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Archaeology & Tribes


Federal regulations and laws, including Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act, and state laws (Pennsylvania State History Code) require PennDOT to identify significant archaeological sites that could be impacted by transportation projects. Archaeological sites include both historic sites from European colonialism up to the mid-20th century and pre-contact sites which are from Native American's first arrival up to European colonialism.  PennDOT has a staff of six archaeologists in engineering districts throughout the Commonwealth. We also have a cooperative agreement with Indiana University of Pennsylvania (IUP) to have summer college student interns,  and overseen by a PennDOT staff archaeologist, conduct investigations on small transportation projects. This program is known as the Pennsylvania Highway Archaeological Survey Team (PHAST).

Section 106 also requires federal agencies (such as FHWA) to consult with persons or organizations with an interest in protecting archaeological sites as well as federally-recognized Native American tribes and nations on transportation projects that may affect culturally sensitive or important places, objects or archaeological sites. There are currently 15 federally recognized tribes and nations with ties to Pennsylvania that PennDOT consults with on behalf of FHWA. Below is a list of those tribes and nations that PennDOT currently consults with along with a searchable map. The map allows you to identify tribes to specific areas of the Commonwealth. Five tribes consult on projects throughout the entire Commonwealth. Other tribes consult only in certain counties, while several tribes consult on projects for portions of counties (outlined in purple).  Additionally, the tribes and nations that PennDOT consults with have provided an overview of their histories and governance structure.