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Georgia DOT is responsible for reviewing GDOT projects and filing appropriate documentation to ensure that all projects comply with applicable federal and state historic preservation laws and regulations. The Cultural Resources Section's review of GDOT projects is generally conducted under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (if Federally funded or permitted) or the Georgia Environmental Policy Act (if State funded).
The Georgia DOT must comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) of 1966 for federal funding and permitting. Section 106 requires agencies to consider the effects of their actions upon historic resources listed in or eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places when planning projects. The agreement identifies the responsibilities of federal agencies and GDOT in complying with all terms and regulations.
A traveling exhibit showcasing the Mississippian artifact assemblage from Long Swamp, a multicomponent archaeological site in Cherokee County, Georgia.
Tribal perspective on significance of Georgia and increased awareness of American Indian heritage and culture.
This section aims to acquaint the consultant, as well as any project sponsors, consulting parties, or the general public, with the policies and procedures that guide the GDOT History and Archaeology Units (collectively Cultural Resources Section) in accomplishing its mission. Below is a list of links to sites discussing such topics as curation standards required for project collections, the Environmental Procedures Manual (EPM) as it guides work for GDOT’s Office of Environmental Services, prequalification procedures for new consultants, and training opportunities offered to all consultants.
In addition, this section details the responsibilities of the Cultural Resource section and provides a reference to the Laws and Regulations under which our work is accomplished.
The Georgia Department of Transportation strives to engage the public in learning about Georgia’s past. GDOT attempts to promote the study, preservation, conservation, and public understanding of the state’s vast history to the citizens of Georgia.
To help achieve these goals, GDOT provides teaching trunks containing lesson plans and additional resources designed to help students learn more about archaeology and Georgia's history.
Teaching trunks are available and provided by GDOT for primary grades and middle-high schools. The teaching trunks provide hands-on archaeological experiences within a classroom setting and provide appropriate lesson plans defined to satisfy criteria for the Georgia Performance Standards.
Request Teaching Trunk
To inquire about the availability of GDOT archaeologists or historians for speaking engagements at Metro Atlanta schools, please contact archaeologist Williams, Siska (404) 631-1085.
Request Career Day Visit
Georgia Flashback is a fun and engaging website that was developed for eighth-grade students in Georgia. This site includes a game that teaches students about Georgia history, architecture, and cultural geography.
View Georgia Flashback Website
When considering subsurface archaeological resources, it is often helpful (and sometimes necessary), to use equipment that allows the archaeologist to see below the surface without digging. When historic trolley or railroad tracks are below existing pavement, they can be accurately located and mapped using ground-penetrating radar. When hearths or the burned remains of living structures left behind by American Indians are expected at an archaeological site, magnetic gradiometry and resistivity methods allow the archaeologist to conduct wide-area subsurface investigation without destruction. When cemeteries are located within or in close proximity to project areas, all three geophysical methods are useful in determining their exact boundaries and ensuring their safety.
For these and many other purposes, the GDOT Archaeology Unit operates a GSSI SIR-3000 ground-penetrating radar, a Bartington Grad601 fluxgate gradiometer, and a Geoscan RM-15 Resistance meter. As professional archaeologists, our goal is to employ these methods whenever possible, both in our own projects and in projects being conducted by consultants working under contract with GDOT.
Ground-penetrating radar is an active geophysical method that transmits electromagnetic energy waves into the ground and measures reflections off of interfaces between different subsurface properties. Since archaeological features typically have different physical or chemical compositions than their surrounding soil matrix, they will cause an energy wave reflection. Oftentimes this geophysical method is preferred as it collects data in three dimensions, allowing an archaeologist to measure both the vertical and horizontal extent of an archaeological feature.
Magnetic gradiometry is a passive geophysical method that measures and maps how the earth’s magnetic field interacts with subsurface magnetic fields. Past activities related to archaeological sites, particularly burning or concentrations of top soil, leave behind magnetic traces that are identifiable using this method. Archaeological feature types that are often distinguishable in magnetic gradiometry data are ditches, hearths, storage pits, and structural foundations. One major benefit of this method is relatively fast survey speed compared with other geophysical methods.
Electrical resistivity is an active geophysical method that introduces an electrical current into the ground and assesses how resistant the soils are to allowing the current to pass though. As with the other two methods, it is dependent upon soil conditions and the types of buried archaeological resources. Electrical resistance varies between types of soil and archaeological features. For example, a grave that retains moisture will be less resistive to an electrical current than a stone foundation wall.