A Practical Guide To Cultural

Resource Compliance


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·         Introduction

·         The Section 106 Process

o        Phase I - The Cultural Resources Survey

o        Phase II Assessment of Specific Sites

o        Phase III - Mitigation of Adverse Effect

·         The Parts of a Project

o        The Proposal

o        Background Research

o        Field Work

o        Laboratory Analysis

o        Report Preparation

o        Curation of Artifacts and Data

o        Acceptance by the Federal Agency

·         Some Suggestions to Ease the Process

o        Some Do's

o        And a Few Don'ts

·         A Glossary of Useful Terms


The nation's cultural resources are its historic buildings and structures, archaeological sites and traditional cultural properties. Over the past 25 to 30 years, certain sectors of the construction and engineering industries have come to grips with these laws. These firms now realize that it is less costly to address cultural resources early in a project and to get through the process correctly the first time.

Today, local governments and others who have not previously been required to comply with the federal regulations are being introduced to them. This pamphlet provides these newcomers with a practical overview of the federal compliance process as it is practiced in the southeast.

This pamphlet addresses the three main phases of cultural resource projects as generally practiced in the southeast and what to expect when confronted with a letter from a federal agency or the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO). The pamphlet also suggests ways to make the process easier and less costly for all concerned. A glossary at the back provides some help interpreting cultural resource jargon.

Not all federal agencies and states carry out their various mandates in the same way. Some states and localities have their own cultural resource regulations to supplement the federal laws. This pamphlet does not pretend to cover every situation and is not an infallible guide. However, we hope it provides you with some of the practical information you need to get the best results for the least cost. We encourage you to contact your SHPO, and the federal agency you are dealing with, and ask questions about the compliance process in your particular case.

New South Associates


The Section 106 Process

Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) is the reason for most of the cultural resource work being conducted in the United States today. The purpose of Section 106 is to insure that federal agencies consult with state and local groups before non-renewable cultural resources, such as archaeological sites and historic buildings, are impacted or destroyed.

The President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) is responsible for developing regulations to enforce Section 106 compliance. In its Citizens Guide to Section 106 Review the ACHP states:

Section 106 requires Federal agencies to consider the effects of their actions on historic properties and provide the ACHP an opportunity to comment on Federal projects prior to implementation.

Section 106 review encourages, but does not mandate, preservation. Sometimes there is no way for a needed project to proceed without harming historic properties. Section 106 review does, however, ensure that preservation values are factored into Federal agency planning and decisions. Because of Section 106, Federal agencies must assume responsibility for the consequences of their actions on historic properties and be publicly accountable for their decisions.

To successfully complete Section 106 review, Federal agencies must:

·         determine if Section 106 of NHPA applies to a given project and, if so, initiate the review;

·         gather information to decide which properties in the project area are listed in or eligible for the National Register of Historic Places;

·         determine how historic properties might be affected;

·         explore alternatives to avoid or reduce harm to historic properties; and

·         reach agreement with the SHPO/tribe (and the ACHP in some cases) on measures to deal with any adverse effects or obtain advisory comments from the ACHP, which are sent to the head of the agency.

How this is actually done in practical terms in the southeastern United States is the subject of this pamphlet.

Some of the agencies which issue permits or financially assist projects that often fall under Section 106 review in the southeast include: the Corps of Engineers; the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission; the Federal Aviation Administration; the Department of Housing and Urban Development; the Federal Highway Administration; the Natural Resource Conservation Service; the U.S. Forest Service; and even the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Usually, the primary federal agency becomes the lead agency with respect to cultural resources and Section 106 enforcement. This agency is responsible for making sure that your project does not adversely affect cultural resources until the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO), Tribal Historic Preservation Officer (THPO) and other interested parties have had a chance to comment. Each agency also may have its own rules and regulations for compliance with Section 106 and for public involvement.

Section 106 is intended to protect significant historic properties from federal or federally sponsored actions, and if that is not possible to mitigate the effects of the actions. Significant historic properties are historic properties that are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), have been determined to be eligible for such listing whether or not they have been evaluated, or perhaps even identified. The following paragraphs discuss the practicalities of how such properties are found and evaluated for significance, and how to mitigate the impacts of construction projects on such properties.

To the uninitiated, and even to the experienced, getting through the compliance process can be complex and frustrating. The following presents the major steps in the process. It will also show how the process brings together the five actors in the process: you, the federal agency, the SHPO/THPO, the public, and your consultant. Recent regulatory changes have emphasized the position of the public and Native Americans in the process. While the following generally holds true most of the time in most southeastern states, you may have a project that does not follow the norm. If you feel that you have special circumstances, consult with the lead federal agency or your SHPO and ask questions.

