Archaeology is the scientific study of human behavior by means of the careful recovery and analysis of physical evidence that relates to past human activities. The material remains, which make up archaeological evidence, include artifacts, cultural features, skeletal remains, and similar materials. Archaeological research can confirm, modify, or refine our understanding of the past as portrayed in historical literature and contribute to a fuller appreciation of our own culture.
New Jersey's archaeological heritage is represented in a variety of forms, including sites relating to the aboriginal, colonial, and more recent settlement of the State, and includes settlement by individuals from cultures world-wide. These sites represent thousands of years of human occupation. Since many, if not most, of these sites exist entirely without historical documentation, they contain the only evidence that we shall ever have about much of our cultural heritage. They are truly nonrenewable resources.
Regrettably, thousands of these sites have been lost through modern development, careless excavation, and acts of outright vandalism. These threats to our archaeological heritage continue to the present. The ASNJ is working to conserve and record our shared and rich cultural heritage.