Types of Archaeological Investigations

The City of Phoenix conducts or oversees several types of archaeological activities to comply with federal, state, and local regulations and policies:

Assessments
A review of site records and files at various agencies to determine if a proposed construction project will have an impact on historic properties and archaeological sites.

Survey
A physical examination of the surface of a property by a qualified Archaeologist.

Testing
The subsurface examination of a property through a series of backhoe trenches in which archaeologists clean trench side walls and record materials exposed in the walls. This usually involves a 1.5% to 3% sample of the total property area.

Monitoring
Monitoring involves an archaeologist observing construction as it occurs and stopping it if archaeology is found. Monitoring can occur in lieu of, or after, testing and data recovery.

Data Recovery or Mitigation
The full excavation of an archaeological site. Because of the large size of some sites, techniques include the use of backhoe machines to remove layers of earth (and asphalt) that cover buried archaeological materials. Removal of artifacts involves careful digging with hand tools, mapping, note-taking, and photographing.