to Archaeological Survey
JERSEY HISTORIC PRESERVATION OFFICE
FOR PHASE I ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS:
OF ARCHAEOLOGICAL RESOURCES
2.0. When is a Phase I Archaeological Site Survey Recommended?
2.1. Nature of the Proposed Project and Area of Potential Effects
2.2. Presence or Absence of Documented Archaeological Historic Properties
2.3. Potential for the Presence of Undocumented Archaeological Historic Properties
3.0. Guidelines for Conducting Phase I Archaeological Surveys
3.1. Qualifications of Project Director
3.2. Background Investigation
3.2.1. Documentary and Informant Sources
3.2.2. Field Inspection
22.214.171.124. Prehistoric Sites, Rural Settings
126.96.36.199. Historic Sites, Rural Settings
188.8.131.52. Urban Settings
3.3. Site Location Model
3.3.1. Prehistoric Sites, Rural Settings
3.3.2. Historic Sites, Rural Settings
3.3.3. Urban Settings
3.4. Field Investigation
3.4.1. Prehistoric Sites, Rural Settings
3.4.2. Historic Sites, Rural Settings
3.4.3. Urban Settings
3.5. Data Collection and Data Analysis
4.0. References Cited
The New Jersey Department
of Environmental Protection (NJ DEP), Historic Preservation Office (HPO),
reviews proposed projects for their potential to affect significant cultural
resources under provisions of both Federal and State laws and regulations.
These include: Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA)
of 1966, as amended, the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, the Archaeological
and Historic Preservation Act of 1974, and the New Jersey Register of Historic
Places Act of 1970. The HPO also assists State agencies in reviewing compliance
with their cultural resource regulations. These include the Department of
Environmental Protection's Land Use Regulation Program, Green Acres program,
Office of Program Coordination, and the Municipal Finance and Constructin
program. These programs in some cases take the lead in administering their
individual cultural resource reviews.
As part of the review
process, the HPO may request that archaeological investigations be conducted.
These investigations range from Phase I (survey or site identification) to
Phase II (evaluation) to Phase III (treatment). Phase I investigations are
conducted for the purpose of identifying archaeological sites that may exist
in a project area. Phase II projects are conducted to evaluate identified
sites for their eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic
Places (National Register or NR). Eligible archaeological sites as well as
those actually listed in the National Register are referred to as archaeological
historic properties. Phase II evaluation usually entails test unit excavation
rather than shovel testing or other kinds of subsurface probing often conducted
during Phase I survey. Phase III projects involve treatment of archaeological
historic properties, typically involving "data recovery" (i.e., salvage excavation).
Following are the
HPO's guidelines for assessing the need for Phase I surveys of proposed project
areas. Thereafter, guidelines are presented for conducting Phase I surveys.
These guidelines are consistent with (1) Federal regulations developed pursuant
to Section 106 of the NHPA, (2) the Secretary of the Interior's Standards
and Guidelines for Identification, (3) the NJ DEP, Municipal Finance and Construction
Program's cultural resource survey requirements (N.J.A.C. 7:22-10.8), and
(4) the NJ DEP, Land Use Regulation Program, Rules on Coastal Zone Management
regarding historic and archaeological resources (N.J.A.C. 7.7E-3.36).
WHEN IS A PHASE I ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITE SURVEY RECOMMENDED?
Back to Contents
Three factors are considered
in assessing the need for a field survey to identify archaeological sites
in the Area of Potential Effects (APE) for a proposed project. These are (1)
the nature of the proposed project and its APE, (2) the presence or absence
of documented archaeological historic properties in the APE, and (3) the potential
for the presence of undocumented archaeological historic properties in the
Nature of the Proposed Project and Its Area of Potential Effects Back
The HPO first considers
the nature of a proposed project and its APE. Survey is recommended if the
proposed project could result in significant changes in the
character of archaeological historic properties and such properties may
be located in the APE [as defined in federal regulations, 36 CFR 800.16d].
