This section describes the nature of archaeological surveys and the regulations governing the work. State laws including the State of Pennsylvania typically divide archaeological investigations into “phases” of work. These phases comprise Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III surveys. The initial Phases of survey are determined by a combination of factors including the project needs, the presence or absence of known archaeological/historical resources, and often times, consultation with the PA BHP (Pennsylvania Bureau for Historic Preservation- the state agency responsible for over seeing the protection of cultural resources). The goal of this work is the determination of a cultural resource’s eligibility for listing with the National Register of Historic Places. The “phases” of work have been developed to guide the determination process. If an archaeological site is identified it may be required to move through the three part succession of studies depending upon the nature of the archaeological discoveries.
Phase I Survey
The Phase I identification level survey is intended to provide an inventory of potentially eligible archaeological resources within the project area. Sites may be identified and recorded through a combination of documentary research, informant interviews, surface reconnaissance, and subsurface testing. Any or all of these techniques may be used in a particular survey. A Preliminary Phase IA survey oftentimes utilizes a geomorphologic study of the soils and landscape for the determination of archaeological potential. The geomorphologic study together with the background documentary research will conclude that either no additional work is necessary or that archaeological fieldwork (i.e., Phase IB) is additionally required to fully evaluate the project. If a site is identified, the determination of eligibility is typically made on the basis of Phase II level investigations. Phase I surveys are frequently too limited in terms of their scope of work to produce comprehensive sampling results.
Phase II Survey
Phase II Surveys are conducted for archaeological sites whose significance is defined as having the potential to contribute information to our understanding of past cultural behavior. The Phase II investigation is designed to sample the archaeological deposits at sites identified during the Phase I survey and allow a decision to be made as to their significance (i.e., defined as eligibility of the site for listing on the National Register of Historic Places). If it is determined that significant sites are located within the project area and the effects are adverse and cannot be avoided, a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the responsible federal agency should be prepared. If there is no federal involvement, a Memorandum (or Letter) of Understanding (MOU) with the responsible state agency should be prepared. In most cases, the adverse effect may be mitigated by data recovery; however, in some cases, alternative mitigation studies may be appropriate.
Phase III investigations are intended to mitigate the adverse effects on significant sites through data recovery. Data Recovery (i.e., Phase III) typically consists of intensive archaeological excavation and artifact analysis. Individual investigations are designed to recover information related to the significance of the site.
Phase I Survey- Sumneytown, PA
Phase III Survey -Lawrenceville, NJ