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Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Cultural Resource Assessment (Phase IA)?

The cultural resource assessment, or Phase IA, is a planning document that determines if any previously identified archaeological sites or historic structures are located on your parcel and what areas within your parcel have a high or low probability for containing unidentified archaeological sites or historic structures. Although the Phase IA does not satisfy regulatory requirements, it does provide an understanding of the level of effort needed for a subsequent Phase I identification survey.

What is a Phase I Identification Survey?

The Phase I identification survey is designed to locate any archaeological sites or historic structures located within a parcel through systematic shovel testing and visual inspection. It is frequently the first action requested for compliance with local, state, and federal regulations. It is then determined whether the identified archaeological and historic structures are potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). If an archaeological site or historic structure is found to be potentially eligible for listing on the NRHP, a Phase II evaluation will be recommended if avoidance of the site or structure is not possible. 

What is a Phase II Archaeological Evaluation?

The Phase II evaluation is conducted on an archaeological site that was found to be potentially eligible for listing on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) after a Phase I identification survey. The Phase II consists of an intensive level of fieldwork on the archaeological site in order to definitively determine whether it is eligible for listing on the NRHP. If the archaeological site is found to be eligible for listing on the NRHP, a Phase III data recovery excavation will be recommended if avoidance is not possible.

What is a Phase III Data Recovery Excavation?

A Phase III data recovery excavation is the detailed excavation of an archaeological site that is eligible for listing or listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The data recovery excavation is performed as mitigation for future impacts to the site that could not otherwise be avoided. Because the data recovery excavation is considered to be an impact to the archaeological site, a treatment plan and memorandum of agreement must be drafted and subsequently approved by all the associated regulatory agencies before fieldwork can begin.

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Darby O'Donnell, LLC           darby@darbyodonnell.com            804.564.2077