Projects that could
result in such changes usually involve earthmoving. For example, survey
might be recommended for a proposed new golf course development because
building a golf course usually involves large-scale recontouring of the
landscape. Survey would not be recommended for a fairway reseeding program
on an existing golf course because a project of this sort would not likely
involve earthmoving that would result in changes in the character of any
archaeological historic properties that might be present.
considerations, the APE for a proposed project includes areas where earthmoving
is planned directly as part of a project as well as areas where landscape
alterations will result from activities associated with the project. In
the proposed new golf course example, the actual area of the links layout
would clearly be included in the APE. But some other areas might also be
included. Examples include areas to be leveled for parking, areas where
access roads will be built, construction staging areas, and areas from which
fill will be borrowed.
Presence or Absence of Documented Archaeological Historic Properties Back
A Phase I survey
is usually recommended if archaeological historic properties have been previously
recorded within the APE. Sites of this sort usually need to be revisited
and information regarding them (boundaries, etc.) updated so they can be
adequately considered in project planning. Further, if one archaeological
historic property is known within an APE, then there may be others.
Survey is not recommended
if the APE has been previously covered by an adequate Phase I survey that
identified no archaeological historic properties.
Potential for the Presence of Undocumented Archaeological Historic Properties
A Phase I survey is
usually recommended if there is high potential for the presence of archaeological
historic properties within the APE. Such potential exists when
sites have been documented in the project locality, or (2) landforms or
topographic settings within the APE are assessed as likely places for the
occurrence of undocumented sites based on similarities to known site locations
A Phase I survey
is not recommended if there is little or no potential for the presence of
archaeological historic properties in the APE. For example, there is no
potential for the presence of intact archaeological deposits in areas where
prior earthmoving has removed or reworked all soils that developed during
the past 12,000 years. Examples of such areas include most gravel pits,
road cuts, and pipeline trenches. But some forms of historic land use have
sealed off and preserved ancient archaeological deposits rather than destroying
them. Intact site deposits have been found beneath zones of modern disturbance
such as layers of fill, plowzones, parking lot pavements, and roads.
GUIDELINES FOR CONDUCTING PHASE I ARCHAEOLOGICAL SURVEYS Back
sites are places where there are physical traces of people's past activities.
The primary goal of a Phase I archaeological survey is to locate and identify
archaeological sites within an APE, and generate well reasoned assessments
as to which, if any, of these sites have potential to qualify as archaeological
historic properties. Information collected during a Phase I survey is usually
sufficient to adequately evaluate some identified sites as not eligible
for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. It is generally not
sufficient to adequately support evaluations of eligibility. Phase II evaluation
work is usually needed to collect and analyze information sufficient to document
sites as archaeological historic properties.
If no potential archaeological
historic properties are identified by a Phase I survey, then the archaeological
investigation is usually terminated at that point. However, when possible
archaeological historic properties are identified, a preliminary assessment
should be made of the possible effects of the proposed project on them. If
identified sites will not be affected by the proposed project, or if the proposed
project can be redesigned so as to avoid affecting them, then further work
is usually not recommended.
A Phase I survey
research design typically involves five tasks: background investigation, identifying
expectations for site locations within the APE, field investigation, data
collection and analysis, and reporting. These guidelines deal primarily with
the first four tasks. (Guidelines for archaeological survey reporting are
presented separately.) All of this work should be carried out under the direct
supervision of a qualified project director.
Qualifications of Project Director Back
The project director
for Phase I archaeological surveys (i.e., person in direct charge of the
five major project tasks) should be a trained professional archaeologist
who meets the qualification standards of the National Park Service (NPS)
as defined in the Secretary of the Interior's Standards and Guidelines for
Archaeology and Historic Preservation (Federal Register 48:190, September
professional qualifications in archaeology are a graduate degree in archaeology,
anthropology, or closely related field plus:
1. At least one
year of full-time professional experience or equivalent specialized training
in archaeological research, administration, or management;
2. At least four
months of supervised field and analytic experience in general NorthAmerican
ability to carry research to completion.
In addition to
these minimum qualifications, a professional in prehistoric archaeology
has at least one year of full-time experience at a supervisory level in
the study of archaeological resources of the prehistoric period. A professional
in historic archaeology has at least one year of full-time experience at
a supervisory level in the study of archaeological resources of the historic
The HPO maintains
a list of consultants with qualified archaeologists on staff and who have
expressed interest in working on projects in New Jersey. However, project
sponsors are responsible for selecting consultants who have qualified archaeologists
available to direct their surveys.
