River Basin Surveys: The First Five Years of the Inter-Agency Archeological and Paleontological Salvage Program

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Work focuses on the first five years of the River Basin Survey project. Begins with the realization, in 1944, that "the development and expansion of a nation-wide program for flood control, irrigation, hydroelectric, and navigation projects by the Federal Government would eventually destroy many archeological sites in areas where virtually no investigations had been made." Explores the agencies related to the Surveys, including the U.S. Department of Interior and the National Park Service. Discusses work of the Surveys, including uncovering old remains, excavations in Angostura Basin, Oklahoma and Georgia, discoveries of rock shelters, fortified villages, small burial mounds, historic sites, village remains, and mound excavations.


  • Smithsonian Institution Bureau of American Ethnology
  • United States Dept. of the Interior
  • United States. National Park Service
  • River Basin Surveys


Smithsonian Institution History Bibliography


Includes photos and bibliography. Roberts was Associate Director of the BAE and Director of the River Basin Survey in 1951.

Contained within

Smithsonian Institution Annual Report for 1951 (Book)

Contact information

Institutional History Division, Smithsonian Institution Archives, 600 Maryland Avenue, S.W., Washington, D.C. 20024-2520, SIHistory@si.edu




  • Scientific expeditions
  • Archaeology
  • Antiquities
  • Excavations (Archaeology)
  • Anthropology
  • Field Work
  • Ethnology
  • National Collections


North America

Physical description

pp. 351-383

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