What Does the OSA Do?


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What We Do: The North Carolina Office of State Archaeology

Archaeological Resource Protection: We help protect endangered archaeological sites on private or public lands and waterways through application of state and federal archaeology laws and regulations. We work closely with private citizens, local governments, law enforcement officials, and other state agencies such as the Commission of Indian Affairs, State Historic Sites, and the Division of State Parks and Recreation.

Compliance Review: With the State Historic Preservation Office, we review federal and state projects or activities that have federal or state funds or permits and make recommendations regarding the potential those projects have to adversely affect historic properties. These reviews are done in compliance with relevant cultural resource regulations including Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, North Carolina General Statute 121-12(a), and the North Carolina Coastal Area Management Act.

Archaeological Data Inventory: We maintain a record of all archaeological sites recorded across the state, including those on public and private property. To date, more than 52,000 archaeological sites have been recorded within the state and the number of recorded sites increases almost daily. The information maintained by the OSA as part of the statewide site inventory includes site forms, maps, field notes, photographs, artifact collections, and other data sources that support the inventory. Comprehensive libraries of archaeological reports and publications are also housed at OSA facilities, for use by archaeologists, students, educators, and other agencies.

Other Technical Assistance: We provide museums, universities, and local government agencies with technical assistance on project planning, contract reviews, grant reports, and protection of archaeological sites. We serve as an important link between local, state, and federal agencies for all aspects of regulatory compliance, public education, and archaeological research in the state.

National Register of Historic Places: We maintain records of archaeological sites—like American Indian villages, shipwrecks, and colonial plantations—that are listed in the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) and help in the preparation of nominations. We also inventory sites not listed on the NRHP for purposes of resource protection and scientific research.

Public Education: An essential activity for the OSA involves public education programs on prehistoric and historic archaeology. We demonstrate archaeological techniques, give lectures, and prepare several types of publications on North Carolina archaeology. We also share information through workshops, symposia, and professional papers at archaeological meetings.