Background Investigation Back
The purpose of
background investigation is to review information from documentary and informant
sources which, when combined with findings from a field inspection, should
be sufficient to formulate a site location model, plan the field investigation,
and identify anticipated directions for data collection, analysis, and reporting.
Existing information sources include documents, artifact collections, informants,
and the APE itself. This information is analyzed to make an assessment of
the kinds of sites that may exist within the APE, their likely distribution,
and the most effective and efficient methods for detecting them.
Documentary and Informant Sources
In order to gain understanding of the kinds of sites that may exist
in the APE and their likely locations, information regarding known sites
and previous research in the locality should be reviewed. Current environmental
conditions, paleoenvironmental conditions, and historic land use should
also be considered. Relevant sources include the following
- Cultural resource reports on file at the HPO
- New Jersey & National Register files at the HPO
- New Jersey State Museum archaeological site records
- Bulletin of the Archaeological Society of New
Jersey (see Bello 1986, 1990)
- Reports of excavations at sites in the APE locality
- Individuals knowledgeable about local history and/or
prehistory [e.g., professional archaeologists with an interest in
the region, avocational archaeologists, artifact collectors, members
of the Archaeological Society of New Jersey (ASNJ)]
- University, regional, and local libraries
- Construction plans of previous undertakings within
- Pinelands Commission site records
- County Cultural and Heritage Commissions and Certified
- Overviews of the region's natural environment
- Topographic, geologic, pedologic, hydrologic, and
- Researchers in other relevant fields who have worked
in the project locality (e.g., geologists, geographers, folklorists)
- Aerial photographs often on file with the USDA,
Natural Resources Conservation Service (formerly SCS) and NJ DEP
- Artifact collections from the locality
- Soil boring data
Dealing with Prehistoric Sites
- Synthetic studies
of regional cultures (e.g., Custer 1986, Kraft 1986, and various articles
in Chesler 1982)
- Regional archaeological
surveys (e.g., Cross 1941, Ranere and Hansell 1984, Skinner and Schrabisch
- HPO historic
context files for prehistoric periods
Dealing with Historic Resources
- Various articles
in Chesler (1982, 1984)
- Regional and
- Historic maps
(e.g., insurance maps, older USGS and other government maps, land
- Members of the
Society for Industrial Archaeology-Roebling Chapter, Canal Society
of New Jersey, and other such special interest associations
- County and local
survey reports on file at the HPO
- Deed and tax
records (county courthouses and/or NJ Bureau of Archives and History)
- Wills and probate
inventories (county courthouses and/or NJ Bureau of Archives and History)
- Local newspapers
- Historic American
Buildings Survey (HABS)
- Historic American
Engineering Record (HAER)
- Federal and
State census records
- Early aerial
are specific to urban contexts. Some of these are city directories, photographic
collections, and municipal records regarding the installation or initiation
of water, sewer, and trash collection services.
Part of the recommended background investigation is an inspection
of the APE. The purpose is to collect information which, when combined
with that obtained from documentary and informant sources, enables developing
a site location model and field testing strategy. Observations are usually
made regarding topography, historic land disturbance, field conditions,
and indicators of intact archaeological deposits (e.g., standing structures
and surface artifact scatters).
Prehistoric Sites, Rural Settings. The sorts of observations
specifically relevant to the discovery of prehistoric sites in rural
settings include small-scale variations in physical geography (i.e.,
topography, hydrology, pedology, geomorphology) and biotic communities.
These sorts of observations can supplement the more generalized data
available from geologic, soils, and topographic maps. Small-scale environmental
variations were often important considerations in prehistoric site selection.
Also, evidence of prior natural and cultural landscape modifications
(e.g., alluvial sedimentation and drainage ditching) can enable refining
plans for fieldwork. Under certain circumstances, a geomorphologist
or pedologist should be consulted to assess potential for deeply buried
artifact deposits within an APE (e.g., in floodplain, colluvial slope,
or alluvial fan depositional contexts).
Historic Sites, Rural Settings.
