Report Guidelines for Phase I Cultural Resource Surveys



  • Phase I cultural resource reports submitted to the Louisiana Division of Archaeology should consider both archaeological sites and standing structures.
  • Any archaeological sites considered in a report submitted to the Division must have site numbers assigned by the Division. Click here for site form procedures. Reports that present information on sites without site numbers will not be reviewed.
  • The Division expects all investigators to present professional quality draft reports. Once the Division has reviewed a draft report, a comment letter will identify items that must be addressed in order for the report to be finalized, and those items that are suggestions for improving the final report. After the comments are addressed, a revised draft or final report should be submitted in a timely fashion.
  • Investigators submitting reports to the Division must provide two bound copies of all reports. For final reports, investigators must also provide an electronic copy of the report in “pdf” format. At least one paper copy of appendix materials must be submitted with a final report. The DOA is requesting that a GIS shapefile (.shp) and all accompanying data files (e.g., .sbn, .dbf, .prj, .sbx, and .shx) be submitted for all new and updated sites as well as surveyed areas whenever possible. This information can be obtained by the use of hand held Global Position System (GPS) receivers. Currently, all the SHPO GIS data is projected in NAD_1983_UTM_Zone_15N.

At a minimum, a Phase I Cultural Resources Survey reports should consist of:

Front Matter


  • Report Cover - Include the title of the report (with the phrase “Phase I” included), the lead federal or state agency involved, as well as any other client, the contractor performing the work, the word "Draft" or “Final”, and the date of the report (month and year).
  • Title page - Include the title of the report, which phase work is involved, the author(s), the date written (month and year), the contracting firm and the lead federal or state agency along with their addresses, and the agency contract/permit number, where applicable.
  • Abstract – One page maximum. Include a brief summary of the project and project area, its size (acres and hectares), and the parish or parishes where the work was done. Include site numbers for all sites present in the project area. Summarize the results and the National Register eligibility recommendations for each site. Also, succinctly state any recommendations for additional work. If a Phase I project yields a large number of sites with a variety of information, use a table in the abstract to succinctly present the information. At a minimum in such a table provide the sites’ names, numbers, and recommended eligibility for the National Register.
  • Table of Contents - Headings should duplicate verbatim those found in the text. The Table of Contents should use leader tabs (e.g. ……..) between the heading and page number. All appendix materials should be listed in the Table of Contents.
  • List of Figures - Duplicate verbatim the first sentence of the captions of each figure in the text. The List of Figures should use leader tabs between the figure caption and page number.
  • List of Tables - Duplicate verbatim the title of each table in the text. The List of Table should use leader tabs between the table title and page number.
  • Preface or Acknowledgments - Include the names of the Principal Investigator, Project Archaeologist, other archaeological personnel, and the funding and/or sponsoring agency. If the contracted firm is listed as the author, describe here the individual authors and their relative contributions.
  • Pagination - The pagination for the front matter must be in lower case Roman numerals.

Report Body (In Chapter Format)

  • Pagination - The pages for all final reports must be consecutively numbered in Arabic numerals. Pagination by chapter numbers (e.g. 1-2, 3-5, 7-35 etc.) is acceptable for draft reports.
  • Introduction –Outline the scope of work, including a project description and a brief general description of the project’s history, the agencies involved, the project setting and boundaries, the purpose of the archaeological investigation, etc. Be certain to describe the project area and/or the area of potential effect (APE). If the project area and the APE differ, this should be made explicit in the report. List the staff and dates of investigation. Provide a detail of a 7.5’ USGS topographic quadrangle map showing the location of the area being investigated with a state inset map showing the project location within the state of Louisiana. If the project area extends into several 7.5’ quadrangles, provide individual maps as an appendix. All maps must have a north arrow, scale, and legend. Wherever applicable, provide a legal description of the project area that includes Township, Range, and Section. Also, provide a synopsis of the organization of the report in the Introduction. It is not necessary to summarize the results of the project in the introduction.
  • Environmental Setting –Limit the discussion to the geomorphology, soils, and other ecological information relevant to the development of the research design and/or the understanding of the site(s) being investigated. Do not include an extended discussion of environmental features unless it is relevant to the discussion and interpretation of the project results.
  • Culture History - Present a summary of the area's prehistory and history based on archaeological and documentary records that are relevant to the project area and project results. The purpose of the summary is to provide a framework for the analyses of archaeological remains, the determination of site significance, and the development of testable hypotheses and predictive models specific to the area of investigation. A chart, table, or figure presenting the relevant culture history of the region surrounding a project area may also be included. For projects involving historic sites, particular attention should be paid to land use history within a project area.
  • Previous Investigations (archaeological, historical and/or architectural where applicable) - This section should place the current project within the context of previous investigations, including the locations of sites and standing structures, appropriate methodology, results, interpretations, and significant research questions previous investigators have raised in and around a project area. Relative to these subjects, all reports of surveys, site forms, and standing structure forms within one mile of the project area must be reviewed and summarized for Phase I survey reports. For extended linear project areas such as pipelines, highway rights-of-way etc. investigators may consider all sites, structures, and previous projects within one half (0.5) miles of the project’s APE. This information about surrounding sites may be presented in tabular form, but must include, at a minimum. site or structure number, name (if any), and eligibility for the National Register.


Reports may also use summary tables to present information about the previous investigation reports. At a minimum, these tables must include the Division’s report number, the report title, the name of the cultural resource management contractor, the report authors, the year of submission, the number of sites or structures reported, and the site number for sites listed or recommended as eligible for listing on the National Register.

