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A historical context and archaeological research design for agricultural properties in California.
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A historical context and archaeological research design for agricultural properties in California.
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    Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) requires that federal agencies take into account the effects of their undertakings upon historic properties. Caltrans, in cooperation with the State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), prepared this document to assist with evaluating the information potential of agricultural properties in California in an effort to streamline Section 106 consultation. This document is the first in a series produced by Caltrans, with consultant-prepared studies covering mining sites, work camps, and town sites each bound separately. Caltrans plans additional studies as funding permits. Properties may be eligible for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) under any one, or combination, of four criteria. This document concerns itself solely with eligibility under Criterion D, which states that properties may be eligible for the National Register (NR) if they “have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.”1 National Register Bulletin 15 provides important guidance on applying Criterion D, which has two requirements that must both be met for a property to qualify: “the property must have, or have had, information to contribute to our understanding of human history or prehistory, and the information must be considered important.”2 An integral part of this study is a research design that explicitly demonstrates the connection between the information and the property, and helps define whether the information that a property contains is important or not. A good research design “specifies not only the questions to be asked, but also the types of data needed to supply the answers.”3 The importance of a good research design and interdisciplinary research cannot be overstated. The need for integrated and holistic approaches to site-specific research has proven to be a valuable tool in reaching defensible arguments regarding eligibility.
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