LPC Releases new Guidelines for Archaeological Work in NYC
NEW YORK – Today, the New York City Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC) announced the release of new Guidelines for Archaeological Work in New York City. These new guidelines, revised to reflect changes in state and federal regulations, as well as new methods and practices, will provide greater clarity for applicants navigating LPC’s environmental and archaeological review process.
“As New York City’s expert agency in archaeology, LPC helps other city agencies identify and minimize the impact to potentially significant archaeological resources arising from their projects,” said LPC Chair Sarah Carroll. “These new guidelines for archaeological work will make the review process more transparent and efficient, and will ensure consistency.”
“The ultimate goal of archaeology is to understand the past through what people have left behind,” said LPC Director of Archaeology Amanda Sutphin. “These guidelines delineate standards and establish consistency in archaeological methodology and practice, which helps ensure that archaeological discoveries will be accessible to agencies, scholars, and the public to better illuminate the past.”
LPC is the only city agency with archaeologists on staff. As such, it offers guidance and information to other city and government agencies whose projects require archaeological review. Archaeological review is needed when city projects involving subsurface work are subject to federal, state or city environmental review requirements. As part of the environmental review process, LPC reviews agency determinations about whether a proposed project could impact potentially significant archaeological resources. These projects may involve landmark sites such as designated parks or non-landmark sites. An archaeological report is completed at the end of the process, which documents the work completed and what was learned.
Over the course of a year, LPC consulted with more than100 stakeholders, including government agencies, professional archaeologists and organizations to revise its Guidelines for Archaeological Work, released in 2002. The suggestions and recommendations received helped inform the new guidelines, which were also reviewed by New York’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the New York State Museum. The revision and design of the new document were supported by a grant from the New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation.
“The completion of the new Guidelines for Archeological Work in New York City has been an exciting collaboration between the LPC and the State of New York,” said Daniel Mackay, Deputy Commissioner of Historic Preservation at the NYS Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation. “Funds for this project were made available through the state’s appropriation of the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Historic Preservation Fund, which provides critical funding to advance the protection of cultural resources across the state and the nation.”
The new Guidelines for Archaeological Work in NYC, available for download on the LPC website, include more information on important topics such as permanent datums –measurements of where archaeological resources are found, how to manage artifacts and the appropriate treatment of human remains. The document also includes new sections on excavation standards and archaeological analysis.
This update is part of LPC’s continuing efforts to ensure that archaeological findings for resources across the city are available to as wide an audience as possible. In 2016, LPC launched the NYC Archaeological Repository: The Nan A. Rothschild Research Center, a place to curate the city’s archaeological collections and make them available for study, and created a digital archive and website for the repository so that the public could access information about the collections. LPC also posts all of the archaeology reports completed through the archaeology review process on its website.
About the Landmarks Preservation Commission (LPC)
The Landmarks Preservation Commission is the mayoral agency responsible for protecting and preserving New York City’s architecturally, historically and culturally significant buildings and sites by granting them landmark status, and regulating them after designation. Since its creation in 1965, LPC has granted landmark status to more than 36,000 buildings and sites, including 1,415 individual landmarks, 120 interior landmarks, 11 scenic landmarks, and 143 historic districts and extensions in all five boroughs. For more information, visit www.nyc.gov/landmarks and connect with us via www.facebook.com/NYCLandmarks and www.twitter.com/nyclandmarks.