Initially, you are required to apply for a federal permit or have entered into a contract involving federal moneys or federal land. The lead agency then notifies the SHPO/THPO as part of the project review process. One of the first things that must be decided is the Area(s) of Potential Effects (APE) of your project.

For historic buildings and traditional cultural properties the range of possible impacts that help determine the APE might include visual and noise impacts outside the actual project limits, for example the visual impacts of a cell tower on a historic district or the noise of traffic from a new highway on the quiet setting of a traditional Native American ceremonial site, as well as physical destruction of buildings and traditional cultural properties by construction activities. For archaeological sites, impacts are usually confined to the physical limits of the subject property, and may include direct impacts from construction excavation and use to more indirect impacts from changes in soil compaction and erosion from nearby construction. The federal agency in consultation with the SHPO/THPO, you and the public, must determine the various APEs, the historic properties that they contain, and how to mitigate the impacts to them.

While the federal agency is only required to "make a good faith effort" to locate and consider historic properties, most agencies and states have, through custom and practice, developed a three-staged approach to achieving this good faith effort: identification of the resources present in the various APEs; evaluation of their significance; and mitigation of impacts to the significant resources.

The first phase is usually accomplished through background research and a field survey, the second phase is the assessment or evaluation of specific properties, and the third is mitigation of adverse impacts on significant properties, including traditional cultural properties (TCPs). These are normally called Phases I, II, and III in the southeast. These terms sometimes cause confusion, because in some regions a preliminary Reconn is called Phase I or Ia, and an intensive survey is called Ib or II, sometimes survey and testing are combined into a single phase and called Phase II. In nearly all cases, however, mitigation of adverse impact is called Phase III.

While the ACHP's regulations go into some detail on scoping projects as the first step to implementing Section 106, in practice, most projects do not have a long drawn out scoping process as this would add significant time and cost to projects. Only on larger, more complex projects, such as reservoirs, new highways, and gas pipelines is there usually a clear scoping phase. Since SHPOs and agencies are overwhelmed and under-budgeted as it is, the more they can standardize the common project types (road widenings, small developments affecting wetlands, cell towers, etc.) the easier and faster, and thus less expensive, it is for all concerned, while at the same time insuring that a "good faith effort" has been made to consider historic properties.


Phase I - The Cultural Resources Survey

The purpose of a survey is to gain an understanding of what is present within the project area and whether any of the archaeological sites, historic buildings and structures or traditional cultural properties (TCPs) may be significant resources. TCPs are a relatively new concept in the East, and there are no hard and fast rules about how they are dealt with. Most states require that archaeological resources be examined by an archaeologist and that buildings be examined by an architectural historian. A survey is designed to find all such properties that will be affected by a project, and failing that, all significant resources.

The survey usually consists of various parts that are sometimes accomplished separately, and thus at a higher cost to the client, or accomplished together as a single survey project. The first step in a survey is background research on what is already known and recorded about the historic properties in the project area. Such research normally includes: examination of the state archaeological site and historic structure files, which contain a list of previously recorded archaeological and historic sites in the state; general background research on the prehistory, history, and environment of the project area to provide a context within which to evaluate any newly discovered sites or buildings; and informal interviews with other archaeologists and historians who may have worked near the project area, and with local experts and inhabitants who may know the locations of TCPs and otherwise undocumented sites. In areas with a Native American presence, it is necessary to consult with them through the proper channels even if they do not have a THPO.

Once this is completed, a brief inspection of the project area may be made separately or incorporated into a more intensive field survey. This brief inspection, sometimes called a reconnaissance, is usually not sufficient to satisfy federal or SHPO/THPO requirements. These require that all significant sites and structures affected by a project be identified. However, a reconnaissance can be useful in certain cases. It may be advantageous to conduct a brief reconnaissance of all the alternative locations for a project to see which may have the least impact on cultural resources. This, when considered with other environmental variables such as wetlands and endangered species, provides a more objective basis for selecting the final alternative.

The intensive survey must be of sufficient intensity to locate all significant historic properties in the project area. Archaeological sites are located in several ways. A common method is surface survey, but this is only acceptable in areas where the ground surface (i.e., bare earth) is visible. The survey crew lines up at evenly spaced distances and walks transects, closely inspecting the ground surface for artifacts or topographic anomalies. In areas of heavy ground cover, such as is commonly found in the eastern United States, shovel tests are usually required to examine the soil beneath the ground cover. The number, depth and interval between shovel tests vary depending upon the situation, but in most states, shovel tests are usually dug at 15-30 meter (45-90 foot) intervals along transects spaced 15-30 meters apart. Occasionally, remote sensing techniques, such as ground penetrating radar and metal detectors, supplement the more common methods. In urban areas heavy equipment may be used during the survey phase to remove modern fill and debris.

