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Archaeological Legacy Institute (ALI) is an independent, nonprofit, tax-exempt (501[c]), research and education corporation registered in Oregon in 1999. Recognizing that the archaeological record is the legacy of all human beings and dedicated to bringing the benefits of archaeology to a wider constituency, ALI was founded to address a number of critical issues now facing archaeology and its potential beneficiaries:
- Damage to archaeological sites is taking place at an alarming rate, but support for preservation programs could be enhanced through the use of modern communications technology to increase public awareness that their archaeological legacy is seriously endangered.
- Despite many millions of public and private dollars spent annually, the poor availability of project reports (the "gray literature"), written mainly to satisfy minimum government requirements, inhibits both research progress and popular support for archaeology.
- Too little is written for an information-hungry public by professionals, who receive few incentives for such activity.
- Interested and normally honest lay people, far more numerous than professional archaeologists, often have extensive knowledge of archaeological sites and artifacts that they will not share with professionals for fear of being accused of misdeeds.
- Media news items, seldom prepared by archaeologists themselves (who are busy doing research, teaching, or meeting clients' needs), are frequently shallow, inaccurate, and incomplete.
- Indigenous peoples, whose past is often the subject of archaeological study, and despite decades of objection, still have too little voice in conduct of research, share too few of its benefits, and consequently often do not support studies that could improve knowledge and appreciation for their cultural heritage.
- School curricula that could employ archaeological knowledge to help inform future adults about their place in history and relations with other peoples typically offer only cursory coverage of archaeology, which is fun and informative about very important issues, but so far is seldom used as an educational tool.
- Archaeological research itself, particularly in the area of fieldwork, is still largely conducted in habitual and inefficient ways that would be greatly improved by the focused application of modern technologies that could significantly reduce research costs.