The purpose of a Phase I survey is to identify any cultural resources on the subject property. A Phase I archaeological survey usually includes documentary research, especially historic map research, and predictive model analysis. In addition to the documentary research, surface and subsurface archaeological surveys are conducted. The exact scope of work is often prepared in conjunction with the State Historic Preservation Office or other regulatory agency. In all cases, work is performed to satisfy requirements of the agency holding review authority.
Phase II cultural resources studies evaluate known cultural resources in reference to criteria established by the National Register of Historic Places. These criteria include architectural merit, association with historic events, association with persons important in history, and scientific value (that is having ability to provide important scientific information about the past). This phase of research determines whether or not a previously identified resource meets any of these criteria of the National Register of Historic Places and a resource is considered significant if it meets one of these criteria. Sites under local jurisdiction may be assessed under different criteria. For archaeological resources, it is important also to assess the structural integrity (that is the site must be at least partially undisturbed), the boundaries of the site must be determined, and the age and function of the site identified. This is accomplished through various methods, generally through close interval shovel tests and a number of larger excavation units. Remote sensing may be employed as well as controlled surface collection of artifacts. Beside field work, extensive historic research is conducted to provide a context to the resource and to identify individuals and events that might be associated, such as an important architect, or famous occupant. Should a project require, Edward Otter, Inc. can fill out National Register nomination forms. State site forms are completed on many projects and are routinely submitted.
Phase III archaeological study is conducted when all other mitigation options have been ruled out. Phase III studies can be extensive, depending upon the research potential of the site. Research designs are prepared in conjunction with the appropriate review agency. Large areas of the site are excavated, often yielding large numbers of artifacts. Detailed laboratory analyses of the artifacts and field records are conducted to produce a report that contributes to the scientific understanding of the site and the people that deposited the materials.
Some projects may have local or state requirements outside of Federal regulation. Easements or grant requirements may insist on archaeology as part of a project, usually associated with building restoration. Or a project may benefit from historical/archaeological studies. Edward Otter, Inc. has the experience to conduct these studies. One use for this type of study is to predict whether development will impact cultural resources. This knowledge would be useful in planning time and money to deal with the cultural resources up-front, rather than being surprised by a requirement that would interfere with established plans.
50 foot shovel test grid seen from space, Easton, Maryland