As sites are located, the field crew records them on project maps, and enters appropriate information on site forms. The archaeologists may also collect artifacts at this time to determine the age and function of an archaeological site.

Normally, it is not possible, nor is it the intent of a survey, to completely define the horizontal extent, the depth, the period of occupation, the state of preservation, and therefore the significance of a site during an intensive archaeological survey. In such cases, assessment or testing of specific sites found during the survey may be recommended to provide sufficient information for the regulatory agencies to determine their significance.

A survey of historic structures will normally involve consultation with historic maps of an area. Information from the maps will be compared to the existing buildings in the project area to help determine which are of the proper age to be considered historic. All buildings older than 50 years will receive some form of documentation in most states. In most southeastern states this means completing a state historic building form and 35 mm photographs of the building and its setting. In others, a visit to each building may be video taped for presentation to the review agencies. Normally, a survey does not involve visiting the interior of houses, sketching floor plans, drawing sketch maps, writing detailed architectural descriptions, or researching chains of title and other detailed historic documents. It is impossible to realistically budget for such detailed work until a survey has determined the number of buildings requiring such comprehensive work.

Unlike archaeological survey, it is expected that a historic building survey will result in eligibility statements for all historic buildings found, along with recommendations for mitigation of impacts. To assess historic structures the architectural historian must collect detailed information about the property, its ownership and its history; photograph it; describe the structure, any additions and outbuildings; provide a floor plan, map the structures and surrounding landscape; and discuss the site's significance.

At the conclusion of the survey you should receive a report with recommendations for any Phase II or Phase III work. You should submit this report to the lead agency for approval of the recommendations before doing any more work. It is possible that the lead agency, in consultation with the SHPO, will require more or less Phase II work than is recommended by your consultant.


Phase II - Assessment of Specific Properties

This phase usually requires a separate proposal and contract. Most historic buildings will have been assessed during the initial survey. For archaeological sites whose significance could not be determined during the identification phase, evaluative testing usually means digging more, and more closely spaced, shovel tests to define the length and width of the site. It will also usually include transit mapping of the site and excavating several square test excavations or units. The test units examine the soil stratigraphy, gather artifacts for dating and functional analysis, and determine the site's state of preservation. With these data, the significance of an archaeological site can be judged, and if the site is significant, data are readily available upon which to base a research design for mitigation.

Historic archaeological sites frequently require additional historical research. A qualified historian should conduct this work, normally consisting of researching a chain-of-title on the property to discover who owned and occupied the site, and when. The researcher will also determine what records would be available if data recovery were to be conducted. On urban sites it is critical that extensive historic map research be conducted to determine how the area developed. The presence of a good chain-of-title, census, probate, and tax records will aid greatly in understanding the site's significance.

At the conclusion of testing, you should receive a report with conclusions on the eligibility of each site tested and recommendations for any further work. Avoidance of significant sites should be one of the recommendations. You should submit this report to the lead agency, in consultation with the SHPO, for approval of the recommendations before doing any more work.

If the lead agency determines that a site is EligibleNRHP for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), you will probably need to mitigate any adverse impacts to the site. It is possible that the lead agency will require more or less work than is recommended by your consultant. If the lead agency determines that Phase III work is required, you should obtain a memorandum of agreement (MOA) in consultation with the agency, the SHPO/THPO and the ACHP. The memorandum of agreement should spell out what is required of you during Phase III.

Phase III - Mitigation of Adverse Effect

" Mitigation of adverse effect " means to alleviate any destructive impacts your project may have on the historic property. This may take various forms. Some mitigation measures are relatively inexpensive and take little time, while others are not. If you can find a way to avoid the site and not affect it at all, this may be best. But you usually must also convince the lead agency and the SHPO/THPO that you will not affect the property in the future. This is, of course, the least expensive form of mitigation.

If you cannot avoid and protect the property, then you may be required to mitigate your impacts. Recently, there has been much discussion of the new buzzword, "creative mitigation", which might mean developing a video on the property or cultural resources for school children, donation of collections or preparation of a display to a local museum, preparing a traveling exhibit concerning the property. The ACHP regulations see the mitigative process as a consultive process that allows for and encourages great leeway in the actual details.

If the site consists of architecturally or historically significant standing structures, you may be able to have them properly recorded to the Historic American Building Survey or Historic American Engineering Record (HABS/HAER) standards (i.e., measured drawings, measured floor plans, and large format photographs) or some other standard before moving or demolishing them. For an archaeological site you may be asked to go to data recovery.

If archaeological data recovery is chosen for mitigation, this means digging large areas by hand or by a combination of hand- and machine-assisted excavation. If the site is historic then the historic documents consulted during the testing phase will need to be obtained and analyzed by a qualified historian. The final report of the Phase III work is more extensive than the other phases since this report is the only record of the site once it has been destroyed by construction.

