Research for the AASHTO Standing Committee on the Environment. Task 98. Practical Guide for Developing Effective Scopes of Work for the Geophysical Investigation of Cemeteries

Cemeteries are a historic property type commonly encountered during surveys conducted for compliance with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) on federally-funded transportation projects. Many historic cemeteries contain unmarked graves and do not have well-defined structural boundaries. Due to the sensitive nature of these property types and the often restrictive state laws regarding the disturbance of graves, non-invasive geophysical investigations can be an effective tool in establishing property boundaries. Most state DOT environmental staff do not have sufficient technical expertise in geophysical applications for archaeology. A poorly scoped geophysical survey, unrealistic goals, and lack of knowledge of equipment or its limitations can lead to poor results and an unfavorable view of these useful techniques. Poor results also can lead to project delays and unintentional site disturbance. This research provides guidance on (1) the factors to consider when preparing and reviewing a scope of work for the geophysical investigation of cemeteries and (2) how to establish investigation and reporting requirements for a survey. The guidance is supported by case studies that demonstrate appropriate application of geophysical methods and is accompanied by an annotated bibliography of resources on geophysics in cemeteries.


  • English


  • Status: Completed
  • Contract Numbers:

    Project 25-25, Task 98

  • Sponsor Organizations:

    Federal Highway Administration

    1200 New Jersey Avenue, SE
    Washington, DC  United States  20590

    American Association of State Highway & Transportation Officials

    444 North Capitol Street, NW, Suite 225
    Washington, DC  United States  20001

    National Cooperative Highway Research Program

    Transportation Research Board
    500 Fifth Street, NW
    Washington, DC  United States  20001
  • Project Managers:

    Hartell, Ann

  • Performing Organizations:


    One Penn Plaza
    250 W 34th Street
    New York, New York  United States  10119

    New South Associates

    6150 East Ponce de Leon Avenue
    Stone Mountain, GA  United States  30083
  • Principal Investigators:

    Patch, Shawn

  • Start Date: 20160216
  • Expected Completion Date: 0
  • Actual Completion Date: 20180126
  • Source Data: RiP Project 39796

Subject/Index Terms

Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 01566283
  • Record Type: Research project
  • Source Agency: Transportation Research Board
  • Contract Numbers: Project 25-25, Task 98
  • Files: TRB, RiP
  • Created Date: Jun 13 2015 1:00AM