Field Standards | Division of Archaeology

In conjunction with our new report standards we have re-evaluated and updated our field investigation standards. The new standards for both archaeological field investigations and reports reflect, not only the thoughts of the Louisiana Division of Archaeology but are also based on comments and feedback from Federal agencies and the Cultural Resource Management community.

Below are a few highlighted changes that we believe will help Federal agencies, cultural resources contractors and the Louisiana Division of Archaeology in carrying out their Section 106 responsibilities.

 Field Investigation Standards

  • Reconnaissance Field Investigation Standards - Under certain conditions these standards will substitute for an intensive Phase I investigation.
  • Urban Environments - Field investigation standards for working in urban environments.
  • Shovel test pits - Each shovel test should attempt to extend to the subsoil, or to a depth of 50 cm, whichever comes first.
  • Survey shovel tests are not necessary on topographic slopes greater than 30 degrees (except inclines with intermittent level terraces that should be tested) or in other landforms where human occupation is unlikely such as swamps, filled relict channels etc.
  • The results of all shovel tests should be recorded in field notes or shovel test forms.
  • Delineating Site Boundary - If an archaeological site is identified primarily by artifacts recovered during shovel testing, the boundaries should be defined by placing additional tests at 10 m intervals in the cardinal, or grid cardinal, directions from the original positive shovel test. These cardinal shovel tests should continue until at least two negative tests along each direction are excavated. Shovel testing for site definition should continue with additional shovel testing from each positive shovel test in the cardinal directions.
  • Investigators must provide the UTMs of the center point of an archaeological site by a Global Positioning System (GPS) device. At least four additional GPS points are required to define the boundaries of sites that are greater than 400 m2 in area.
  • Investigators must use a GPS device to locate four UTM grid locations and the site’s datum point during Phase II investigations. These UTM coordinates will facilitate the use of a site map in the Division’s GIS database.
  • Investigators can count or weigh bulk materials such as brick, mortar, plaster, shell, and gravel in the field or lab with only a representative 10% sample retained for curation. Bulk material samples submitted for curation may not exceed 250 grams (10.5 oz.) each without prior approval by the Division of Archaeology.
  • Phase II testing in Louisiana must consist of at least two excavated test units.
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