Consultants, agencies and even SHPOs sometimes propose another form of Phase III work. This is monitoring. Monitoring usually involves the presence of a single archaeologist during the earth moving portions of construction, who watches for significant cultural resources. Initially, this may seem to be an inexpensive alternative to avoidance or data recovery or some other form of archaeological data recovery. In reality, it rarely is. In the few states where monitoring is acceptable to the SHPO, the archaeologist has the duty to stop construction if a site that may be a significant resource is found. The lead agency then determines whether the resource is significant. If the resource is determined to be significant, data recovery may delay a project for months in the middle of construction. This is obviously more costly than simple avoidance or data recovery alone, since there are unknown construction delay costs involved.


The Parts of a Project

This discussion has so far concentrated on the field portion of the survey, testing or data recovery work. In the following, we will discuss the parts of projects, primarily archaeological projects that are the same for all three phases.

The Proposal

Whether you use a single consultant, or put a project out for bids, you should always ask for a written proposal. A proposal normally describes what the potential consultant understands to be the tasks involved and the general limits of the project. It should clearly state what the consultant will do and why. It should also contain a schedule showing project milestones. The main project milestones usually are: completion of fieldwork; completion of laboratory work; completion of the draft report; and completion of the final report. The proposal should indicate the qualifications of the responsible individuals assigned to the project. It should also describe the qualifications and facilities of the consultant, whether these are a garage or a formal office and laboratory.

Once you have chosen your consultant, you should include the proposal as a part of the signed contract. The contract should also clearly state how and when the agreed upon fee is to be paid. A single payment may be reasonable for projects of less than a month. For larger projects, it is customary to pay by milestones met or by work accomplished on a monthly basis.

Background Research

This research varies in intensity depending on the type of project conducted, as noted above. Failure to conduct such research may mean that work will be duplicated, or previously recorded information will not be considered early enough in the project. This may end up causing cost overruns; or even worse, the lead agency or the SHPO/THPO may not concur with the consultant's report.

Field Work

This is usually the easiest phase to budget and schedule, but it is relatively labor-intensive. As far as overall project scheduling, the fieldwork is usually about one third of the total of an archaeological project. Archaeologists do most of their work in the laboratory and in front of a computer.


To be able to write a final report, the consultant must analyze the artifacts, drawings, maps, photographs, and other data collected during the historic research and fieldwork. While more artifacts and data will be collected during a Phase III project than a Phase I or II, all the artifacts have to be washed, cataloged, labeled, analyzed and eventually curated. The analysis answers such questions as: where do the different types of artifacts come from within the site? how old are they? how did they function? and what does all of this tell us about who used and discarded the artifacts? This work is slow and painstaking, and indeed, often takes longer than the fieldwork.

Report Preparation

The archaeologist normally begins the project report toward the end of the analysis phase. This report is ultimately the product that you are purchasing from the consultant. A report usually consists of the following parts: a cover; a title page; an abstract; acknowledgments; a table of contents; an introduction; a discussion of the cultural and environmental setting of the project area; a discussion of the methods employed; a discussion of the results; a set of conclusions and recommendations; a list of references cited; appendices; and all pertinent photographs, maps, and drawings.

The introduction should include the reasons for conducting the work and the objective of the project, against which the remaining chapters can be placed in perspective. The project setting will include the data gathered during the background research and will frame the research criteria by which the significance of sites can be determined. The discussion of methods and results should clearly state what was done and how, so that the validity of the results can be judged. The report must discuss the results in sufficient detail so that the reader (i.e., the lead regulatory agency, the SHPO/THPO and the client) can independently come to the conclusions reached at the end of the report. This includes sufficient photographs, maps and drawings so that the reader has a complete understanding of what was accomplished. The report must present conclusions that clearly follow from the supporting data.

Of most importance to you are the recommendations. The background research, the project results, and the conclusions must fully support the recommendations. Recommendations will normally concern the significance of sites relative to the National Register eligibility criteria, and what further steps are necessary to comply with regulations. If a Phase II or III is recommended, it must be justified, and the steps to accomplish the recommended work should be stated clearly. You should be able to use such recommendations as the basis of a request for proposals for the additional work. You should also be able to understand the conclusions and the reasons for them. After all, this is not rocket science.

The appendices should include, in most cases, a complete inventory of the artifacts found by the project and where they were found. Many states also require that the proposal, resumes of key project personnel, and any state site forms be submitted either as appendices within the report or separately.

Draft and final versions of the final report are common on most large projects and on virtually all Phase II and III projects. On most large projects you must submit the draft to the lead federal agency and the SHPO/THPO for comments before producing the final version, which should incorporate or address these comments. Artifacts should not be curated and the project is not complete until the final report is accepted by you and the lead agency in consultation with the SHPO/THPO.

