ARCHAEOLOGY

ARCHAEOLOGY


Regulations require the investigation of cultural material that informs our understanding of the peopling of the United States through to the twentieth century (the National Register of Historic Places considers all resources that are 50 years in age or older to be “historic”).
ARCHAEOLOGICAL STUDIES ARE NORMALLY CONDUCTED IN PHASES, SUCH AS:

Phase I Survey

This includes background research to determine known and potential site locations within and adjacent to the APE. Based on these data and environmental factors, field methodology is developed in keeping with state and federal standards. All soils are screened and artifacts collected. If sites are located within the APE, site boundaries are established through close interval testing. State site forms are completed and National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) eligibility is evaluated. Phase I Survey is the most frequent service provided.

Phase II Site Testing

Site Testing is conducted to assist in the determination of eligibility when sites appear to possess sufficient integrity to be considered for eligibility. This may involve additional shovel testing and the excavation of units to better define the site’s layout, soil stratigraphy, and distribution of artifacts. If sites are determined eligible by the SHPO, it may require “mitigation” of the effects of the proposed undertaking on the resource. Mitigation can be accomplished through several means including, avoidance of the resources, establishment of protective boundaries, or if this is not possible, Phase III archaeological excavations may be required for data recovery.

Phase III Data Recovery Excavations

These are typically large-scale excavations designed to recover the site data prior to destruction by a proposed undertaking. Such projects require extensive labor, a detailed sampling strategy, and preparation of artifacts for curation at an approved facility. Consultation with federal, state, and tribal entities may also be involved. Data recovery reports by their nature are detailed and often focus on research questions designed to contribute to a better understanding of the archaeological record. Public outreach is often a requirement in this phase.

Desktop Analysis

ACI offers Desktop Analysis to evaluate the potential for archaeological resources in an area prior to the permitting process to assess the potential effects to various alternatives on cultural resources. These services can also be a first step in the due diligence process for developments.

Archaeological Monitoring

This may be required prior to, or in lieu of, mitigation when archaeological resources are suspected, but traditional testing cannot be conducted, such as during the removal of existing buildings or roads scheduled for demolition. The monitoring allows observation of the demolition process and quick recording and/or recovery of the archaeological record as it is exposed.