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Who is required to have an archaeological investigation conducted on their property?   In the State of Illinois there are two reasons you may be required to have an archaeologist conduct investigations on the parcel upon which you plan a development.

First, if you require a federal permit  - a wetland permit from the US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS for instance - or if your project is receiving federal funding - from HUD for instance, you will be required to have an archaeological investigation conducted as part of the permit process. This is the normal Section 106 Process outlined elsewhere on this web site.

Second, you may be required under the Illinois State Agency Historic Resource Preservation Act to have an archaeological investigations completed. This law requires that all undertakings that need a state permit or license, or any project that receives state funds, must have an archaeological investigation completed before a permit or funding can be issued.

There are some provisions in this law that differ from the federal Section 106 legislation.  First, the State Historic Preservation Officer (SHPO) at the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA) has more authority than under Section 106. Second, only projects that are located within certain soil types are required to have an archaeological investigation. This is not true under Section 106.  Third, IHPA may require an archaeological investigation on land where Illinois Archaeological Survey site files housed at the Illinois State Museum indicate that an archaeological site has been reported in the past.

How do I know I am required to have an archaeological investigation conducted prior to development?   In most cases the permitting agency is the Illinois Environmental Preservation Agency or IEPA.  They have a check list you must complete before they will issue you a permit. You may need to contact the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency (IHPA).  They have a list of items they need from you in order to determine if you need to complete an archaeological investigation.  These requirements can be found on their web site under Initial Documentation Required for IHPA Review. If you provide them with the appropriate material they will let you know!    

The criteria set forth by the National Park Service are the minimum qualifications. Not all archaeologists have the experience, background, or staff to complete your Section 106 evaluation.  Most State Historic Preservation Officers keep a current list of individuals who have notified them that they meet the minimum qualifications for a professional archaeologists or historian as outlined by the National Park Service.  This list does not include all qualified archaeologists in your state.  It does not certify that an individual on the list is familiar with the Section 106 process.  In choosing an archaeological consultant, you should keep the following questions in mind:

1) Has the consultant successfully completed similar Section 106 evaluations in the past?  Is the consultant familiar with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) which will evaluate his/her report? 

2) Get references! Check with other engineering firms or developers. Every archaeological and historical consultant should be able to provide you with names of clients you can contact for references.

3) Has this archaeological consultant completed projects in a timely fashion?  

4) Is the consultant more interested in conducting archaeological or historic research than in helping you get through the process? Has the consultant and members of the archaeological staff completed Section 106 workshops conducted by either a federal agency or the State Historic Preservation Office?  Many archaeological consultants meet the minimum requirements outlined by the National Park Service; however, they may be unaware of the numerous laws and regulations that guide a project to successful completion.  If their staff is unaware of the process they may not be representing you interests.

5) Are any of the archaeologists on staff Registered Professional Archaeologists?

6) Does the consultant carry an adequate amount of insurance?