You may require a management summary at the end of the fieldwork, especially for testing and data recovery projects. This report is written after the fieldwork is completed and before the analysis is well underway. The purpose of this short report is to provide you with the preliminary conclusions about the project to aid you in planning for future work. It may also allow the lead agency to determine that the fieldwork was sufficient to grant clearance of a site before the final report is submitted. This does not waive the laboratory analysis and final report, however. Such clearance should allow construction to proceed. The possibility of obtaining clearance after the data recovery field phase and before a final report is completed also requires a close relationship with the SHPO/THPO during the project, along with adequate fieldwork. Even though the final decision belongs to the lead agency, most agencies usually accede to most SHPO/THPOs' requests.

Curation of Artifacts and Data

The last thing to do on a project is to permanently curate the artifacts and project notes and data. These must be curated in perpetuity, which is usually taken to mean that they be stored by a museum, university or state agency. The proposal should discuss the responsibility for curation and identify the curation facility and attendant costs.

Acceptance by the Federal Agency

Once you have been able to show that you have completed an adequate survey of archaeological and historical sites in your project area, assessed their significance, and mitigated any adverse impacts to them, the lead federal agency should officially notify you that you have satisfied the Section 106 process has been satisfactorily completed, and you may continue with your project.


Some Suggestions to Ease the Process

-Some Do's-

DO - Start Early in the Process. By taking cultural resources into account early in the process, it may be possible to avoid problems down the road. With planning, you may be able to creatively interface cultural resources with construction plans.

DO - Contact the SHPO/THPO Early and Often. Do not hesitate to talk to your State Historic Preservation Officer representative. This person is knowledgeable about the applicable laws and procedures in your state. The SHPO/THPO staffs are more than willing to work with you to understand the process, provide advice, and in some states, provide you with a list of consultants. They may even help you select the proposals that appear to minimally satisfy their requirements. However, they are not businessmen and usually have little experience with labor laws, overhead, and safety regulations.

DO - Consider the Possibility of Tax Savings. In some areas certain types of repairs to commercial structures listed on the National Register can be deducted from federal taxes. It may also be possible to donate the artifacts and project data to a non-profit organization for a tax deduction. See your tax attorney.

DO - Put Projects Out for Bid. If there is time for a formal bid procedure, do so. You will gain the best results and prices if you submit your work to competitive bidding. Let your consultants know that all three phases of the project may be competitive. Unfortunately, some consultants will offer unreasonably low estimates for Phase I, expecting to make up for their losses by charging higher fees for subsequent phases. Such consultants are more likely than a reputable firm to recommend marginally significant sites for more study in Phases II or III. If you are comfortable with your consultant's prior work and ability to meet lead agency and SHPO/THPO review, you should use a non-competitive process. But if you are new to cultural resources, it is definitely to your advantage to submit your work to competitive bids.

DO - Select a Reputable Firm. Most cultural resource consulting firms have staffs consisting of at least Principal Investigators, Archaeologists, Historians, Architectural Historians, Technicians or Research Assistants. Some firms are too small or inexperienced to bid or respond properly to the needs of their clients, or even to have their reports pass agency and SHPO/THPO review causing project delays. Other firms put their needs or the perceived needs of archaeology ahead of their client and are not willing to talk about ways to trim costs while doing an acceptable job. Consideration should be given to a firm that maintains good relations with the SHPO/THPO and regulatory agencies, and yet understands budgets, schedules, and working with you and your special circumstances. A minimum requirement you might consider when selecting an archaeological consultant might be the Register of Professional Archaeology (RPA) certification for the principals in the consulting firm. Some states now require such certification or its equivalent. You might also contact the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) for a list of members in the disciplines you need. ACRA members subscribe to a professional code of business ethics.

DO - Expect to Understand. You should require that you receive an understandable proposal and report of the project. Do not accept unintelligible jargon. The basic concepts and procedures of archaeology and history are not difficult to understand. If you do not understand your consultant or the SHPO/THPO, ask for a response in plain English. You need to know in a proposal what will be done, why, when, and for how much. You do not need a degree in archaeology or history to understand these things if they are clearly stated. Make sure you understand the goals of the project, how they will be achieved, and what could happen next.

DO - Provide As Much Information As Possible. The more information you supply to prospective bidders about the circumstances of the project and the project area (maps, notes, letters from the SHPO/THPO, other reports, etc.) the better. The consultant will be able to respond to your request for proposals in a cost-effective manner with such information. Keeping potential consultants in the dark is ultimately self-defeating. Encourage questions from consultants to maintain the best communications possible about your needs.