Indicators of historic archaeological sites in rural settings include
buildings and other standing structures, foundations, artifact scatters,
ground-surface anomalies (e.g., mounds, depressions, ridges), roads,
paths, fence lines, and vegetational anomalies (e.g., ornamental plantings,
groves of trees, hedge rows). A "field check" of sites indicated on
historic maps and other sources is useful at this time.
A field visit for a project in an urban setting can provide important
information regarding the conditions under which fieldwork will be undertaken.
There may be standing structures, demolition rubble, vacant lots, or
paved lots. If structures are standing, it may be possible to determine
basement depths and examine backyards to search for evidence of features
such as privies. Visual inspection may yield clues regarding prior landscape
modification. For example, if backyards on one side of a block are higher
than those on the other side, it usually indicates prior terracing of
In many areas
of New Jersey, settings are neither fully urban nor rural, but suburban.
Differing degrees of urbanization lead to varying possibilities for archaeological
site preservation and concomitant field investigation strategies (see
Site Location Model Back
The site location
model for a Phase I archaeological survey incorporates the results of the
background investigation in a consideration of the kinds and locations of
sites, or lack thereof, that are anticipated in the APE. The site location
model should include a map depiction of the APE that delineates areas of
high, medium, and low probability to hold archaeological sites, as well
as areas that will be excluded from field survey investigation. Modelling
considerations often include factors regarding the possibilities for survival
of sites or remnants of sites in disturbed locations. References to particular
time periods (e.g., Late Archaic) should utilize the chronological categories
of the Historic Contexts portion of the State Historic Preservation Plan.
The level of detail
of the site location model will vary depending on the quantity and quality
of background information including the degree to which prior investigations
have produced models or elements thereof relevant to the APE. The model
provides the basis for designing a field strategy by identifying variables
that permit the subdivision of the APE into four categories: zones of high,
medium, and low potential for site occurrence, plus excluded areas.
There are a number
of special conditions that can lead to excluding all or part of an APE from
field investigation. For example, it may be possible to eliminate part or
all of the APE from further investigation if it can be demonstrated that
recent disturbance has rendered it unlikely that any potentially significant
archaeological sites have survived. However, in order to do this, it is
necessary to document the severity and extent (horizontal and vertical boundaries)
of the disturbance and to assess the degree to which this disturbance would
compromise the significance of any sites that may have been present. Documentation
may take the form of test excavation unit profile drawings, written or graphic
records of past land use (e.g., maps showing a sand quarry), or photographs
and written descriptions showing how current conditions differ from the
historic configuration of the landscape.
should be assessed individually to determine whether the cultural resource
potential is in fact limited by any special condition. For example, steep
slopes are unlikely to hold many types of prehistoric sites, but may contain
rockshelter or quarry sites. While inundated lands are not apt to contain
most types of sites, they may contain the remains of historic period shipwrecks
or sawmills. Sites that are inundated today may have been fast land prior
to recent sea level rise, or may have become inundated as the result of
increased runoff, changes in routing of storm water, or construction of
impasses to drainage such as dams or railroad or road alignments.
In sum, it is important
to assess the range of site types that could be present, as well as changes
in site conditions through time, in assessing the need to survey a particular
area. It is advisable to discuss any special conditions with the HPO and
other relevant agencies in advance of fieldwork so that a strategy for surveying
or excluding special condition areas can be agreed upon.
Prehistoric Sites, Rural Settings
Data gathered from all sources is synthesized in order to rank the
APE or subdivisions thereof with regard to the probability that prehistoric
sites are present. This is done by identifying factors that can be demonstrated
to act as predictors of site location. When possible, these should be
correlated with variables such as chronological period and site function.
This has been done on a broad scale in New Jersey in an analysis of the
Pinelands by Cavallo and Mounier (1980). Most cultural resource projects
are not of sufficient scale to permit such extensive research. Nonetheless,
the Cavallo and Mounier study demonstrates an approach that can be used
to generate the needed information.
