Meeting Project Requirements Compliance for Archaeological Study: It’s Old but is it Historic?

Archeological StudyConstruction projects today require close adherence to Federal, State and County laws when it comes to protecting historic and prehistoric sites.  The level of protection is based on the importance of the site.  These archaeological sites may not be easily detectable. Archaeological study has a multitude of tools at its disposal to determine this historical significance.

The first requirement of any archaeological study is to identify any resources that may be present on the property of interest. Prior to any archaeology survey, a records search by a qualified archeologist from the appropriate California Information Centers maintained by the California Historic Resources Information System (CHRIS) is a logical first step. This documentation is not available to the general public to protect historic resources. In some cases, the property may have already been surveyed or pertinent information regarding the location may be found. This level of coverage will enable the archeologist to determine the next step.

Other sources of information may include local history centers, newspaper offices and oral history. Other sources include assessor’s files to determine a chain of ownership for the property in question. Protocol for federally funded and some state projects require that Native American tribes are contacted to ensure their input in the protection of traditional properties not listed in institutional facilities.

After appropriate time has been considered for response, an archaeological survey can take place to identify historic and prehistoric cultural resources. Archaeological study may be able to link discoveries to previous owners or identify previously unknown sites.

Archaeological study can determine the significance of the discovery and in doing so provide recommendations for mitigation or treatment that complies with local, state and federally mandated laws allowing your project to be completed without unexpected contingencies and without delays.

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