Archaeology at the Crossroads: New Directions in Transportation Archaeology in Florida: Recommendations for the Management of Archaeological Resources on FDOT Properties
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Archaeology at the Crossroads: New Directions in Transportation Archaeology in Florida: Recommendations for the Management of Archaeological Resources on FDOT Properties

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      A two-year Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) funded archaeological study by the University of South Florida addressed statewide patterns of archaeological site significance and their implications for archaeological resource management on FDOT lands. Road right-of-ways in Florida contain approximately 22% of all recorded significant archaeological sites, a figure which clearly underscores FDOT's management responsibilities and indicates the potential importance of FDOT's archaeological contribution to the body of archaeological knowledge about Florida's past. Specific accomplishments of the study include the development of an evaluation matrix for determining archaeological site significance in which sites are assigned overall point values based on measuring attributes in five categories of significance. The evaluation matrix provides a quantifiable means of determining archaeological site significance by comparing individual site attributes with those of associated sites in the same county in the categories of archaeological context and site type, among others. The evaluation matrix is presented as an improvement in the conventional means of significance determination using National Register criteria only because it factors in the specific nature of the site database of which the individual site is a part. The study also employed geographic information system (GIS) analysis to demonstrate that archaeological sites in right-of-ways are representative of site types and contexts present in the adjacent area, thereby indicating that generalizable, problem-oriented research can occur in right-of-way archaeology. Additionally, the project divided each FDOT district into settlement pattern areas, regions in which feasible and meaningful site location models can be developed. A total of 46 site location areas were identified statewide. Six specific recommendations are proposed to guide the future development of FDOT archaeological policy. These are: develop programs of public information about FDOT archaeology; make FDOT archaeological reports more accessible to researchers; promote archaeological excavations on FDOT lands; develop predictive models and other intensive sampling procedures for survey phases; examine and evaluate current site discovery models; and develop a management plan for the assessment and preservation of significant sites already identified in right-of-ways. Finally, an archaeological plan is proposed, consisting of the following four steps: identify settlement patterns within each district; develop research designs for sampling within settlement pattern areas; conduct excavations of all sites within the sample area at variable levels of intensity; and develop a predictive model for the entire settlement pattern area based on the results of sampling.
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