In order to ensure a degree of uniformity in the approach taken by archaeologists in New York State to Cultural Resource investigations the NYAC membership developed a series of basic standards that were published in 1994. It was hoped that all archaeologists, private developers, local, state and federal agencies would make use of these standards toward the fulfillment of their preservation obligations under a variety of federal, state and local laws and preservation ordinances. The New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation (OPRHP/SHPO) adopted these standards and uses them as their guidelines for submission. NYAC has continued to consider and develop standards for more specific aspects of archaeological research, including urban, deep testing and underwater standards. While these have not yet been adopted by the SHPO they do serve as guidance to NYAC members.
Links to Various Standards
In 2000, NYAC realized that many non-archaeologists had a need to understand the Standards and the legal framework within which they were applied, but this was not provided by the detailed standards. To address this need NYAC created the “Cultural Resource Standards Handbook – Guidance For Understanding And Applying The New York State Standards For Cultural Resource Investigations. This document has proven to be very successful and is often in demand by the public and municipal officials.
While the SHPO utilized these Standards for a period of 10 years, they have recently provided additional guidance for reports submitted to their office for review. This additional guidance can be found at the SHPO website.
Archaeological Monitoring of construction activities has often been a necessary component of projects. However, such monitoring can be a controversial subject. Monitoring can be a difficult process and is often not the preferred method of investigation, however NYAC is aware that in some instances there is no alternative. IN an attempt to help our membership provide the highest quality work under often difficult circumstances, NYAC has developed a set of Monitoring Guidlines. These standards have not yet been accepted by the State Historic Preservation Office, and are undergoing revision, however they have been adopted by NYAC as at least a first step toward addressing a need for standards.