107.09 Archeological and Historical Findings

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MDOT’s archaeologist, Environmental Services Section, is solely responsible for administration of MDOT Trunkline cultural resources preservation requirements, in accordance with applicable federal, state and local laws, regulations and rules, including the National Environmental Protection Act (NEPA) and the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA).

In accordance with subsection 107.09 of the Standard Specifications for Construction the following procedure must take place if items of potentially historical significance (such as bones, artifacts or buried foundations) are encountered during construction. All project personnel shall treat any discovery as confidential. Photographs of finds may not be taken.

The laws include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Contacting the appropriate law enforcement/medical agency in the case of human remains discovery in compliance with Section 2853 of the Public Health Code, MCL 333.2853; MSA 14.15 (2853); 1982 AACS, R 325.8051.
  • No further construction in the area of discovery will proceed until the requirements of 36 CFR 800.13 have been satisfied.
  • Information about historic properties, potential historic properties, or properties considered historic are or may be subject to the provisions of Section 304 of NHPA and the Michigan Complied Laws § 399.4a; § 15.231(l)(p). These statutes allow MDOT to withhold from disclosure to the public. Information about the location, character, or ownership of a historic resource if MDOT determines that disclosure may:
1) cause a significant invasion of privacy;
2) risk harm to the historic resource; or
3) impede the use of a traditional religious site by practitioners.
  • Michigan law states, any person who willfully digs up, disinters, or moves human remains from their place of burial, or who aids in such activities without being lawfully authorized to do so can be found guilty of a felony punishable by up to 10 years in prison and a fine of up to $5000.

Engineer will:
  • Immediately direct the Contractor to cease operations and preserve the location/s of the item discovery (per specification)
  • Immediately contact MDOT's archeologist for consultation.
  • Immediately contact local law enforcement if discovery appears to be human remains
  • Provide plan of action to the Contractor, in consultation with MDOT’s Archeologist.
  • Order Contractor to resume operations in the affected work area only after approval from the MDOT Archeologist.
  • Review any Contractor requests for extension of time and/or adjustments.
MDOT’s Archeologist will:
  • Provide the Engineer direction as deemed prudent and necessary, including how to maintain compliance with applicable laws, regulations, and rules
  • Immediately consultant with state archaeologist, SHPO, Tribes, and others, if necessary, to determine an appropriate course of action.
  • Arrange a site visit with appropriate parties, if needed, to make determination.
  • If necessary, coordinate cultural resource work which may include obtaining disinterment/reinterment court orders/permits for human remains or any other necessary clearances.
  • Provide Engineer with appropriate course of action if suspension of work in discovery area is necessary. Assist in designing a plan for avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating adverse effects to the discovery area.
  • Provide Engineer with approval to resume operations.

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LAP Project Considerations

LAP Projects are subject to the same guidance (insert link to above) except the following procedures must be followed: The Engineer must immediately notify the MRC/DR and LRC. In lieu of contacting the MDOT Archeologist, the Engineer is to contact the State Historical Preservation Office (SHPO) Archeologist for consultation and direction. The DR may consult with the MDOT Archeologist.

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