The Division currently provides to all qualified contractors and researchers a Geographic Information System (GIS) database of the locations of all previously reported sites. For Internet access to this database call the Division at (225) 342-8170 or email at The report must include a map obtained from the GIS database that portrays the locations of previously reported archaeological sites within one mile of the project area, along with project boundaries.
Click here for instructions to download images.
Click here for link to GIS FAQ page.

  • Cultural Resource Investigations


Standing Structures - Procedures for reporting standing structures within a project area for a Phase I cultural resources survey can be obtained from the Louisiana Division of Historic Preservation. Click here for a link to the Division of Historic Preservation.

Archaeological Field Methods - Describe the fieldwork strategy(ies) used during this project, including a thorough description of the field methods and the rationale for their use. The Division requires investigators in Louisiana to use the field standards for Phase I investigations. Click here for Phase I field standards. If investigators encounter conditions that lead to deviations from those standards, this must be explained in the report, preferably after prior consultation with the Division. Please include any correspondence between the investigators, agencies, and the Division of Archaeology concerning deviations from the standards in an report appendix.

Describe the definition of high and low probability areas and the resulting spacing of transects and shovel tests. Provide a map or narrative presenting the distribution of high and low probability areas within all project areas. Describe subsurface techniques (e.g., shovel tests, soil probes, augers etc.) and the criteria for their use among portions of the project area. Describe shovel test size and depths, stratigraphic controls, how the location was recorded, and state if the material was screened or hand troweled. Describe the location and spacing of transects and shovel tests. If surveys are for extensive areas, soil profiles may be too numerous to include in the Results section of the report. Describe the criteria used to select representative soil profiles for each survey area or site (e.g., average, modal, or range of depths of soil horizons).

Depict the locations of pedestrian transects and, when possible, shovel tests on a project area map. Ideally, open circles depict negative shovel tests and filled circles depict shovel tests positive for cultural deposits. All color maps must be legible and understandable when copied in black and white.

Describe any surface survey techniques and any differences in strategies employed among probability zones, areas of variable visibility, or sites. Note methods of collection, intervals between collectors, and surface conditions.

Describe the methodology used for the determination of the boundaries for any site encountered during a Phase I survey. Click here for site definition standards.

Describe the techniques used to analyze artifacts, as well as a brief description of artifact types. If applicable, discuss the criteria used for excluding certain artifact types (e.g. brick fragments, concrete slabs, wooden planks) from collections.

Include a statement that designates which federally or state approved curation facility will be curating any recovered artifacts, field notes, and other relevant materials. If recovered artifacts are requested by landowners, this must be noted in the report. Click here for the Division’s curation guidelines.

Results - Describe the fieldwork results, including the number of positive and negative shovel tests, and the analyses of all recovered or identified materials. Newly recorded sites and updated sites must be described individually (isolated finds can either be discussed individually or placed in a table). The presentation of all shovel test locations or shovel test transects within the project area is recommended, but not required for Phase I reports. The locations of all positive and negative shovel test locations excavated for site definition purposes, however, are required to be presented on the site map in Phase I reports. All sites described in a report must include a map of the site that includes site boundaries, shovel tests locations, topography, and features, among other elements. Provide at least one overview photograph of the project area and of each site described in the report. Clearly state the determination of eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) for each site and note which criterion (A, B, C, or D) applies to this eligibility. Sites should be described as Eligible, Not Eligible, or Eligibility Undetermined (further investigation required). The term “Potentially Eligible” is not an acceptable recommendation for the NRHP, in accordance with the guidelines set by the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP). Site descriptions in reports should be consistent with information presented on site forms submitted to the Division.

The results chapter(s) of the report should present illustrations of representative shovel tests excavated within a project area. All archaeological materials should be thoroughly described in the report, with citations for artifact classifications and chronological interpretations. Photographs and/or illustrations of representative diagnostic artifacts are encouraged. If more than one provenience at a site produced artifacts, the Division recommends the use of tables to present the data, with the number of artifacts or the presence of bulk material reported for each shovel test.

  • Summary and Recommendations - Succinctly summarize the results of the research and provide archaeological interpretations. Clearly explain the possible adverse effect a proposed project will have on cultural resources and make recommendations for additional work if needed. Include management recommendations relative to ground-disturbing activities and preservation or mitigation of impact on archaeological resources.


Usually for Phase I investigations, sites that are not eligible for the National Register require no additional investigations. Sites that are recommended as “eligibility undetermined” require further archaeological investigation: most typically a Phase II Assessment of Eligibility for the National Register.

Reports submitted to the Division as final cannot be accepted until all relevant site forms have been accepted. Click here for site form procedures.


The citations of other CRM reports, whether for projects in Louisiana or other states, should also include information about the agency or company for whom the project was done, the name of the cultural resource company or individual that conducted the investigation, and the Division report number when possible.

  • Appendices - Items such as shovel test forms, artifact catalog sheets, correspondence etc. may be included in a report as an appendix if they are cited in the body of the report. If artifacts recovered during a project are returned to a property owner or owners, any correspondence or other related documents must be included in the appendices of a report. Site forms must not be included as an appendix to a report.


  • Addendum Reports - When modifications are made to project areas after a Phase I cultural resources project has been completed, investigators may have to consider additional or revised investigations. Such investigations must be submitted for review as addendum reports. These reports should provide brief descriptions of the new project areas and describe the field investigations and their results as in the original Phase I report. Unless the new project area is far removed from the original project area, addendum reports do not need to repeat the information regarding the environment, previous investigation, or cultural setting.

Both draft and final versions of addendum reports must be submitted to the Division. The Division’s Section 106 staff will review both versions.

The titles of all addendum reports must include the title of the original report and the Division of Archaeology’s report number. An example using report numbers follows below:

Addendum 4
New Additions to the Phase I Cultural Resources Survey for the
Acme Pipeline, East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana
(Report No. 22-9876)

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