Phase 2 archaeological surveys are typically recommended or requested when a project is likely to disturb an archaeological site. This survey will recover additional data to document and determine the context, integrity, and significance of a particular site. Many projects in which a Phase 2 is conducted do not end up going into a Phase 3 survey as additional work at the site would not uncover any additional information. Other options include the avoidance of the site altogether, thereby eliminating the impacts to the resource and the potential need for additional work. Southeast Archaeology can guide you through the process of dealing with a Phase II project.
Phase 2 surveys usually include field excavation and documentation procedures following standard practices for intact, stratified contexts. These include screening of all sediment, excavation of intact deposits in natural levels when possible and documentation of each excavation level with photographs, scale drawings, and completed level forms. When cultural features are encountered, they will be excavated separately from the general sediment matrix. Sometimes flotation samples will be collected to provide for recovery of carbonized botanical remains and small-size faunal remains that will be analyzed for data pertinent to prehistoric subsistence, seasonality of site occupation, and paleoenvironmental conditions.
In addition to the flotation samples, carbonized plant remains may be hand-collected. Hand-picked samples samples provided the bulk of carbonized remains that are sent for destructive radiocarbon assay. The hand-collected samples also provided an opportunity to identify fragments that have not been subjected to mechanical degradation through the flotation process. Test units will be excavated to basal cave sediments, bedrock, or impenetrable large roof fall. After photographic documentation and description of test unit profiles, all test units will be backfilled to their original contour.