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Stewart 2002_pp37-54

Stewart 2002_pp37-54 - rasaanamea send“(are l“ W...

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Unformatted text preview: rasaanamea send“- (are) l“ W twat/ami— Publtd‘l’llflj COW, DMlg'i/tfibwq lower. FP' 37-5L[_ Fieldwork: Motivations and Design Conceptions without experience are void,- experience without conceptions is blind. WHY DO FIELDWORK? The practical reality of archaeological research enables fieldwork to be broken down into three general types of endeavors. The logical place to start is the dis- covery or location of archaeological sites or deposits, a process referred to as an archaeological survey, site survey, or reconnaissance. Once discovered, the focus of fieldwork shifts to testing the site, learning more about its physical attributes and assessing its potential to contribute to ongoing research. These first two steps may be combined in a single field effort, or may be sequentially staged. Intensive investigations of a local— ity represent the most focused research endeavor, employing information derived from previous work to design a strategy that will realize the value ofa site to enhance our understanding of the past. Not all site investigations are taken to this level. All fieldwork should contribute in some way to our knowledge of the past because of the finite nature of the archaeological record and the ethical principle of stew— ardship. This is made possible by the use of research designs and the collection of, minimally, data related to the horizontal and vertical dimensions of an archaeo- logical deposit, the range of material culture included in the deposit, any internal patterning, deposit age, forma~ tion processes, and deposit integrity. RESEARCH Fieldwork can be initiated solely to collect informa— tion related to a question, problem, or issue of impor- tance in contemporary archaeology, ranging from the methodological to the theoretical. Knowing what’s hot and what’s not entails attending professional meetings, Albert Einstein interacting with colleagues, and doing a lot of reading. Agencies, foundations, or any organization that pro— vides funding for archaeology have an impact on the types of problems or research questions that receive attention. There are, however, lots of unfunded, small— scale research projects in progress that cover a broad range of topics with potential local, state, and national significance. TRAtNlNG Training students should never be the only motiva~ tion for carrying out fieldwork. Numerous field schools in archaeology are offered through colleges and uni— versities on an annual basis (see chapter 10) and are (or should be) integrated into research programs, This integration is the ethical responsibility of any profes— sional providing training experiences, and it’s good teaching because it shows students in the most direct way possible the linkage between theory, ideas, and practice. ACCIDENtAi DISCOVERIES A lot offieldwork follows on the heels of accidental discoveries or finds made by the public, artifact collec— tors, and amateur archaeologists. in these cases you are not heading out into the field with a formal research design. But the perceived significance of a find and the level of effort that you are willing to expend in a fol— low—up investigation reflect your understanding of what has been found, and how it might enhance existing frameworks of history and prehistory. Of course, some unplanned finds are the seeds from which large projects grow, and any concerted field effort needs to have a research design. ' -- 38 CHAPTER THREE CULTURAL RESOURCE MANAGEMENT STUDIES The federal and state governments, as well as many local municipalities, have recognized that the past and cultural heritage have value, and have taken the respon— sibility to manage cultural resources in the public inter— est. Without question, investigations carried out in compliance with local, state and federal laws—”cultural resource management studies—account for the lion’s share of archaeological field projects in this country, as well as jobs, committed personnel and monies devoted to archaeology (Green and Doershulc 1998:1227l23; King l987). The development of a professional and national consciousness regarding historic preservation dates from the 19th century in this country. Federal laws and policy enacted since the end of World War {'1' are most important for an understanding of current practices (cf. Fowler 1982, 1986', King 1998). Appendix 2 provides a brief summary of the more important of these. They condition the practice of archaeology in the field and beyond. It’s not my intention to provide an in—depth look at the intricacies of cultural resource management (CRM); there are numerous articles and books that do so. But to be unaware of the basic framework of cultural resource management places the person interested in archaeological fieldwork at a disadvantage. Too much research is driven by compliance with the law for this aspect of the discipline to be ignored by any student or practitioner. The summary here conveys an outline of the way that the system works. The impact of cultural resource management on the design and implementa- tion of fieldwork is woven throughout the remaining chapters of this book. Archaeological resources comprise only a part of what falls under the umbrella of cultural resources, as King (19989) elegantly notes: . . . the corpus of ”cultural resources”, is a big, com~ plex, intricate mosaic of things and institutions and values, beliefs and perceptions, customs and tradi— tions, symbols and social structures. And it’s integral to what makes people and communities communi- ties, so it's charged with a great deal of emotion. . . By ”cultural resources? than, lmeon those parts of the physical environment—natural and builtwthot hove cultural value of some kind to some sociocul- tural group. Archaeologists working in cultural resource manage- ment may interact professionally with, or be part of teams that include historians, architectural historians, engineers, folklorists, cultural anthropologists, physical anthropologists, a variety of natural scientists, man— agers, planners, government officials, and of course, members of the public and interested communities. The archaeology practiced by professionals in the context of cultural resource management is meant to be the same archaeology practiced by those in colleges, universities, and museums. in fact, it can be much more. Existing eth— ical standards and codes of conduct are meant to apply to all archaeologists, no matter where they practice. From an archaeological perspective, there are a num— ber of themes that run through much of the relevant