In order to appraise
the potential horizontal and vertical extents of archaeological site occurrence,
it is usually necessary to consider background information from geology,
geomorphology, and pedology. Conversely, some formations, such as terraces
in river valleys or the surfaces of glacial features such as kame terraces,
may be especially likely locations for prehistoric sites. This analysis
should take into account environmental changes that may have resulted
in masking likely settings of archaeological sites. The identification
of environmental settings in which archaeological deposits may be deeply
buried is of particular importance.
it is expected that a site location model's probability predictions will
be ordinal in scale (e.g., high, medium, low). Prehistoric research in
New Jersey is not developed to the point where the presence or absence
of sites on different sorts of intact landforms can be predicted with
certainty. Nor is there sufficient data to make ratio-scale predictions
(e.g., 30% probability), though some ongoing research may eventually lead
to such a capability in certain parts of the State (see Ranere and Hansell
1984). Also, it is expected that most models will simply deal with site
occurrence irrespective of chronological period and site type. However,
developing more refined models is of course the long-range goal.
The level of
detail achieved in the model is dependant on the existing data and interpretations,
and should be justified in those terms. The expertise of the investigator
can be an important element in the design of the model by introducing
additional factors which identify likely locations of prehistoric sites.
Historic Sites, Rural Settings
The development of models regarding the distribution of historic
period sites in rural contexts will tend to be more location-specific
than is the case for prehistoric sites. Maps and other documents will
generally identify specific locations, with a greater or lesser degree
of accuracy, where sites were situated. One basis for the stratification
of the APE will therefore be the presence or absence of areas with recorded
indications of historic occupation. However, especially for the earlier
part of the historic period, documentary sources may be inadequate or
nonexistent. Poorer segments of the population and more ephemeral buildings
and structures (e.g., tenant residences, neighborhoods of ethnic or racial
minorities) are also frequently under-represented in the documentary record.
Therefore, it is also important to assess the general development of the
APE, and identify types of settlements, industries, modes of transportation,
and the like which will permit the generation of predictions about likely
locations of unrecorded historic sites, as is done for prehistoric sites.
Observations made during the field inspection may also be useful in historic
site location modeling.
Urban archaeology deals with archaeological remains of both the
urban and pre-urban periods. Therefore, the approach to modelling site
characteristics in urban contexts is likely to combine elements of models
for prehistoric and historic sites in rural contexts along with criteria
unique to urban settings. Urban archaeology also requires special field
and analytical techniques suited to this context.
To begin with,
the prehistoric configuration of the landscape should be determined to
the extent possible, both in order to assess the likelihood of prehistoric
occupation and to have a baseline against which subsequent development
can be assessed. In addition, attention should be paid to reconstructing
physical changes in the APE resultant from urbanization. Typically, successive
buildings on a lot become larger, encompassing increasingly greater percentages
of its area. A lot which once had a backyard with outbuildings and facilities
(e.g., privy, well, cistern, etc.) may later support a building encompassing
its entire area. Depending on the depth of the new building's foundation,
the earlier backyard features may or may not have been destroyed. Also,
natural landscape features (e.g., streambank, fast land adjacent to wetlands)
which may have been occupied in the past are often progressively altered
by filling, cutting, or other modifications. These will frequently retain
important archaeological deposits if they have not been destroyed by subsequent
development. The subdivision of once-larger lots also tends to obscure
the pattern of earlier occupations. A discussion of the survival of prehistoric
and early historic sites in urban contexts is provided in Marshall (1984).
of the physical evolution of the APE may indicate that significant archaeological
deposits are unlikely to have survived, in which case further investigation
may be waived. However, if undisturbed deposits are likely, then Phase
I fieldwork may be unnecessary, and more intensive investigation may be
appropriate. Finally, if the evidence is ambiguous, the reconstruction
can be used to direct investigative techniques such as coring (see below)
to test specific locations for the presence or absence of predicted deposits.
These decisions should be made in consultation with the HPO and other
In any case,
an understanding of environmental change within the APE, combined with
its historical development as synthesized from documentary sources, will
result in the generation of a model of land use and development that predicts
what kinds of archaeological deposits are likely to have been generated
(e.g., 18th century residential, 19th century industrial) and whether
any of these are likely to retain integrity.
Field Investigation Back
The data generated
during a Phase I investigation is primarily of the presence/absence variety.
