Historical and Architectural Surveys
Scope and Content
The collection consists of archaeological surveys, historical and architectural surveys, documentation studies of properties, and maps, produced for the Connecticut Historical Commission by archaeologists and historians. Other materials include books, CDs, posters, and pamphlets.
Most of the historical and architectural surveys were completed by selected towns in the state to inventory properties they deemed historical and noteworthy. These surveys often determined which properties would be eligible for submission to the National Register of Historic Places. Please note that the forms for the NRHP submissions are not kept with the CHPC; they are kept at Connecticut's Division of Culture and Tourism, in Hartford.
The Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) describes the archaeological survey process in this manner:
The National Historic Preservation Act mandates that all federally funded, assisted, licensed and/or permitted projects be reviewed by the Connecticut State Historic Preservation Office. As such, they review 1,200 to 1,500 proposed projects annually and, depending upon specific project location, will require the federal agency (or permit applicant) to employ a professional archaeological consultant to conduct appropriate historic and archaeological studies. Approximately seventy percent of the archaeological reports are generated from the federal review process.
The Connecticut Environmental Policy Act (CEPA) mandates that state agencies coordinate with SHPO regarding the consideration of historic and archaeological resources as part of project planning and development. Unlike the federal process, state agency assisted, permitted or licensed projects are exempt from the historical commission's review. It is only when the state agency proposes an action (such as, for example, a new campus building, changes in a state park, construction of a new prison) that SHPO has an opportunity to review and comment. Also, any proposed archaeological investigation on state lands (whether CEPA-related or academic research) requires a permit from the office. About ten percent of the CHPC archaeological reports are generated in this manner.
About thirty town governments have enacted Planning and Zoning regulations that require developers to consult with the State Archaeologist regarding archaeological sensitivity of proposed subdivisions. In turn, the State Archaeologist may require the developer to hire an archaeological consultant. Also, towns have chosen to require archaeological surveys, irrespective of its regulations, for especially complex or controversial projects as an important way to gather additional information about a proposed development area. This generates about ten percent of CHPC reports.
The last ten percent represents projects that tribal governments, town governments, and/or private property owners have commissioned to acquire baseline data about their respective properties. Other surveys may be generated as academic research projects (thesis-related).
[Thanks to David Poirier, former Staff Archeologist of the Connecticut Historical Commission, for the above description of the survey process.]
Documentation studies are generated when a federal or Connecticut-funded project has to take into account its affects on historical archeaological resources. The studies document the "before" structure or when changes in the structure mitigate adverse effects of changing or destroying the building. If the building is considered irreplaceable or very important historically then the State Historic Preservation Office decides whether or not to allow the project to proceed.
The collection is open and available for research.
From the Collection: 200 Linear Feet
Language of Materials
From the Collection: English