Welcome to the Advisory Council on Historic Preservation's (ACHP) Section 106 Archaeology Guidance. The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s (ACHP) primary involvement with archaeology is through Section 106 review. It has been estimated that more than 90 percent of the archaeological excavations conducted in the United States are done so pursuant to Section 106 of the NHPA.

Responsibilities for archaeology under Section 106 extend to undertakings such as construction projects and land and resource planning efforts occurring on federal lands, as well as those where federal agencies provide funding or issue licenses, permits, or approvals for actions on non-federal lands, including tribal, state, municipal, and private property.

Purpose 

The Advisory Council on Historic Preservation’s Section 106 Archaeology Guidance is designed to assist federal agencies in making effective management decisions about archaeological resources in completing the requirements of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) 54 U.S.C. § 306108] and its implementing regulations, “Protection of Historic Properties” [36 CFR part 800]. To encourage both effective and efficient consideration of archaeology in planning, this guidance highlights the decision-making role of the federal agency in the Section 106 process. This document is also designed for use by State and Tribal Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs/THPOs), Indian tribes, Native Hawaiian organizations (NHOs), and cultural resource management professionals when assisting federal agencies to meet their responsibilities under Section 106.

Web-based presentation and long-term vision of assistance

This guidance is presented as a series of questions and answers. It is designed to be a dynamic document, with examples used to illustrate the points and perspectives made here.

Each question has a unique answer. However, the answers complement each other in such a way that, when considering a specific question or topic, the user is strongly encouraged to access links to other answers and their questions, as suggested. Also, links to pertinent federal law, regulation, standards, and guidance are provided. Accessing this additional information offers the user a more thorough explanation.

We invite you to send your feedback on this guidance, your recommendations on additional archaeology topics that should be considered, and examples of successful Section 106 outcomes to archaeology@achp.gov.

Definition of terms used

Historic Property, Archaeological Site, Significance, Integrity, Value, Mitigation and Treatment

Background

This section discusses the origins of ACHP archaeology guidance.

Questions and Answers

The questions and answers are grouped under five main categories that mirror the steps in the Section 106 process.

  • Getting started in the Section 106 process
  • Section 106 consultation about archaeology
  • Determining which archaeological sites are significant
  • Reaching agreement on appropriate treatment
  • Completing the Section 106 process

Index

A complete list of questions can be found in the index.

A reference guide to assist federal agencies in making effective decisions about archaeological sites