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MANAGING ARCHAEOLOGICAL INVESTIGATIONS SUMMARY This NCHRP synthesis report focuses on practices that improve the cost, timeliness, and pub- lic benefit of archaeological investigations, in addition to those that streamline the overall transportation project delivery process and enhance the stewardship of archaeological resources. Information on these effective practices was obtained through a literature search and a survey of a variety of agencies and organizations. The survey involved state depart- ments of transportation (DOTs), FHWA state division offices, state historic preservation offices (SHPOs), Native American tribes, and cultural resource management firms. Thirty- four state DOTs, five FHWA offices, seven SHPOs, six tribes, and five cultural resource man- agement firms responded to the survey. The literature review and survey identified a wide range of effective practices associ- ated with the management of archaeological investigations. These practices fall into the following categories: Communication Internal Business Practices Project Delivery: Integrating Section 106, National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA), and Design Pre-Project Planning Innovative Approaches to Section 106 Steps Effective practices to improve and maintain good communication among agencies include having regular meetings that review ongoing and future projects; participating in collabora- tive efforts; and establishing joint objectives, goals, and processes. Discussions and consul- tations held outside of the requirements of individual projects are an especially effective means of building trust and communication. This is certainly the case with tribal consulta- tion, where general discussions on protocols and important issues are best held without the constraints and potential conflicts inherent in specific transportation projects. Good and continuous communication is critical, as poor communication results in conflict, mistrust, project delays, and increased project costs. Internal business practices include the size and make-up of DOT staff, the structure of cul- tural resource management consultant contracting, and the location of decision-making authority. Some DOTs note, for example, that having on-call or master contracts with con- sultants results in rapid initiation of projects with minimal administrative paperwork. A few DOTs use universities or other sister state agencies to conduct archaeological investigations. The benefits of this approach include increased flexibility, decreased administrative and con- tractual burdens, and consistency in work. Several states also believed that using in-house staff resulted in more consistent work products and streamlined communication between archaeologists, project engineers, and planners. Another important aspect of internal practices is the way in which archaeological inves- tigations (and compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act) are integrated into project design and the NEPA decision-making process. If archaeological investigations are not appropriately integrated into the NEPA process and project design, delays and conflicts result. Several state DOTs and FHWA state division offices avoid these

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2 problems, for example, by phasing archaeological investigations. Some states perform a sam- ple survey of each project alternative (studied in detail in the NEPA process) to evaluate the potential of each to contain significant archaeological resources. Full identification surveys do not occur until the preferred alternative is selected. Pre-project planning efforts establish frameworks and procedures that guide future proj- ect development and associated Section 106 reviews. These efforts include, but are not limited to, programmatic agreements, information technology/information management tools, and syntheses and treatment guidance for categories of archaeological resources. Programmatic agreements, in particular, reduce project costs and review time, allow greater flexibility in Section 106 compliance, focus Section 106 compliance on substantive issues and site types, and result in predictable project and preservation outcomes. These agreements are especially valuable for effectively integrating Section 106 compliance with the NEPA process. Information technology provides cost-effective ways to evaluate alternatives for transportation projects and to target survey and testing dollars on the areas where they will yield the most valuable information. Syntheses and treatment guidance provide frameworks for evaluating archaeological site significance and can predefine mitigation strategies for sites affected by transportation projects. In addition to employing innovative approaches to pre-project planning, several DOTs apply project-specific practices that enhance and streamline archaeological investigations and the steps in the Section 106 process. These practices include the use of geophysical tech- nology and creative mitigation. Geophysical techniques, which include the use of aerial photography, satellite imagery, and ground penetrating radar, are cost-effective ways of improving archaeological resource identification and evaluation efforts, and because they are nondestructive, they are appropriate for properties about which tribes have cultural or reli- gious concerns. A number of the states surveyed have turned the challenge of dealing with sites with lim- ited information potential and sites that have no evaluative context (i.e., historic contexts) into opportunities for creative mitigation measures. By dealing expeditiously (or not at all) with these sites and then retaining and redirecting the funds that would have been spent on these sites, a number of DOTs have been able to fund historic contexts and other studies that are needed for better evaluation and management of sites that will be affected by future trans- portation projects. One of the goals of this NCHRP study is to examine how agencies quantify the benefits of effective innovative practices. The questionnaires for DOTs and FHWA asked if they had quantified the benefits of implementing these practices and, if so, what measures they used-- cost, timeliness of project delivery, number of sites avoided, or other factors. Unfortunately, very few states collect this type of information. Those that had such information described their ability to reduce costs as a result of implementing various innovative practices. These states continuously work to find better and more efficient ways of doing historic preserva- tion compliance work; using such tools as programmatic agreements, smarter artifact col- lection strategies, and archaeological surveys that are postponed until they are genuinely needed during the NEPA and project design process. Another goal of this study is to identify future research needs associated with improv- ing the management of archaeological investigations. The questionnaires asked survey respondents to list the types of tools and research they would like to see in the future. Iden- tified needs included historic context development; protocols for geophysical investiga- tions; creation of a web-based repository or clearinghouse for archaeological information, data, and documentation; and a nationwide study on the use of site burial as a form of mitigation. Additional specific research needs include synthesizing and evaluating previous archaeo- logical investigations to better define significant archaeological resources and identify the

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3 most effective methods to manage such resources; evaluating the public benefits of archae- ological investigations; determining whether centralized or decentralized state DOT pro- grams impact the effectiveness of archaeological investigations; evaluating the effectiveness of agency-generated manuals, guidance, and training; and quantifying the benefits of innova- tive, effective practices.