Thomas F. King, Ph.D. The Archaeological Survey: Methods and Uses3
Chapter I: Introductions and Definitions
This volume is addressed to two major audiences. One is the audience of State HistoricPreservation Officers (SHPOs), Federal agency planners and administrators, and other non-archeologists who sometimes express confusion or uncertainty about whatarcheological survey is and what it means to them. The other audience is the archeological profession itself. To the latter audience we will be saying nothing new; we will bediscussing things that everybody knows but for some reason seldom writes about. Thevolume may serve an archeological purpose by saying these things, as simply as possible,in a single slender volume. To the former audience we will try to convey, in reasonably plain language, the process and problems of archeological surveying. At minimum theyshould be able to ask better questions about the process of identifying archeological sites.Archeological surveys are obviously necessary in order to identify those archeological properties that are eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. SHPOshave a lead responsibility for the conduct of surveys, under the authority of section 102 of the National Historic Preservation Act. Because SHPOs have lacked the funds to undertakesuch surveys with much dispatch during the decade since passage of the act, however, thegreat majority of the nation's lands remain un-surveyed. When a Federal agency proposesto undertake a project, or assist or permit another party to undertake a project that willdisturb such un-surveyed lands, it thus cannot usually receive much help from the SHPO.The agency then has no choice but to conduct a survey itself in order to obtain the data itneeds for compliance with section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and other authorities. Basic guidelines for archeological surveys, as one aspect of general historic properties surveys, will soon be published in the "Federal Register"
. These guidelinesnaturally sacrifice detail for legal precision and broad applicability. The purpose of this paper is to elaborate upon the guidelines.We have decided to use the term "archeological site" throughout this volume to refer to theobject of archeological survey. This is an imprecise term, which in other contexts we havetried to avoid (36 CFR 66, and King, Hickman and Berg 1977
). Archeologists areconcerned not only with sites but with buildings and structures, as well as objects anddistricts--the whole range of historic properties as defined by the National HistoricPreservation Act. This concern is briefly discussed in Chapter V. We have used "site" herefor two reasons: first, because we felt that a more general term like "historic property"would confuse some readers in the absence of a lengthy discourse on why we were usingit, and second, because in conducting a survey it is the search for nonstructural sites thatcauses the most trouble to SHPO's and Federal agencies, not the identification of buildingsand structures. At the same time, archeologists often have trouble dealing with theinformation content of buildings and structures, but that is a different issue. Anarcheological site, then, for purposes of this paper, is any location-on or in the ground andwith or without buildings, structures, or other protuberances, that may contain informationimportant to history or prehistory--i.e., that meets National Register Criterion d (36 CFR 60.4). Archeological survey involves seeking such locations and finding out enough aboutthem to decide whether they really do contain important information. This is notnecessarily a difficult activity, but it can be a time consuming one. Occasionally it is adangerous one, sometimes it is an expensive one and, most of all, it is a practice thatrequires thoughtful planning and organization. These are the primary topics of this volume.