Minnesota Field Archaeology Act Glossary: Key Terms & Definitions for Developers and Consultants

Minnesota Field Archaeology Act Key Terms & Definitions

Advisory Council on Historic Preservation (ACHP): An independent federal agency that promotes the preservation, enhancement, and productive use of our nation's historic resources, and advises the President and Congress on national historic preservation policy.

Archaeological Resource: Any material remains of past human life or activities which are of archaeological interest, as determined under uniform regulations promulgated pursuant to this Act. Such regulations containing such determination shall include, but not be limited to: pottery, basketry, bottles, weapons, weapon projectiles, tools, structures or portions of structures, pit houses, rock paintings, rock carvings, intaglios, graves, human skeletal materials, or any portion or piece of any of the foregoing items.

Cultural Resource Management (CRM): The practice of managing cultural resources, such as archaeological sites, historic structures, and traditional cultural properties, in compliance with federal, state, and local laws and regulations.

Data Recovery: The systematic removal of the scientific, prehistoric, historic, and archaeological data that provide an archaeological or historic property with its research or data value.

Historic Property: Any prehistoric or historic district, site, building, structure, or object included in, or eligible for inclusion on the National Register, including artifacts, records, and material remains related to such a property or resource.

Minnesota Field Archaeology Act (MFAA): A state law that requires a license to engage in archaeology on non-federal public lands or waters, establishes standards for the conduct of archaeology, and provides for the preservation and conservation of archaeological sites and objects.

Mitigation: Actions taken to avoid, minimize, or compensate for the adverse effects of a project on cultural resources, such as archaeological sites or historic properties.

National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA): A federal law that requires federal agencies to assess the environmental effects of their proposed actions prior to making decisions, and to involve the public in the decision-making process.

National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA): A federal law that established the National Register of Historic Places, the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, and the Section 106 review process to protect historic properties.

National Register Criteria: The criteria established by the Secretary of the Interior for use in evaluating the eligibility of properties for the National Register of Historic Places.

National Register of Historic Places (NRHP): The official list of the Nation's historic places worthy of preservation, maintained by the National Park Service.

Office of the State Archaeologist (OSA): The office within the Minnesota Department of Administration responsible for issuing archaeology licenses, maintaining archaeological site records, and providing technical assistance on archaeological matters.

Phase I Survey: An initial field investigation to determine the presence or absence of archaeological sites or historic properties within a project area, typically involving background research, field survey, and limited subsurface testing.

Phase II Testing: A more intensive field investigation to determine the boundaries, integrity, and significance of archaeological sites or historic properties identified during a Phase I survey, typically involving additional subsurface testing and artifact analysis.

Phase III Mitigation: The implementation of mitigation measures to resolve adverse effects on significant archaeological sites or historic properties, such as data recovery excavations, historic building documentation, or public interpretation.

Programmatic Agreement (PA): A document that records the terms and conditions agreed upon to resolve the potential adverse effects of a federal agency program, complex undertaking or other situations in accordance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act.

Project Area: The geographic area or areas within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause alterations in the character or use of historic properties, if any such properties exist.

Section 106 Review: The process required by Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, which requires federal agencies to take into account the effects of their undertakings on historic properties and afford the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation a reasonable opportunity to comment.

Shovel Testing: A common method used in Phase I surveys and Phase II testing to identify the presence or absence of archaeological sites, involving the excavation of small, systematically-placed holes to examine the soil for artifacts or features.

State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO): The state agency responsible for administering federal and state historic preservation programs, including maintaining an inventory of historic properties, reviewing Section 106 undertakings, and providing technical assistance.

Tribal Historic Preservation Office (THPO): The tribal office responsible for administering historic preservation programs on tribal lands, assuming the responsibilities of the State Historic Preservation Office for Section 106 compliance on their respective tribal lands.

Undertaking: A project, activity, or program funded in whole or in part under the direct or indirect jurisdiction of a Federal agency, including those carried out by or on behalf of a Federal agency; those carried out with Federal financial assistance; and those requiring a Federal permit, license or approval.

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A Note to Our Readers: We hope this guide is a valuable resource in helping you better understand the . However, it's not a substitute for professional advice and doesn't cover every scenario. Always consult with regulatory bodies and professionals for the most current advice and project-specific guidance.