Archaeological Investigative Services - A.I.S.

This section is designed to address the question of why planners, engineers, and developers have the responsibility for archaeology and other aspects of cultural resource compliance.

*The following two pages have been excerpted from the GUIDELINES FOR ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS IN PENNSYLVANIA (Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission revised November 2008)

Federal and state laws have been developed to recognize the importance of cultural resources including archaeological and historic sites. These laws provide the mechanisms to insure that historic and archaeological sites are considered and protected through the enforcement of government agencies.  Under these laws, federal and state agencies are required to consider the effects of proposed impacts on significant cultural resources such as historic buildings, structures, objects, districts, and historic and prehistoric archaeological sites.  A significant resource is defined as one which is listed or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. 

The significance and value of historic/archaeological properties are identified and evaluated in compliance with the provisions of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (as amended in 1980 and 1992), and the regulations (36 CFR Part 800) of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (as revised in 2004). The provisions of this act with the accompanying regulations are designed to evaluate potential significant resources for their listing in the National Register of Historic Places. The National Register of Historic Places is a tool for recognition, planning, preservation, and public education. The National Register is also the Nation’s list of historic properties that have been determined to be valuable for preservation.  The National Register utilizes four criteria for determining eligibility and or listing and includes the following:

a)That are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or
b)That are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or
c)That embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or
d)That have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.

The federal legal mandates under which consideration of cultural resources most commonly takes place include Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966, Executive Order 11593, and the regulations of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (36 CFR 800). In Pennsylvania, state legal mandates include the Environmental Rights Amendment, Article 1, Section 27 of the Pennsylvania Constitution and the Pennsylvania History Code, 37 Pa. Cons. Stat. Section 500 et. seq.  Principally, these laws require that agencies meet their responsibilities by making a good faith effort to identify all significant cultural resources which may be affected by their actions, determining the National Register eligibility of those resources which may be affected, and considering ways to avoid or mitigate the effects of this action on National Register properties. These responsibilities are usually met by a program of archaeological survey, testing, evaluation, and mitigation of adverse effects. Consideration of cultural resources is the responsibility of the federal or state agencies involved in issuing permits, licenses, or approvals or in providing funding for an undertaking.

Example of a National Register Property -LockRidge Park, Alburtis, PA

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