In areas with a rich history and an abundance of archaeological sites, cultural resource compliance can be a time-consuming and expensive process. It is therefore often prudent for a client to request a Reconnaissance study to determine the likely archaeological and historic preservation compliance issues associated with a tract. New South Associates commonly conducts such studies during developer’s due diligence phase, before the tract has been purchased, as well as for state and federal agencies that are reviewing various alternatives for large-scale projects. By reviewing the archaeological and historic structure site files, the listings of the National Register of Historic Places, previous research in the vicinity, local histories, and historic maps, New South Associates can generate an evaluation of the potential of a tract to contain archaeological and historic sites as well as the potential of a property to contain National Register eligible sites. Using GIS, we can develop site probability models that map the locations of cultural resources in a region undergoing alternatives analysis and can characterize the known and potential resources of each alternative to assess the potential impacts on cultural resources. Reconnaissance studies may also include limited field investigation to characterize the soils of various tracts and to document disturbance factors.
Reconnaissance investigations for developers result in a “red flag” report that identifies key archaeological and historic preservation issues and outlines the compliance process for the particular tract. For alternatives analysis, the Reconnaissance phase generates a report that summarizes and reviews the known and potential cultural resources of various project options and that highlights critical resources that require consideration. Both efforts provide our clients with a valuable planning tool at a minimal cost; one that can help avoid project delays and generate cultural resource cost analyses.