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Archaeology Mandates and Laws


The DHPA's Archaeology Team administers programs for protecting and preserving Indiana's prehistoric and historic archaeological sites and the valuable information that they contain. The DHPA is the central repository of archaeological records and reports for the state and also houses the state's official computerized database of archaeological site information.

The Archaeology Team's primary responsibility is to review, evaluate, and comment upon projects that may affect archaeological resources. Other duties include: implementing the state law providing protection for archaeological sites and human remains, maintaining standards and guidelines for the archaeology community, reviewing grant-funded archaeological projects, reviewing National Register nominations for archaeological sites, reviewing plans for development near cemeteries, providing technical assistance and advice to the public and professionals, and undertaking public education initiatives.

Environmental Review

The primary duty of the team is to review and comment on the potential effects of federal and state undertakings or projects on archaeological resources (USC 470f; 36 CFR Part 800; IC 14-21-1). The Archaeology Staff coordinates environmental reviews with the Historic Structures Review Section of DHPA and occasionally conducts site inspections and holds consultations with archaeologists conducting projects under these laws, rules, and regulations. Under state law, the Archaeology Team reviews surface and underground coal mining projects in Indiana (IC 14-34-3-10; 312 IAC 25). In addition, the team reviews development plans for projects that will disturb the ground within 100 feet of a cemetery or burial ground for the purpose of excavating or covering over the ground or erecting, altering, or repairing any structure (IC 14-21-1-26.5). The team also reviews environmental impact statements.

In an effort to reduce time and paper, the DHPA archaeological staff, with the assistance of the INDOT CRS archaeological staff has developed an Archaeological Short Report format. This format may be used for archaeological records checks and Phase Ia Reconnaissance regardless of acreage provided that no previously recorded sites are present and that no new sites are found. When an archaeological site, which includes isolated finds, is encountered, a full written report following guidance provided in the Current Guidebook for Indiana Historic Sites and Structures Inventory—Archaeological Sites and the Indiana Cultural Resources Manual will need to be submitted. For projects being conducted under IC 14-21-1, be aware of the requirements of 312 IAC 21-3-8 (d) regarding an abbreviated project completion report and 312 IAC 21-3-8 (e) regarding an archaeological records check or literature search.

Most archaeological sites in the state are located on private property. State statute and rules address issues such as artifact collecting, buying and selling of artifacts, archaeological discoveries and more.

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