Glossary - Archaeology and History, Cultural Resource Management


"Archaeological site or "site" means a location where there exists material evidence of the past life and culture of human beings in the state.  A significant archaeological site typically is 50 or more years old. Examples of archaeological sites include campsites, pueblos, homesteads, artifact scatters, resource procurement or processing areas, agricultural fields, locales with one or more features in association with other cultural materials, and locales that have the potential for subsurface features or cultural deposits.

"Area of potential effect" or "APE" means the geographic area or areas within which an undertaking may directly or indirectly cause changes in the character or use of a cultural property.  The APE is influenced by the scale and nature of an undertaking and is different for different kinds of effects caused by the undertaking.  For archaeological sites the APE typically includes all areas involving ground disturbance but may also include areas adjacent to the disturbance that may be indirectly affected as a consequence of the undertaking.  For aboveground historic buildings, structures and other cultural properties, the APE often extends beyond the limits of ground disturbance and includes visual, vibratory and noise impacts to a building, structure, site, district, or cultural landscape and its setting and "viewshed".  Variation in topography, vegetation, and contemporary land use influences the visual impact on cultural properties.

"Areas of historic and scientific interest" means areas lacking surface evidence of cultural properties but where there is a high probability of finding subsurface  and cultural deposits or areas suitable for geomorphological or paleoenvironmental study.

"Cultural property" or "cultural resource" means a structure, place, site or object having historic, archaeological, scientific, architectural or other cultural significance.

"Excavation" means displacing, disturbing or moving soil or  from their current contexts or significant orientation in, or on, the ground within the boundaries of an archaeological site, isolate or area of historic and scientific interest using hand tools or mechanical earth-moving equipment.

"Historic structures and buildings" means structures or buildings that are 50 or more years old or properties less that 50 years old that either meet the requirements of national register criteria consideration G (properties that have achieved significance within the past 50 years) or properties that are likely to meet the integrity and significance criteria in 30 CFR 60.4 within 5 years of the date of recording.

(1)  A historic structure is an engineered construction created principally for the conveyance of water, natural resources, railroad stock or automobiles and trucks; or an engineered construction created principally for the extraction, refinement and distribution of natural resources; or an engineered construction created principally to support a function other than human shelter.  Structures include but are not limited to vehicular bridges, railroad bridges, engineered roads and highway, tunnels, dams, canals, turbines, pipelines, refineries, stamp mills, smelters, dams, power plants, silos, grain elevators or locomotives.

(2)  A historic building is a construction created principally to shelter any form of sustained or temporary human activity; or a functional construction created principally to provide shelter for goods, animals, machinery or instrumentation.  Buildings include but are not limited to houses, barns, stables, sheds, garages, warehouses, courthouses, city halls, social halls, commercial buildings, libraries, factories, mills, train depots, motels, theaters, schools, stores or churches.

"Human burial" or "unmarked human burial" means a human body or human skeletal remains and includes any funerary object, material object or artifact buried, entombed or sepulchered with that human body or skeletal remains.

"Intensive survey" means a visual inspection conducted on foot that examines, identifies, records, evaluates and interprets all surface-visible cultural properties 50 or more years old located in an APE or project area.

"Interpretation" means the inventory, registration, mapping and analysis of cultural properties and public educational programs designed to prevent the loss of cultural properties.

"Isolate means a single object or artifact or a few artifacts greater than 50 or more years old that lack clear association.  Examples of isolates include a single flake, projectile point, potsherd, sherds from a single broken pottery vessel, pieces of glass from a single bottle or a single feature that lacks integrity.

"Items of cultural and religious significance" means ceremonial or cultural items, such as funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony.

"Limited tests" means the systematic placement of probes, cores, shovel tests or similar tests using hand tools.  Limited tests are conducted during survey to augment survey-level information on an archaeological site or isolate without substantially damaging or diminishing the integrity of the archaeological site.  The total surface disturbance resulting from the limited tests shall not exceed five one-hundredths percent (.05%) of the area of the site surface.

"Material remains" means any tangible evidence of past human life or activities.  Such evidence includes:

(1)  naturally occurring objects or raw materials extracted for use in the production of human-made objects or for other uses by humans that can be found within an archaeological site, or another context from which intended or actual human use can be reasonably inferred;

(2)  items manufactured or modified by humans, including whole or fragmentary tools, implements, containers, and other objects such as pottery, ceramics, basketry, cordage, weavings, textiles, glassware, flaked stone, ground stone, pecked stone, worked bone, metal, wood, hide, feathers and pigments;

(3)  byproducts, waste products and debris resulting from the manufacture or use of human-made items or from the human use of natural materials;

(4)  organic material deposited through human actions, organic material remaining from the decay of perishable objects manufactured or modified by humans, and organic material deposited through natural processes when found within an archaeological site including without limitation soil or sediment samples, botanical and animal remains and coprolites; or

(5)  human remains including without limitation bone, mummified flesh, teeth, the remains of cremations, any associated artifacts and objects, and the soil, sediments, or other matrix in which the human remains and associated artifacts and objects were deposited or are now associated.

"Monitoring" means the presence of and visual inspection by a supervisory archaeologist on the ground immediately prior to and during ground-disturbing actions to ensure site protection, avoidance of site deposits or recovery of information from newly discovered cultural properties.

"Protracted areas" are simply places in the US where no formal surveying has been performed.   Examples include rough terrain (mountains & marshes), land grants, large rivers and drainage systems, Indian reservations, and much of Alaska.  In these areas, a land grid must be interpolated without employing traditional surveying techniques.

"Sample survey" means a pedestrian survey that identifies all surface-visible cultural properties within defined sample units of a larger whole.

"State land" means property owned, controlled, or operated by a department, agency, institution or political subdivision of the state.  Examples of state land, include but are not limited to:  state trust lands managed by the commissioner of public lands; department of transportation rights of way and easements; state parks; state monuments; state game and fish lands; county and municipal property including open space areas, leased lands, and rights of way; and lands owned or managed by public schools and state colleges and universities.

"Survey" means a visual inspection of land to examine, identify, record, evaluate and interpret cultural properties and may include limited tests but shall not include excavation or test excavation.

"Test excavation" means the systematic placement of probes, cores, shovel tests or test pits using hand tools, and test trenches excavated by hand or with mechanical earth-moving equipment to expose geomorphological soils and buried cultural deposits to determine the research potential and nature and extent of cultural deposits at an archaeological site without substantially damaging or diminishing the integrity of the archaeological site.  The total surface disturbance resulting from test excavation shall not exceed 5 percent of the surface area of the site area or 5 percent of the portion of the site that may be affected by an undertaking or project, whichever is less.

"Traditional cultural places" or "TCP" means a geographic place or area of cultural or religious importance to an Indian tribe or pueblo or other ethnic group.  Traditions include beliefs, customs and practices of a living community of people that have been passed down through the generations.

"Tribal consultation" means formal discussion with Indian tribes and pueblos that may have knowledge of and interest in the general area of an archaeological investigation to assist in identification and protection of traditional cultural places and items of cultural and religious significance.

"Unmarked burial ground" means a location where there exists a burial or burials of any human beings that are not visibly marked on the surface of the ground in any manner traditionally or customarily used for marking burials and includes any funerary object, material object or artifact associated with the burial or burials. [4.10.15.7 NMAC - N, 1/01/06]