The purpose of the Phase I work is to locate all possible archaeological
sites within the APE, and identify those with potential to qualify as archaeological
historic properties. It is not necessary to precisely determine site boundaries,
functions, or ages. It is only necessary to identify those that have potential
to be evaluated as archaeological historic properties and those that do
Field methods appropriate
for Phase I data acquisition may take a variety of forms. They should be
designed so that fieldwork recovers samples from which data can be collected
and analyzed to test the project's site location model. The design and application
of field techniques and methods are areas in which the expertise of the
project director is of critical importance. Innovative approaches are encouraged,
but should be developed in consultation with the HPO and other relevant
and vertical extents of disturbed areas in which archaeological deposits
are likely to have lost their integrity should be documented. This usually
requires excavation of subsurface tests in selected locations to collect
stratigraphic information unless existing data (e.g., from previous construction
plans) are sufficient. No portion of the APE should be excluded from examination
without justification based on evidence (e.g., geophysical description and
sample excavations) that demonstrates that significant archaeological sites
are unlikely to be present. This applies equally to wetland and submerged
The site location
model should designate different portions of the APE to one of the following
four categories: (1) excluded from field survey consideration, (2) high
potential for the presence of archaeological sites, (3) medium potential,
and (4) low potential. High, medium, and low potential areas should be covered
by pedestrian surface survey and subsurface probing. In order to maximize
the number of potentially significant sites identified, the intensity of
surface and subsurface investigations should be proportional to the probability
of site occurrence. That is, investigations should be most intensive in
high potential areas and least intensive in low potential areas.
The high, medium,
and low potential portions of the APE should be covered with an average
of 17 one-foot diameter subsurface probes per acre. This is equivalent to
probing on a 50 ft rectilinear grid. If rectilinear grid sampling is employed,
then the probe grid interval should be smaller in high potential areas and
larger in low potential areas. (Shovel testing on a grid in urban settings
might be inappropriate, and investigators should contact the HPO to plan
In lieu of rectilinear
grid sampling, other forms of statistically quantifiable sampling strategies
are encouraged. Statistically quantifiable sampling strategies are necessary
in order to generate data that are cross- comparable with data from other
surveys, and to provide a context within which the results of any given
survey can be replicated and evaluated. This is necessary both in order
to evaluate the effectiveness of an identification level survey, and so
that other investigators working in the area can draw upon the survey results
to design subsequent field surveys and site location models.
For linear projects
(e.g., road widenings or installation of buried utility lines) with an APE
measuring 50 feet or less in width, shovel testing/subsurface probing should
average one test for every 50 linear feet with closer spacing of probes
in high potential areas and wider spacing in low potential areas.
subsurface probes can be an important adjunct to a structured sampling scheme.
They can be placed to investigate locations that are deemed during fieldwork
to be likely site areas that were not identified as such during project
planning. They can also be placed to collect information to supplement that
obtained from the planned probes. Consequently, provision should be made
in advance for excavation of additional judgementally placed probes. The
location and intensity of this probing will vary depending on the specific
subsurface probing technique or techniques (e.g., shovel testing, post hole
shovel testing, power augering, bucket augering) selected for a given project
should be appropriate for the target APE (see Kintigh 1988; Krakker et al.
1983; Nance and Ball 1986; Shott 1985). Probes should penetrate the full
depth of intact Holocene sediments. To the extent possible, subsurface probes
should be excavated according to visible stratigraphy (i.e., cultural or
natural strata). All sediments should be screened through 1/4-inch mesh.
Some sorts of artifacts can be discarded in the field, provided their data
value is fully documented and possible subsequent phases of investigation
are not compromised by the discard of these specimens. Other specimens should
be retained for laboratory examination.
Areas that may
hold deeply buried cultural deposits will, of course, necessitate use of
an alternate sampling strategy. This will usually be developed in consultation
with a pedologist or other soils specialist with expertise in Holocene geomorphology.
Matrix excavated by mechanical means should be treated in the same manner
as manually excavated soil matrixes. For example, cores should be recorded
stratigraphically, to the extent possible, and the matrix screened for artifacts.
