The society is specifically concerned with the identification, excavation, interpretation, and conservation of sites and materials on land and underwater. Geographically the society emphasizes the New World, but also includes European exploration and settlement in Africa, Asia, and Oceania.

With the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 and the United States’ approaching Bicentennial, the mid-twentieth century witnessed a renewed interest in colonial America and a growing scholarly interest in the archaeology of the modern world. These trends encouraged the development of a professional organization devoted to the study and practice of historical archaeology.



At the 1958 Annual Meeting of the American Anthropological Association in Washington, D.C., John L. Cotter chaired a symposium on the Role of Archaeology in Historical Research. Cotter, Edward B. Jelks, Edward Larrabee, and Stanley South subsequently discussed forming a society devoted to historical archaeology. The SHA was officially incorporated on April 1, 1968, in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and John Cotter was elected to serve as its first president.



The Society for Historical Archaeology shall be an educational not-for-profit organization to promote scholarly research and the dissemination of knowledge concerning historical archaeology; to exchange information in this field; to hold periodic conferences to discuss problems of mutual interest relating to the study of historical archaeology, and to obtain the cooperation of the concerned disciplines for projects of research.

According to en.wikipedia and