leg- islation guiding today’s work. Knowledge of the past is valuable, and notjust to professionals. An archaeologi~ cal resource can have significance from an academic or scholarly point of view, but importance can also stem from its value to living cultures. In turn, not all resources will have significance or value. Observations embedded in the ethical principle of stewardship are taken to heart. Archaeological resources are finite, frag- ile, and nonrenewable, and even professional investiga— tion results in their “destruction.” Preservation of sites should be just as important as realizing their scientific value through investigations guided by well—thought— out research designs. Human remains and grave goods deserve to be treated with respect. Federal agencies, those responsible for the manage— ment of public and lndian lands, anyone requiring or using a federal permit, or anyone using federal monies have to consider the impact that their activities might have on archaeological resources. Inventories of exist- ing archaeological resources have to be created before other decisions and procedural steps can be taken. Archaeology performed in the context of cultural resource management is not meant to be salvage, inves- tigating sites one step ahead of the bulldozers. It is designed to be proactive and part of a negotiated pro— cedure that gives a voice to all people who are con— cerned with a project in some capacity. Archaeology and cultural resource management are meant to be an integral part of overall planning. The National Historic Preservation Act (1966, amended l980, i986, 1999) has been called the corner~ stone law of historic preservation in the United States. ks: sir/trsuam . t sax-25 at a were iii:21moaswrttiéasaaeatavausmmrewoamiawsmeusagenerationsresonant» Y.,,,.r,_\,t,»?,_lw._t,.”was on...” .. . . . . ”was“ -:: "autansataarewtaramtmsamumwzasiw it builds upon and clarifies previous laws defining the governments responsibilities regarding cultural re- sources related to sponsored projects. It established the National Register of Historic Places, which is a listing of objects, structures, sites, districts (collections of individual properties), archaeological resources, lndian and Hawaiian sacred sites, and landscapes that have cultural or design values. In order to be listed, a resource must be determined to be significant at the iocal, state, or national level. The Act created State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPO). Each SHPO is appointed by the governor of a state and oversees historic preservation or cultural resource management activities in that state (Appendix 3). This is usually done out of a State Historic Preservation Office, also referred to as the SHPO. The initial review and processing of Nationai Register nominations is handled by the SHPO and a State Historic Preservation Board that it establishes. Today, there are also Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (THPO) with responsibilities for lndian lands. The powers of the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP) were expanded regarding the form mulation of regulations for Section 106 reviews and consulting throughout this process. The ACHP is an independent federai agency that advises the President and Congress about historic preservation matters. The Act includes statements about the funding of activities. In particular it notes that federal agencies may waive the 1 percent cap of total project costs to support historic preservation activities that was estab- lished by previous legislation. Section 106 of the Act provides the best crash course in what drives the archaeological component of cultural resource management. In a nutshell, the federal govern— ment and its agencies must take into account how their undertakings could affect historic properties. An “under— taking” can be any project involving construction, reha- bilitation and repair, demolition, or the transfer of federal property. Any activity that uses federal monies or loans, or requires a federal license or permit is also considered to be a federal undertaking. A “historic property” is defined as one listed in, or eligihie for inclusion in the National Register. if a project will have an adverse effect on a historic property. it must be determined how the adverse effect might be avoided, minimized, or mitigated. Throughout this process, the federal agency involved FiEElTJWORK: MO'I'IVATIONS ANrJ DESiCSN 39 must consult with the SHPO. The ACHP must also be given an opportunity to comment on any undertaking, although recent revisions to the Act state that the council will no longer routinely review decisions agreed to by a federal agency, SHPO, and/or THPD. At the outset, the agency responsible for a project iden— tities and contacts the appropriate SHPO or THPO for consultation. Plans are made to involve the public and other consulting parties. Determining whether there are historic properties that might be affected by a project is a phased operation, Recall that in the ianguage of the Act, a historic property is one that is listed in, or eligible for inclusion in the National Register. For the purpose of this discussion, we’re concerned about the existence of archaeological resources of National Register quaiity. You can think of the early stages of the Section 106 process as asking and answering a series of smaller questions that are embedded in the larger charge to consider the effects of a project on National Register or “significant” sites. First, are there any archaeological sites/deposits/resources located within the project area? Part of this question may be answered by checking the files and data banks maintained by the SHPO or THPO or other institutions that serve as archaeological data repositories. This background research might reveal sites already listed on the National Register, or in the process of being evaluated for possible inclusion in the Register. it might indicate the presence of sites that have never been evaluated using National Register cri— teria. Background research may also reveal that there are no known sites recorded for the project area. This latter alternative could lead to a speedy conclusion of the Section 106 review process if the lack of sites is supported by a previous archaeological investigation of the area, or other information clearly showing that there is no potential for sites to occur. Fieidwork becomes necessary to locate and identify archaeological resources within a project area (site sur~ vey) when existing information is lacking or incorri— plete, and subsequently to gather enough information to determine whether each site has the potential to be nominated to the National Register (site testing; deter— mination of