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Archaeological Survey Data Quality, Durability, and Use in the United States

Findings and Recommendations

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  16 January 2017

Richard H. Wilshusen
Affiliation:
PaleoCultural Research Group, Boulder, CO 80304 (rhw1883@gmail.com)
Michael Heilen
Affiliation:
Statistical Research, Inc., Haymarket, Virginia 20169 (mheilen@sricrm.com)
Wade Catts
Affiliation:
Commonwealth Heritage Group, West Chester, PA 19380 (wcatts@chg-inc.com)
Karyn de Dufour
Affiliation:
Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, Carson City, NV 89701 (KdeDufour@shpo.nv.gov)
Bradford Jones
Affiliation:
Texas Historical Commission, Austin, TX 78701 (Brad.Jones@thc.state.tx.us)
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Abstract

High-quality archaeological surveys and data are vital to preservation planning and mitigation efforts. Federal and state historic preservation offices (SHPOs) are accumulating and reviewing more data at an ever-faster pace. Given the critical nature of this information, a SAA task force was charged with assessing current survey practices and concerns. Our review indicates that survey policies and archaeological standards have improved substantially over the last two decades, but SHPOs remain challenged by insufficient professional training for field archaeologists, the need for standardization and integration of new technologies in field work, reporting, and review, as well as the sheer quantity and variety of digital data. A number of analytical tools and metrics are available to assess data quality, but seemingly there is not time or money for states to evaluate how to improve existing and future survey data. We draw upon a survey of SHPOs, a review of current literature, and our own experience to assess archaeological survey quality, data utility and durability for current and anticipated future uses. We offer suggestions on how to move forward, including consideration of an e-106 system for streamlining transfer and exchange of digital data and upgrading current approaches to survey and planning.

Prospección y datos arqueológicos de alta calidad son vitales para los esfuerzos de planificación y mitigación. Oficinas federales y estatales de preservación histórica (SHPOs) están acumulando y revisando datos a un ritmo cada vez más rápido. Dada la naturaleza crítica de esta información, una fuerza especial de SAA fue encargada de evaluar las prácticas de las prospecciones actuales y preocupaciones asociadas. Nuestra revisión indica que las políticas de prospecciones y los estándares arqueológicos han mejorado sustancialmente en las últimas dos décadas, pero SHPOs todavía enfrentan los desafíos de insuficiente entrenamiento profesional para los arqueólogos de campo, la falta de normalización y la integración de nuevas tecnologías en el trabajo de campo, presentación de informes y revisión de formas, así como por la gran cantidad de datos digitales. Una serie de herramientas y métricas de análisis están disponibles para evaluar la calidad de los datos, pero al parecer no hay tiempo ni dinero para que los estados evalúen cómo mejorar los datos de las encuestas actuales y futuras. Nos basamos en una encuesta de SHPOs, una revisión de la literatura actual, y nuestra propia experiencia para evaluar la calidad, la utilidad y la durabilidad de los datos arqueológicos para las necesidades actuales y futuras anticipadas. Ofrecemos sugerencias de cómo seguir adelante, incluyendo la consideración de un sistema de e -106 para agilizar la transferencia y el intercambio de datos digitales y la mejora de los enfoques actuales para prospección y planificación.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Society for American Archaeology 2016

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