What are Cultural Resources?
The term cultural resources is broad, encompassing things such as landscapes, districts, sites, buildings, structures, or objects that are typically 50 years or older. What these things have in common, is they represent the remains of past human activity. By identifying and studying cultural resources, we can learn valuable information about past ways of life.
Once identified, cultural resources are evaluated for their National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). In order for a cultural resource to be considered eligible for inclusion in the NRHP, it must first be significant to American history, architecture, archeology, engineering, or culture. Second, it must possess integrity of location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling, and association. Finally, the cultural resource must hold significance under at least one the following criteria:
A. The property must be associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history.
B. The property must be associated with the lives of persons significant in our past.
C. The property must embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, represent the work of a master, possess high artistic values, or represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction.
D. The property must show, or may be likely to yield, information important to history or prehistory.
What Does the Cultural Resources Management Program Do?
The Cultural Resources Management Program ensures Fort Knox complies with both federal and State laws as well as Department of Defense (DoD) regulations concerning the identification and preservation of cultural resources. These laws and regulations include the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), Archeological Resources Preservation Act (ARPA), Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), and Army Regulation (AR) 200-1 - Environmental Protection and Enhancement.
The Cultural Resources Management Program works to identify and preserve cultural resources within Fort Knox. These resources are links to our shared history have the potential to reveal important information that may not be available from other sources. When the Army’s mission at Fort Knox is in conflict with preservation, the Cultural Resources Management Program seeks to minimize or mitigate identified conflicts. In these circumstances, the Cultural Resources Management Program strives for a balance between mission sustainment and the preservation of cultural resources.
Note: Fort Knox’s archeological sites (and the materials they contain) are protected resources. Intentional vandalism or looting of archaeological sites or the casual removal of artifacts is a felony punishable by fines, confiscation of property, and in some cases imprisonment. If artifacts (e.g., arrowheads, ceramics, bottle, etc.) are encountered, leave the materials in place and contact the Cultural Resources Office. Additionally, the use of metal detectors within Fort Knox is prohibited.