Early identification often allows for the preservation of cultural resources through cost-effective project redesign. Where preservation cannot be accommodated, a Phase III data recovery program is implemented to recover a set percentage of the archaeological materials present, typically ranging between 5 and 10 percent of the impact area. The recovery, processing, analysis, reporting, and curation of archaeological materials costs thousands of dollars per one meter square excavation unit. Given that 20 to 50 such units are often required to meet the mandated sample percentage, costs can easily exceed that of project redesign. Again, early identification and evaluation allows for project redesign during the initial planning process.
How long will the cultural resource studies take?
A small Phase I reconnaissance survey may be completed in as little as one to two weeks from notice-to-proceed to submittal of a draft report. Larger surveys require larger crews, additional field time, or both. Phase II evaluation studies require field, laboratory, and reporting time and are highly variable. Phase III program are also too variable to estimate without specific project area and archaeological site data. An interim letter report to lead agencies with preliminary results will often suffice to permit development to proceed; a final, detailed report of findings is required for occupancy permit approval.