historic and cultural sites. These innovators believe strongly that collaboration – rather than contention – is key to managing these resources while also encouraging efficient exploration and development of energy reserves. GAPP’s primary goal is to work together to develop model voluntary practices that will balance business and preservation interests.

GAPP is holding its first summit on March 21, 2014, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to kick off its unique effort to the larger community: “Bridging the GAPP: Honoring our History – Fueling our Future.” GAPP’s board members, who represent multiple aspects of the shale gas and cultural resources fields, welcome participation from all those interested in finding roads to solutions. Learn more

For other opportunities to get involved or general questions, check out GAPP’s website or Facebook page or send an email to GAPP’s counsel, Marion Werkheiser, at Cultural Heritage Partners.