eligibility). Site survey and testing may be staged as multiple operations or combined into single efforts. It depends on the nature of the federal under- taking and what is already known about the resources of the project area. These stages of fieldwork are AFTER THREE _ companied by additional background research that --'might aid in the location of additional sites, and pro— vides information for the construction of interpretative contexts in which the significance, or National Register quality, of an archaeological site can be evaluated. A variety of archaeological resources may exist within a project area and not all will require the same level of investigation. Rarely will all be shown to be significant or eligible for inclusion in the National Register of Historic Places. Prior to initiating fieldwork, the consulting parties will develop a scope—of—work that they feel addresses the needs of the project. Individuals and companies that perform archaeological research or cultural resource management studies (contractors) will prepare research designs and budgets in response to this sco_pe«of—work, and submit them as proposals. Minimal requirements for the conduct of archaeological research are included in federal regulations. In some cases, the SHPO/THPO have their own guidelines for the conduct of archaeo— logical research that are more detailed than federal reg- ulations, and which must be reflected in a contractor’s research design. Proposals will be evaluated and an indim vidual or firm will then be selected to perform the work. Reports are prepared detailing the purpose, methods, and results of the investigations by the contractor. The type and number of reports or documents that are cre— ated often mirror the way in which the fieldwork was staged. Sometimes archaeological studies are couched in larger documents that deal with other environmental and planning issues, like environmental impact state— ments. Popular versions of reports using nontechnical language may be prepared for public distribution. It is difficult to circulate technical reports in public because of the cost and the sensitive information that they con- tain. Detailed maps showing the location of sites in conjunction with detailed descriptions of stratigraphy and the site’s significance could promote unauthorized artifact collecting and digging. The technical reports must contain the recommen~ dations of the investigating archaeologist about the need for further action or research. At the conclusion of a site survey, no further work might be reconn- rnended because sufficient information was collected to determine that none of the sites in the project area are worthy of nomination to the National Register. Or it might be the opinion of the investigator that a small number of sites might have the potential to be nomi- nated, but others don’t. More work is recommended on the select few in order to make a determination of their eligibility. Reports are reviewed by staff of the Sl‘lPG and the agency sponsoring the project to insure the quality of the work, and to guarantee that appropriate procedures have been followed. Of special importance is whether or not the reviewers agree with the evaluations and rec- ommendations about the archaeological resources under study, and how the overall project should proceed. in order for any historic property to be judged sig- nificant. it must be evaluated in terms of the current sta— tus of American history, archaeology, and architecture. it must have integrity of location, design, setting, mate— rials, workmanship, feeling, or associations. For an archaeological site, this usually relates to the ability to accurately date deposits or the individual components of a deposit, and control for all of the processes respon— sible for the deposit’s formation and transformation. An archaeological resource must then meet one or more of four criteria which are spelled out in the National Historic Preservation Act. It must: a. be associated with events significant in the broad pattern of history; b. be associated with persons/lives important in history; c. embody distinctive characteristics ofa type, period, method of construction, or represent the work of a master artisan or possess high artistic value; or d. have yielded or have the potential to yield informa— tion important in history or prehistory. Archaeological sites typically get nominated under the last criterion “d.” Remember, too, that standing struc— tures and other types of historic properties that might fall under criteria a, b, or c can have archaeological components. It is up to the person preparing the nomination to show that a site is significant. This can be done by ref- erence to pre—existing syntheses of history and prehis— tory, and demonstrating how a site refines or adds to these frameworks. Some states have developed com— prehensive plans which identify important research questions and data. Likewise, the National Parlr Service has supported the development of “thematic contexts” that summarize all of the relevant information on a par— ticular time period, area, or theme, and identify impor~ tant research questions and data (cg, Grumet l992, 1995). Showing how an archaeological resource fur— thers the goals of a comprehensive plan or thematic context bolsters arguments for its significance in the nomination process. In many cases, however, the person .3: a a 3e 2%. . 2.aassessawannwanwwmawarmer.asstinaniswsiswésanmeawgassing; a: ,. I? i. t preparing the nomination must gather sufficient evi— dence and background to fashion a contest in which an archaeological resource‘s significance is made clear. The issue of significance .remains a ticklish one in the management of cultural resources (cf, Butler 1987; Darvill 1995; Leone and Potter l992; Lipe l984; Schaafsma '1989). Determining the significance of a resource requires the existence of some type of stan- dard against which it can be judged. Where do such standards come from? Value or significance is not inherent in an archaeological deposit or cultural resource. it is ascribed. It comes from the “outside” and is subject to the concerns of the moment, be they aca» demic, scholarly, social, political, or economic. Although the survey or site identification stage of a cultural resource management project is not designed specifically to collect data sufficient to determine site significance, it is often the case that many sites are eas— ily recognized as being insignificant in terms of National Register criteria. The information derived from them during the site survey is still of use, and becomes part of larger data banks. But further work would not add to an increase in usef...
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