DO - Require Regular Contact. On large projects you might consider requiring written monthly progress reports. Weekly telephoned reports might supplement the formal monthly reports. These reports should give you a good idea of how the work is progressing, whether the project is on schedule, and prepare you early in the project for any unforeseen problems or delays.

DO - Require an Executed Contract. Before commencing any work you should have a contract that clearly states what the goals of the project are, and how these are to be achieved. You should also have a schedule, a budget, and the names of the principal personnel assigned to the project. This is to protect you and the consultant. On projects with a potential public liability, you might consider having your contract require current professional and general liability insurance certificates.

DO - Consider Cost-Plus Contracts. If the scope of work is clearly defined, a lump-sum contract may be cost-effective. When there are significant unknowns in a project, which is often the case in archaeology, consider a cost-plus contract with a not-to-exceed amount. This is only good risk management. Base this amount on clearly understood quantities of fieldwork (person days, the number of excavations, or the collection of certain types or amounts of data, etc.) With lump sum contracts two things usually happen. First, reputable firms make their best cost estimate and add a little to cover unforeseen contingencies. They expect to stick to the agreed upon price. Other firms come in too low, just to get the project. Sooner or later they demand more money or produce work that does not pass muster with review agencies.

DO - Work Closely with Your Consultant. A reputable firm encourages questions and is willing to explain what is happening and why. Archaeologists are naturally hesitant about making hard conclusions about the archaeology until the laboratory work is completed. On the other hand, they should be willing to work with you to give you the best service for the money.

DO - Request a Management Summary after Data Recovery. In situations where you are required to conduct a data recovery project (often a large scale excavation or HABS/HAER documentation), explore the possibility of having your consultant work closely with the SHPO/THPO during the fieldwork. The SHPO/THPO may be able to convince the lead agency to grant you clearance at the conclusion of the fieldwork, and before a final report is submitted and approved. This will not negate the need for laboratory analysis or a final report, but will allow you to begin construction much more quickly.

DO - Consider the Judicious Use of Heavy Equipment. Some archaeologists have an unfounded fear of using heavy equipment on archaeological sites. In many cases, the use of such equipment is not only less expensive and quicker, but will actually produce more and better archaeological information.

DO - Provide No or Low-Cost Items. If you have low-cost housing available for field crews or have access to heavy equipment or transportation, consider providing these to the consultant at no cost. Since housing and heavy equipment are usually pass-through costs for consultants, this will not change their balance sheets, but could save you thousands of dollars.

DO - Use the Project for Public Relations. Archaeological sites and projects, particularly in urban settings, bring out the curiosity in many people. Since you are required to do the project anyway, obtaining some good public relations at the same time is a bonus. You might consider contacting local television stations and newspapers, as well as local archaeological and historical societies. You might also consider some form of public involvement on larger data recovery projects, tied in with the local school system. On larger more interesting projects, it is possible to produce an inexpensive brochure, a continually updated website, or perhaps even a video, for the public summarizing the project. Artifacts displayed in local museums or, perhaps, in a lobby of a newly constructed building, frequently go a long way toward maintaining good public relations. Your consultant can do many of these things for little additional cost to the project.

DO - Get Involved. By asking questions and periodically visiting the site, you may learn a lot about local prehistory and history. Believe it or not, archaeology and historic preservation can be interesting. At the same time you may learn enough to make your next project more cost effective.

-And a Few Don'ts-

DO NOT - Select a Consultant By Price Alone. You will probably get what you pay for.

DO NOT - Make Arbitrary Demands. Archaeologists in some government agencies think that by being very explicit about the fieldwork (the numbers of holes, exact locations of excavations, etc.) they will receive superior proposals. However, this is not often the case. Such arbitrary limits set by a single archaeologist usually do not allow for a creative approach to your situation. A creative approach might be cheaper and faster, and still address the concerns of the lead agency and SHPO/THPO.


A Glossary of Useful Terms

ACRA: (American Cultural Resources Association) Incorporated in 1995, ACRA is the only national trade association organized to promote the professionalization of the cultural resource industry and all its disciplines. Visit http://www.acra-crm.org for more information. (New South was instrumental in founding ACRA and currently houses the executive directorship.)

ACHP: (Advisory Council on Historic Preservation) The President's Advisory Council carries out the mandates of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, as amended. They have a very good site with much useful and detailed information concerning the Section 106 process and the roles of the various players, with brochures and guidelines for various procedures.

Analysis: The archaeological study of the properties of artifacts and other objects (e.g., bones and seeds), their associations, and their provenience. This involves the cataloging and labeling of the artifacts, as well as special studies such as floral and faunal analyses.