When heavy equipment such as a backhoe is employed for subsurface exploration,
the total volume of excavated earth is usually too great to screen in its
entirety, and sampling is necessary. Whatever sort of sampling is done,
stratigraphic control should be maintained. Also, the use of heavy equipment
should always take into consideration potential for destruction of potentially
significant archaeological deposits.
Some useful references
pertaining to archaeological survey sampling include: Dunnell and Dancey
(1983), Grossman and Cavallo (1982), Lightfoot (1986), McManamon (1984),
Mueller (1974 and 1975), Nance (1983), Plog et al. (1978), Ranere and Hansell
(1984), Redman (1987), and Schiffer et al. (1978).
Prehistoric Sites, Rural Settings
In most situations, a combination of surface inspection and
subsurface testing is the most effective and efficient way to locate sites.
The relative level of effort expended on each technique will depend on
a variety of factors.
of surface investigation methods (e.g., systematically spaced transacts,
intensive inspection of sample quadrants) should be tailored to the characteristics
of the APE (see Chartkoff 1978, Lovis 1976). Controlled surface collection
from small-sized grid units typically generates more data potential than
is necessary for a Phase I survey, and is, therefore, usually more appropriate
to later phases of investigation. However, the degree of provenience control
should be sufficient to provide preliminary indications of intrasite variation.
In contexts where
it can be demonstrated that all Holocene sediments are contained within
a plow zone, surface inspection supplemented by broad interval subsurface
testing is recommended to identify sites, provided that rainfall subsequent
to plowing has been sufficient to wash obscuring sediments from exposed
artifacts and that the ground surface visibility is at least 50%. Cultivated
fields may be plowed or disced to eliminate ground cover, as long as the
plowing does not extend deeper than previous disturbance. The absence
of potentially artifact bearing deposits below the depth of plowing should
be adequately documented by subsurface probing, especially within the
limits of identified sites.
In unplowed areas
and in areas where plowing has not penetrated the full depth of intact
Holocene sediments, subsurface probing is called for. In situations where
cultural deposits may be deeply buried, techniques should be employed
to ensure safe and efficient examination of all potentially artifact bearing
strata. These may include the use of bucket augers with extendable handles,
test excavation units, mechanical coring, and backhoe trenches (see Stein
1986). Special techniques may also be necessary to examine wetland and
submerged areas likely to contain sites.
The design of
a sampling strategy depends on the expected characteristics of the target
population (see Kintigh 1988, LeeDecker 1984). Three of the most important
variables are site size, site distribution, and intrasite artifact density
(i.e., number of artifacts per unit area or volume). Other things being
equal, these variables determine whether sampling locations will intersect
artifacts and thus reveal the presence of a site. In some areas, systematic
non-exclusive surveys have been conducted that provide at least preliminary
data regarding these variables (e.g., Ranere and Hansell 1984). However,
in most of New Jersey, such studies have not been undertaken. Therefore,
estimates of these variables should be made by extrapolating from data
presented in sources examined during background investigations.
With regard to
site size, there is a correlation between the size of the sampling interval
and the minimum size of the site likely to be discovered. Any systematic
sampling scheme (i.e., placement of sampling locations at fixed intervals)
will encounter only a fraction of sites whose minimum dimensions are smaller
than the sampling interval. Therefore, the known or estimated size structure
of the site population should be taken into account when selecting a sampling
interval. The rationale for this selection should be presented in the
report. The inevitable bias of systematic sampling against smaller sites
may be partly offset by the addition of extra tests placed according to
random or judgemental criteria, or both. A totally random sampling scheme
would overcome the size bias, but could leave some areas entirely unexamined.
The square grid
frequently used in Phase I surveys does not actually produce a lattice
of equally-spaced sampling locations, because the diagonally opposed points
are actually farther apart than those "in line." Therefore, sites with
maximum horizontal dimensions equal to or slightly larger than the nominal
grid interval could be missed. Alternate arrangements of tests can lessen
this possibility (see Kintigh 1988).
density and distribution also affect the probability that a site will
be discovered even if a sampling point falls within a site's boundaries
(see Lynch 1980, Stone 1981). If the site location model indicates that
there may be sites with low artifact densities within the APE, then field
procedures should be designed accordingly. One way of doing this is to
increase the number of sampling points (i.e., more tests); the other is
to increase the size of probes.
