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Archaeology & Tribes


Federal regulations and laws, including Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and state laws (Pennsylvania State History Code) require PennDOT to identify significant archaeological sites that could be impacted by transportation projects. Archaeological sites include both historic sites from European colonialism up to the mid-20th century and pre-contact sites which are from Native American's first arrival up to European colonialism.  PennDOT has a staff of six archaeologists in engineering districts throughout the Commonwealth. We also have a cooperative agreement with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to have summer college student interns,  and overseen by a PennDOT staff archaeologist, conduct investigations on small transportation projects. This program is known as the Pennsylvania Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST).

Section 106 also requires federal agencies (such as FHWA) to consult with federally-recognized Native American Tribes and Nations, in addition to persons or organizations with an interest in protecting archaeological sites, on transportation projects that may affect culturally sensitive or important places, objects or archaeological sites. There are currently 16 federally recognized Tribes and Nations with ancetral ties to Pennsylvania that PennDOT consults with on behalf of FHWA. PennDOT also consults with Tribes and Nations in Planning studies as well as NEPA Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements. A list of the Tribes and Nations that PennDOT consults is found below. 

PennDOT also created a publicly accessible GIS layer in its OneMap program for the geographic area of Tribe and Nation consultation. Within OneMap, the location of the Tribe and Nation consultation area can be overlain on PennDOT projects (or other environmental features).