How does archaeology happen in New York City?
Archaeological work is primarily conducted within New York City as part the Environmental Review Process. Federal, state, and city laws require that government agencies assess the environmental effects of discretionary actions before undertaking, approving, or funding such actions. The effect upon historic resources -- which may include architecture and archaeological resources -- is one of the resource categories that must be considered under these laws. The Landmarks Preservation Commission assists other government agencies, by determining whether their projects may impact significant historic resources, and if they will, recommending and overseeing mitigation measures. Occasionally, archaeology is required under the Landmarks Law, which protects the city's architectural and historic resources and empowers the Landmarks Preservation Commission to identify, designate, and regulate buildings, districts, sites, and interiors considered significant for their architectural, historic, cultural, or aesthetic qualities under the Landmarks Law.
What is the Archaeology Department?
The Archaeology Department is responsible for assessing what impact proposed work may have upon potentially significant archaeological resources that are subject to the environmental review process and, occasionally, to the Landmarks Law. Once an impact is noted, the Department assists in determining how to mitigate that impact and oversees the needed work.
The Department consists of three professional archaeologists:
Amanda Sutphin, R.P.A., Director of Archaeology
Professor H. Arthur Bankoff, R.P.A., Advisor to the Chair for Archaeology (Part-time as he is also the Chairman of the Anthropology Department at Brooklyn College
Daniel Pagano, R.P.A. Urban Archaeologist,
Additional Sources of information:
Landmarks Preservation Commission Guidelines for Archaeological Work in New York City:
The LPC developed these reference guidelines for applicants and professional archaeologists to explain the entire review process. They include a brief explanation of the applicable laws, a general overview of the process, and then provide detailed information about each stage of work that may be needed.