As a corollary
to the above, low density sites may first appear as single artifacts in
isolated probes. Additional investigation, in the form of more and/or
larger probes in the vicinity of such "isolated finds," should be undertaken
in order to establish whether they are indeed parts of sites or truly
Historic Sites, Rural Settings
Methods and techniques for the discovery of historic sites in
rural contexts are largely similar to those employed for prehistoric sites
(South and Widmer 1977); and many of the same concerns regarding site
distribution, stratification of the APE, and the need for statistically
valid sampling apply (House 1977). However, the availability of written
and graphic records and visible physical remains will often make the stratification
of the APE into high, medium and low potential areas more precise, at
least for the later, better- documented periods. Nevertheless, the field
techniques for detecting the presence of sites--primarily surface inspection
and various forms of subsurface probing--are similar. A few techniques,
such as the use of metal detectors, are specific to historic period sites.
The basic intensity of examination used to identify historic sites should
be the same as that used to detect prehistoric sites.
previously, landscape modification has been an important aspect of historic
period culture and, therefore, a useful clue in the detection of historic
sites. Indeed, certain sites may consist primarily or exclusively of relatively
large-scale features with few associated artifacts. This is especially
true of some kinds of industrial sites. Part of any field investigation
should be a consistent search for evidence of such features as might exist
in the APE, based on expectations developed in the background investigation.
As with prehistoric
sites, some historic sites may now be inundated or contained within wetlands.
Potential for such sites should be identified by the background investigation,
and field procedures should be selected with and eye toward identifying
Phase I investigations in urban settings rely heavily on documentary
research. It is often logistically difficult to conduct shovel testing
or other forms of subsurface probing at this level of investigation. The
decision to proceed with Phase I field survey or to terminate the investigation
can often be made by reviewing documentary information when that information
indicates that archaeological historic properties are likely to be either
present or absent. If it is appropriate for survey to be conducted, given
the accessibility and other logistical difficulties frequently associated
with the investigation of urban lands, it will frequently be most efficient
to combine survey phases to include both inventory and evaluation for
National Register eligibility.
where access to the property is possible, a variety of subsurface testing
techniques may be appropriate. The selection of a technique should take
into consideration both the kinds and probable locations of the needed
data and the physical characteristics of the deposits which should be
sampled. If there is little or no structural material, either in the form
of standing architecture or destruction rubble, and the historic ground
surface is not deeply buried, then techniques used in rural settings such
as shovel tests or excavation units may be employed. However, in many
cases, the deposits are more difficult to penetrate and, therefore, alternative
techniques are necessary. These can include coring, augering, or boring
with a power rig, or excavation of trenches with a backhoe. Whatever techniques
are selected, the placement of the tests should be controlled as much
as possible by information obtained from the documentary research in order
to maximize the probability that relevant data is recovered and damage
to potentially eligible deposits is minimized.
Data Collection and Data Analysis Back to Contents
The analyses of
data resultant from fieldwork should focus on testing the project's site
location model. However, analysis should also include basic classification
of artifacts according to chronology, cultural affiliation, technology,
and function. There should also be consideration of cultural stratigraphy
including artifact depositional contexts vis a vis natural stratigraphy
for each investigated site.
should be cleaned (except in cases where this might impair future analysis)
and labelled or repackaged to clearly indicate provenience. Some categories
of artifacts may be discarded after they have been identified and recorded.
This includes modern objects and bulk items which have no diagnostic value
beyond their presence (e.g., coal and coal waste; and construction materials
such as mortar, brick fragments, and cut stone fragments). Representative
specimens of these latter items should be retained. Artifacts of all categories
should be recorded quantitatively.
be made for the permanent curation of artifact collection and records at
an approved repository (e.g., the New Jersey State Museum) as part of the
Phase I survey project design. The receiving institution should be contacted
in advance in order to ascertain their requirements. It may be possible
to discard artifacts not associated with a potentially significant site
at the conclusion of an investigation, but only with the explicit approval
of the reviewing agency and the repository.
See "Guidelines for
Preparing Cultural Resources Management Archaeological Reports Submitted
to the Historic Preservation Office" (July 2000).
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