APE: (Area of Potential Effect) This is the area in and around the project area that may contain cultural resources that will be affected by the project. There may be differing APEs for historic buildings, traditional cultural properties and archaeological sites. For historic buildings and traditional cultural properties the range of possible impacts might include visual and noise impacts outside the actual project limits, for example the visual impacts of a cell tower on a historic district or the noise of traffic from a new highway on the quiet setting of a traditional Native American ceremonial site, as well as physical destruction of buildings and traditional cultural properties by construction activities. For archaeological sites, impacts are usually confined to the physical limits of the subject property, and may include direct impacts from construction excavation and use to more indirect impacts from changes in soil compaction and erosion from nearby construction. The federal agency must determine the various APEs, the historic properties that they contain, and how to mitigate the impact within them.

Archaeological Technician or Research Assistant: A person, usually with a B.A. degree in anthropology, or equivalent experience, who does the archaeological field and laboratory work.

Archaeology/Archeology: The study of the undocumented remains of the past, also the techniques used in such studies. Among American archaeologists, archaeology is commonly divided into prehistoric and historic (after the arrival of Europeans in the New World) periods.

Architectural Historian: An individual with a degree in the history of architecture capable of identifying the age, style, and social context of historic buildings.

Artifact: Any object made or modified by man.

Assessment: The process of determining whether a site or structure is significant. Also called Phase II. (See Testing.)

Background Research: The first step on a project wherein previously recorded information (whether archaeological, historical, cartographic, etc.) is sought about the project area.

Cataloging: Making a list or catalog of the artifacts found during a project.

Cultural Period: A period of time that has similar artifacts, social organization, and other factors, and is located within a defined geographic area. The major Cultural Periods of the Eastern United States are the Paleoindian, the Archaic, the Woodland, the Mississippian and the Historic.

Cultural Resources: A term coined with the appearance of historic preservation laws in the 1960s and 1970s, and intended to mean all archaeological and historical properties and data, including traditional cultural properties, in a given area.

Data Recovery: Term meaning a large scale excavation of an archaeological site; the detailed recording of structures; or the gathering of extensive historic data on a site. Data Recovery is conducted during Phase III.

Eligible for the NRHP: Term meaning that a site or structure is intact, significant, and appears to meet one or more of the National Register of Historic Places Significance Criteria even though it is not actually listed.

Excavation Block: Term meaning a large square or rectangular area of ground, usually excavated by hand in smaller sections, or squares, called units.

Feature: Soil discoloration or arrangement of artifacts in the soil that represents past human activity. Examples are postmolds, privies, trash pits, building foundations, builders' trenches, and burials.

Field Director/Supervisor: A person usually with an M.A. degree in anthropology, or equivalent experience, who is capable of the day-to-day supervision of an archaeological project under the overall direction of a Principal Investigator.

Floral or Ethnobotanical Analysis: The study of seeds, and sometimes pollen (palynology) and larger plant remains.

Faunal or Zooarchaeological Analysis: the study of non-human bones and animal remains from archaeological sites.

HABS/HAER: Historic American Building Survey and Historic American Engineering Record. Two national agencies that set the standards for recording standing architecture and historic structures such as bridges and canals.

Historic Property: term used by the National Historic Preservation Act and the President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation to indicate archaeological sites, buildings, structures, and traditional cultural properties that are historic in nature, often considered to be over 50 years old.

Integrity/Intact: Terms used to mean that all parts or major portions of a site are undisturbed.

In situ: A term that refers to an artifact that is still in the location where it was discarded or left by an occupant of a site.

Labeling: Writing numbers on artifacts, which identify the provenience of the artifact and occasionally the type of artifact.

Level: A horizontal layer of soil in a unit that is usually excavated together, although it may be excavated in sub-levels. A level may be arbitrary (10 cm deep, for example) or natural (yellow sandy clay, for example).

Listed on the NRHP: A historic property that has been nominated to the National Register of Historic Places and has been officially accepted. (See Eligible for the NRHP) A complete list of historic properties on the National Register can be found at http://www.cr.nps.gov/nr/research/index.htm

Memorandum of Agreement: (MOA) a formal agreement among the lead federal agency, the SHPO/THPO, the project owner, and the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation about the steps to be taken to mitigate adverse impacts to National Register listed and eligible properties.

Mitigation: Term meaning to alleviate the adverse effects of project construction. Mitigation may take the form of data recovery (thereby obtaining the data contained in the site) or avoidance (thereby not affecting the site at all). Also referred to as Phase III.

NHPA: (National Historic Preservation Act) An act passed in 1966 to govern federal involvement in cultural resource management. NHPA includes Section 106.

Nominated to the NRHP: a site that appears eligible for nomination and which has been formally nominated, but not yet accepted.

NRHP: (National Register of Historic Places) A listing of historically or archaeologically significant sites maintained by each state. The NRHP does not contain all significant sites. It only lists those currently identified and that the owner has allowed to be listed. There are many eligible sites that have not been registered, either because they have not been found or they have not yet been nominated.

