|The Preservation Act
The National Historic Preservation Act created a process for considering historic properties that includes identification and assessment of effects and adverse effects:
Architecture Resource Identification
Archaeological Resource Identification
Assessment of Effects/Adverse Effects
Architectural Properties include:
|| Buildings (houses, offices, stores, etc.)
Structures (bridges, silos, barns, etc.)
Objects (statues, ships, carousels, etc.)
Districts (neighborhoods, main streets, rural areas, etc.)
The first survey of the Corridor H project area (1995) found 549 single buildings, 8 single structures, 13 potential districts and 0 objects over 50 years of age, the first criteria for being "historic."
From the properties found in the first survey, of those 152 buildings, 0 structures and 7 potential districts were carried forward for in-depth study and evaluation. The properties not carried forward were determined not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (and not eligible for the protections of the National Historic Preservation Act).
In-depth study includes a detailed field study, land records research, library research, 2-page WV inventory form, 2-5 pages of history and description and 4-10 photographs including houses, outbuildings and landscape views. Of the properties studied in-depth, 26 individual properties and 5 historic districts are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (and are eligible for the protections of the National Historic Preservation Act).
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Archaeological Resource Identification:
Archaeological sites are the physical remains of human activity deposited on the landscape over time. Prehistoric period sites are Native American localities that predate European exploration and settlement, which begins about A.D. 1630 in West Virginia. They include:
|| Camp sites or bivouacs
Rock drawings or carvings
Ceremonial or mortuary sites
Historic period archaeological sites generally consist of architectural remains, settlement locations or the location of important events, such as:
|| Ruins of buildings or structures
Former transportation corridors (roads, canals, railroad rights-of-way)
Locations of archaeological sites are available at the West Virginia Division of Culture and History in Charleston (www.wvlc.wvnet.edu/culture/front.html) to qualified researchers. To discourage unauthorized excavation or looting, locations are not available to the general public. Whatever their nature or age, archaeological sites are a vital link to our Nation's past and have the potential to contribute important information on the lives of West Virginia's early inhabitants.
A three "phase" process, which can vary somewhat from project to project, is employed to comply with regulations protecting archaeological sites. While archaeological investigations for the project are nearing completion, additional sites may still be identified and further studied.
In Phase I, the project sponsor identifies all potentially significant sites within the project limits. Phase I begins with a review of what has been written and studied about the location, examination of the topography and environment, historic maps and other documents and a prioritization of the land area into high, medium and low probability for sites.
Areas where the probability of finding sites is low are carefully walked and inspected for artifacts. Medium probability areas are walked, and shovel test probes (round holes generally measuring 22" in diameter) are dug at specified intervals. For high probability areas, the same procedures are used. Additionally, deep trenches are excavated in areas where deeply buried prehistoric remains are likely to be preserved. Excavated soils are sifted through wire mesh to identify and recover even small artifacts. If artifacts are found, additional probes are excavated to determine the limits of the site. To date, over 40,000 test probes have been dug and screened in the Corridor H project area.
Original background research conducted for the project beginning about 1991 identified 152 prehistoric and historic archaeological sites in the Corridor H project area, as defined at that time. In 1994, 38 additional sites were identified during field testing of a prehistoric settlement pattern model devised for the project. Finally, Phase I testing conducted since 1995 to date has brought the total number of sites in the project area to 220.
In Phase II potentially significant sites are tested to determine their eligibility for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, generally based on their cultural or religious significance to Native American or other groups, educational value, or information potential.
Phase II testing may include the excavation of additional shovel test probes, test units (square holes generally measuring 39" x 39") and/or trenches. The dirt is sifted to remove any potential artifacts just like in Phase I.
Of the 220 sites identified in Phase I, 40 sites have undergone or are scheduled for Phase II testing. If a site is found to be not significant and not eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, no additional study is needed. Also, if the highway project is rerouted to avoid a significant and eligible site, then no additional study is needed. Only those sites that are significant and eligible and that are going to be unavoidably destroyed during project construction need to be carried forward to the Phase III level.
In Phase III, plans are developed to protect important sites. Preservation or avoidance is always the preferred alternative. However, if impact to significant sites cannot be avoided, plans are developed to extract the maximum amount of scientific information possible from the site prior to construction.
Two of the sites found to be significant and located within the construction limits of the proposed highway, the Mathias Farm Site Complex (46Hy286) and the Reed Farmstead Site (46Hy287), have been excavated at the Phase III level. From the beginning the intent has been to avoid significant archaeological sites whenever possible. The success of this approach is demonstrated by the fact that so far it has been necessary to conduct Phase III excavations on only two of the hundreds of sites initially identified.
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Assessment of Effects/Adverse Effects:
Once the historic properties protected (both architectural and archaeological) are identified, the potential effects of the project on the properties is analyzed. Effects can be good, bad or indifferent. Examples of adverse (bad) effects that are considered include:
|| Physical destruction, damage or alteration of all or part of the property
Isolation of the property from or alteration of the character of the property's setting when that character contributes to the property's qualifications
Introduction of visual, audible or atmospheric elements that are out of character
Neglect of the property resulting in its deterioration or destruction
Transfer, lease or sale of the property
Potential effects are predicted by consulting engineering drawings, current photographs, 3-D computerized modeling and noise measurement and modeling.
No architectural resources will be demolished as part of the Corridor H project. The significant archaeological sites that will be destroyed as part of the Corridor H project will be mitigatedthat is, Phase III investigations will be conducted by qualified professional archaeologists, and the results of the investigations will be made available to the public.
The assessment of effects/adverse effects is currently underway. The tally will change over the coming months. Currently, the resources assessed to date include 9 buildings, 2 archaeological sites and 2 districts. Of those, adverse effects are predicted for 5 buildings, 2 archaeological sites and 1 district. The adverse effects on the buildings and district result from the predicted visibility of the proposed road and the predicted increase in noise levels. The two archaeological sites are currently undergoing Phase III investigations.
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