The cultural resource professionals at Environmental Services, Inc. (ESI) have conducts archaeological investigations throughout the southeastern United States. These investigations include all levels of archaeological investigation such as due diligence, reconnaissance survey, Phase I cultural resource assessment survey, Phase II site evaluation testing, Phase III data recovery/mitigation, and machine assisted excavation/monitoring.
The Phase I Cultural Resource Assessment survey is a “presence” or “absence” test for cultural resources. These investigations involve intensive pedestrian inspections and shovel testing at regular intervals depending on archaeological site predictive zones (each state has regulations dictating the amount of tests necessary in a certain area, as well as the dimensions of the tests). This level of survey is requested by federal, state and municipal agencies throughout the United States; any cultural resources encountered is evaluated using federal criteria to judge whether the resource is potentially eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. Resources deemed potentially eligible are either preserved “insitu” or subjected to Phase II site evaluation.
The Phase II level of investigation focuses on the individual site that has been initially considered “potentially eligible” to determine if it is in fact “eligible” for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Tasks frequently employed at this level of investigation include digging shovel tests and formal excavation units in areas of artifact concentration to investigate for areas that may offer meaningful or significant cultural deposits.
When a site is determined to be significant and is eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, it may be preserved or it may be subjected to further analysis, called data recovery or mitigation.
Data recovery/mitigation or Phase III methodology is prepared through consultation with the review agencies prior to execution. This level of investigation can include large excavation blocks, unit excavation, and machine assisted excavation. Reports of investigation are reviewed by state and/or federal agencies, and following completion of mitigation activities, a project will be granted regulatory clearance and allowed to proceed with no further requirements from cultural resource agencies.
*ESI partners with select engineering and surveying firms in North Carolina for engineering and survey projects.