Report Guidelines for Phase III Data Recovery Reports


  • Phase III data recovery projects are needed when an archaeological site or sites within a project area have been assessed as eligible for the National Register of Historic Places and avoidance is not possible. A report for this type of project should reflect a high quality, scientifically based investigation conducted by an experienced professional archaeologist.
  • The Division of Archaeology expects all investigators to present professional quality draft reports. Once the Division has reviewed draft reports, 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, reports for Phase III Cultural Resource Reports should contain: Front Matter

  • Report Cover - Include the title of the report (with the phrase Phase III 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 (month and year) of the report.
  • Title page - Include the title of the report (with the phrase Phase III included), 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/hectares), and the parish or parishes where the work was done. Summarize the results and recommendations for each site investigated.
  • 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 captions of each table in the text. The List of Tables should use leader tabs between the table title and page number.
  • Preface or Acknowledgments - Include the names of the Principal Investigator and other archaeological personnel, and the funding and/or sponsoring agency. If the contractor 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 history, agencies involved, project setting and boundaries, purpose of the archaeological investigations, etc. List the staff and dates of investigation. Provide a detail of a 7.5’ USGS topographic quadrangle map showing the location of the site[s] being investigated with a state inset map showing the project location within the state of Louisiana. All maps should include a scale, north arrow, and legend. Wherever applicable, provide a legal description of the project area that includes Township, Range, and Section. Also, provide a synopsis of the report organization. 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 brief summary of the appropriate history and prehistory of Louisiana based on archaeological and documentary records for the site or sites being assessed. The purpose of the summary is to provide a framework for the analyses of the archaeological remains recovered during a Phase III data recovery project. Charts, tables, or figures should be used to present the culture history relevant to the Phase III investigations.
  • Previous Investigations - Summarize all previous investigations relevant to the site or sites being investigated. This should include all Phase I, Phase II, or other reports that have investigated the target site(s). Investigators may also include information about other sites in Louisiana or the region that provide a context for the site(s) being investigated.

Archaeological Investigations

Research Design - All research goals of the Phase III data recovery should be explicitly stated. These goals should address particular archaeological problems based, in part, on the State of Louisiana's Comprehensive Archaeological Plan (LCAP) (Smith et al. 1983). Relevant research "themes" outlined in the LCAP may be referred to, but should not limit additional elements for a research design.

Field Methods - Describe the archaeological field methods used within the project area. Please write in a manner that will allow reviewers and future researchers to reconstruct field procedures, determine why they were used, and understand what was observed. Summarize the techniques employed during the data recovery. The summary should describe the reasons for the placement of excavations at a site and the techniques employed during their excavation. Describe the size of excavation units, whether the material was screened or not, and through what size screens. Also, briefly 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 a collection. Also, include information on the procedures for collecting special samples within a project area such as flotation, C14, pollen etc. If investigators encounter conditions that lead to deviations from the Phase III field standards, this must be explained in the report. Please include any correspondence between the investigators, agencies, and the Division concerning deviations from the standards in a report appendix.

  • Curation - Include a statement that designates which federally 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. Please see our Curation Standards for more information.
  • Results - Phase III reports must include a map of each archaeological site investigated showing topographical features, existing cultural features (e.g., structures, roads, ditches), and the locations of all archaeological investigations such as additional shovel testing, remote sensing, test units, surface collection areas, auger testing or soil probes, and large-scale block excavations. If the additional shovel testing is extensive, representative shovel test profiles may be provided in the report. Present a description of each recorded feature within the report. All maps must have a scale, north arrow, and legend.

Profiles and Plan Views of Excavations - Representative profiles and plan views of test units and other excavations should be photographed and illustrated in the report. These illustrations should show the locations of cultural features and/or artifacts within the profiles or plan views. Use Munsell soil color designations to standardize the descriptions of the soils and provide general information about the soil matrices themselves (e.g., the sand, silt, clay, or loam nature of the soils). Use a scale and legend in all illustrations. Captions for all illustrations must clearly identify the provenience of the illustration.

Artifacts- The recovery of artifacts from identifiable contexts is the desirable result of Phase III data recovery investigations. Artifact analyses must clearly describe the methods and definitions used; typological identifications and chronological interpretations should be supported by appropriate citations. Photographs and/or illustrations of representative diagnostic artifacts must be included in the report.

Other Archaeological Materials - Phase III investigations may recover subsistence remains, radiocarbon samples, phytoliths, pollen, or other specialized samples. This material should be thoroughly described according to recognized professional techniques and their implications for the site’s research possibilities duly noted in the report. The provenience and nature of radiocarbon samples, especially, should be well documented.

Tables- If Phase III investigations produce a large amount of artifacts and other material from a variety of proveniences, then tables are the best format to present this data. Tables are required for each excavation at a site if artifacts come from more than two proveniences. The font size for tables in reports should not be any smaller than eight points (Eight/8 points) and the cells within tables must be outlined. As suggested by the SAA style guide, a table with more than 10 columns is best presented in “landscape” fashion in a report.

  • Summary and Recommendations - Succinctly summarize the results of Phase III research on a site and provide appropriate archaeological interpretations based on the data obtained. This portion of the report must also address the success or failure of the data recovery to meet the project’s research goals.
  • Site Update Forms - Reports submitted to the Division as final cannot be accepted until all relevant site forms have been accepted. Site descriptions in reports should be consistent with information presented on site forms submitted to the Division. Please see our Site Form pages for more information.

A list of references cited should follow the summary chapter of the report. The citations of other CRM reports, whether for projects in Louisiana or other states, should also follow SAA format, but also include information about the agency or company for whom the project was done. Also, include the name of the cultural resources contractor or individual that conducted the investigation, and the Division report number when possible.

  • Appendices - Information such as project artifact inventories, radiocarbon analysis forms, correspondence, etc. may be included as a report 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, inventory of returned materials and other related documents must be included in an appendix. Site forms must not be included as an appendix.
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