The responsibility for a public archeology program to preserve and interpret the vast archeological landscape of Texas — covering 266,807 square miles and 254 counties — falls largely to the Texas Historical Commission (THC). The staff is dedicated and capable, but with a small staff of archeologists, they need help in tackling this huge job. That's why in 1984 the Texas Archeological Stewardship Network (TASN) was formed.
One of the most innovative and successful programs of its kind, the TASN has served as the model for similar programs in other states. Stewards are not professional archeologists, yet highly trained and motivated avocational archeologists who strictly work on a volunteer basis.
What exactly do stewards do? Quite a lot. They find, record and monitor archeological sites. They help obtain protective designations for important sites and record private artifact collections. Some stewards give talks to schools and preservation groups and help organize events during Texas Archeology Month. Others assist THC archeologists on digs and surveys or carry out emergency, or "salvage," excavations when an archeological resource is threatened with imminent destruction.
A steward might get involved in many activities or concentrate on one or two areas. In fact, some of the newest members, the marine stewards, specialize in investigating and protecting historic shipwrecks in Texas waters.
The Stewards Handbook provides details about the TASN's purpose, activities, procedures and rules.
For more information, contact the Archeology Division, call 512/463-6096 or write to Archeology Division, Texas Historical Commission, P.O.. Box 12276, Austin, TX 78711-2276
Archeological sites recorded by avocational archeologists between 2006 and 2018