Phases I, II, and III: Terms corresponding to the normal phases of a cultural resource project in the southeast. Phase I is survey (to locate sites in a project area); Phase II is evaluative assessment or testing (to determine significance of sites in a project area); and Phase III is mitigation (to mitigate the adverse effects of construction on significant sites).

Potentially Eligible for the NRHP: An informal designation for sites found during survey that appear to be significant and therefore eligible for the NRHP, but which require further evaluation to be certain.

Prehistory: Term dealing with the archaeology of preliterate peoples.

Principal Investigator: A person, usually with an M.A. or PhD. degree or extensive experience, who designs research projects and oversees the field and laboratory tasks, and has the principal responsibility for preparing the report.

Projectile Point: Jargon for arrowhead. Archaeologists like to point out that such objects may have been used on darts and lances, etc., and that a particular artifact may not have been used on an arrow.

Preservation: The degree to which the environmental conditions of a site have preserved bone, seeds, shell and other organic material.

Provenience: An individual location in three-dimensional space within an archaeological site.

Reconnaissance: A very preliminary walkover of a site to see if it requires more intensive survey. It sometimes includes background research and a written report of findings.

Remote Sensing: A set of field techniques that permit the location of underground features and/or concentrations of artifacts without excavation. To date, remote sensing techniques have limited usefulness since excavation is still required to obtain artifacts for analysis purposes, although this is changing. Remote sensing techniques often represent an unnecessary added cost to a survey project or where excavation will be required anyway. However, these techniques are often useful in locating burials in cemeteries, to help pinpoint where to excavate or on sites where virtually nothing is known of the occupation.

RPA (Register of Professional Archaeologists): A national certification organization for professional archaeologists. Some states are currently requiring that cultural resource projects be conducted by RPA-certified or equivalent archaeologists to help insure that research is conducted satisfactorily. Visit http://www.rpanet.org for more information.

Section 106: The section of the NHPA dealing with the enforcement of federal preservation activities. Ground-disturbing activities that involve a federal permit, land, funding or other assistance fall under Section 106. The President's Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's implementing regulations for Section 106 can be found at 38CFR800.

Shovel Test: (Shovel Test Pit, ST, STP, etc.) a survey and testing method used to determine the horizontal limits of a site where ground cover prevents examination of the ground surface. These are usually the size of a shovel and are dug to sterile (no artifacts) soil. Soil is usually screened to find artifacts.

SHPO: (State Historic Preservation Officer) The federally mandated person and office responsible for federal cultural resource compliance at the state level. Every state has one, with a staff that varies in size and specialties. There is usually at least one archaeologist and one architectural historian on the SHPO's staff.

Significance Criteria: The criteria listed in the NHPA, which, if answered affirmatively, indicate that a site is significant and eligible for the NRHP. Also called eligibility criteria.

Significant: Term used to refer to a cultural resource that is important in local, regional, and national prehistory or history, or which is likely to yield answers to current research questions in archaeology and history.

Site or Archaeological Site: A frequently vague term used to describe a horizontal and vertical area of ground that has been used intensively by people in the past and which contains or is likely to contain artifacts and features associated with that past activity. The actual boundaries of sites may be based on the density of features and artifacts or on other criteria.

State Site Files: The state repository where completed state site forms are kept. This is sometimes at the SHPO, and sometimes elsewhere.

State Site Form: Forms filled out by archaeologists on archaeological sites. All southeastern states have an accepted statewide form, and most SHPOs are presently requiring that these be filled out at the completion of cultural resource projects.

Stratigraphy: The soil levels and strata at a site and how these are associated with each other and the cultural aspects of the site (artifacts and features, etc.).

Survey: A phase of archaeological investigation during which surface collection and limited subsurface techniques are employed to identify archaeological sites or their absence. Also referred to as Phase I.

TCP: (Traditional Cultural Property) Holy places, ceremonial sites, and other traditionally important places, often associated with Native American groups, but could be any cultural group.

Testing: A phase of archaeological investigation that assesses the horizontal and vertical extent of a particular site, its degree of preservation, and its potential for containing significant data. It usually involves STPs and Test Units. Also referred to as Phase II assessment or evaluation.

Transect: Term used to define the location of a line followed by archaeologists during survey and testing.

THPO: (Tribal Historic Preservation Officer) Here used to mean the federally mandated person and office responsible for federal cultural resource compliance on federally recognized tribal lands, or other person designated by the tribe to represent its cultural interests. Tribal equivalent of the SHPO.

Unit or Test Unit: a formal hand excavation, usually one or two meters square or three, five, or ten feet square. When combined, units are referred to as an excavation block.

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Copyright 1992 by New South Associates, Inc.  Revised 2006.