Guidelines for Phase I, II, and III archaeological Investigations and Technical Report Preparation Prepared by the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office Written by Patrick Trader Edited by Joanna Wilson Preface



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I. Introduction

The following guidelines for archaeological and historical studies reviewed by the West Virginia State Historic Preservation Office (WVSHPO) were developed to assist researchers in conforming to the standards for cultural resource projects currently accepted by regulatory agencies and the professional archaeological community. These guidelines represent minimum standards and do not preclude innovative strategies. Alternative approaches or variations to approved scopes of work, however, must be reviewed and approved by the State Historic Preservation Office prior to fieldwork, and be justified by references to recognized literature regarding archaeological methods and techniques.
Included in these guidelines are professional qualifications for principal investigators, a guide for conducting literature reviews and site-file searches, current curation regulations, and provisions for encountering human skeletal remains. Also included are current state guidelines for conducting independent archaeological research and excavations.
The WVSHPO reviews projects to determine what effects, if any, they may have upon significant cultural resources as outlined within Federal and State laws and regulations. These include Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA), as amended, and its implementing regulations, 36 CFR 800: "Protection of Historic Properties", the National Environmental Policy Act of 1969, The Archaeological and Historic Preservation Act of 1974, and West Virginia State Code 29-1-8, and its implementing regulations, Title 82, Series 2: “Standards and Procedures for Administering State Historic Preservation Programs”. Other mandatory regulations include State Code 29-1-8a, "Protection of human skeletal remains, grave artifacts and grave markers; permits for excavation and removal; penalties", and its implementing regulations, Title 82, Series 3: "Standards and Procedures for Granting Permits to Excavate Archaeological Sites and Unmarked Graves". The WVSHPO also assists federal and state agencies in the review of and compliance with their cultural resource regulations, including the implementation of Programmatic Agreements, Memoranda of Agreement and Memoranda of Understanding.
As part of the review process, the WVSHPO may recommend archaeological investigations within a given project area or Area of Potential Effect (APE). The necessity for an archaeological investigation is based on the proximity of known archaeological sites within or near the project area, and the probability that archaeological sites might be found within a specific landform. Review of existing land conditions also contributes to this process of determination. If there is a moderate or high probability that archaeological sites may be found within a defined APE, then an archaeological investigation is recommended. The following guidelines have been developed to aid archaeologists in conducting such investigations in the State of West Virginia.

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