The U.S. Site Locational Database Guide
Since the implementation of the American Antiquities Act and subsequent laws reinforcing the importance of cultural resource preservation in the United States, the collection and maintenance of site location databases has been required by federal law. However, this is a requirement that must be fulfilled by individual states, which means that data collected by researchers are curated in scattered databases. Moreover, each state has different techniques of preserving this data. Prior to the introduction of geographic information systems, these files were maintained on USGS 1:24,000 maps, and many still are. However, some states have introduced digital georeferenced databases with ArcInfo user interface systems that allow data to be accessed quickly and remotely. A few have introduced standardized site forms so that these files may be queried on a limited basis. New forms of spatial analysis may therefore be carried out on these datasets relatively quickly and easily, and on an unprecedented spatial and temporal scale. This report will be an assessment of the current status of the existing state databases, and an examination of the challenges and roadblocks still in place to using this data in archaeological research.