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Protecting Sites (BHP)

Protecting Archaeological and Historic Sites

In the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, protection of our important historic and archaeological sites is administered by the Bureau for Historic Protection (BHP). BHP is a division of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, and serves as Pennsylvania’s State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).

BHP’s mission is to identify and protect the architectural and archaeological resources of Pennsylvania. The Bureau maintains a growing inventory of archaeological sites and historic structures. These inventories help Federal, State, and Local authorities manage and protect our historic resources. The process of inventorying archaeological and historic properties requires careful documentation and study of artifacts, sub-surface ruins, and standing structures. Much of this work is conducted by paid consultants who are hired by government agencies and private developers during large construction projects such as highways, pipelines, surface mining, commercial development, and planned residential development. However, a significant amount of the documentation and reporting is conducted by amateur archaeologists, artifact collectors, and community historians. Below are some important forms, guidelines, and resources provided by BHP to aid the amateur and professional in documenting and investigating sites. Documenting and registering sites is the best way to help protect and preserve our important archaeological and architectural resources.

The following files are provided from the Bureau for Historic Protection (BHP) web site.

PASS Annual Site Report 2012
PASS Site Density Map of Counties

Archaeological Sites

Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey (PASS) Form – This is the standard form for documenting and submitting an archaeological site for a Pennsylvania Archaeological Site Survey. Check out our Recording Sites page for tips on documenting archaeological sites.
Site Identification Criteria - What is an archaeological site? Here is BHP’s definition and guidelines.
Guidelines for Archaeological Investigations - Essentially a general guide for how archaeology should be conducted in Pennsylvania. This is intended for paid consultants working in Pennsylvania, but much of it is good policy for all forms of archaeological investigation.
Curation Guidelines, 2006 - These guidelines are designed for consultants who are preparing archaeological collections for submission to the State Museum. However, these guidelines are good practice for small county and local museums, and the private collector as well.
Archaeology Consultant List- A list maintained by BHP of archaeological consulting companies who are available for services in Pennsylvania.
Cultural Resources Geographic Information System CRGIS - a map-based inventory of the historic and archaeological sites and surveys.

 Historic Buildings and Properties

Historic Resource Survey Form - a standard form for documenting historic buildings and structures.
Historic Resource Inventory Form Instructions- detailed instructions for completing Resource Survey Forms
Cemetery Survey Form- a standard form for documenting historic cemeteries in Pennsylvania.
Cemetery Survey Form Instructions- detailed instructions for documenting cemeteries.

The above documents are provided in Acrobat.pdf files.
Adobe Acrobat can be downloaded free of charge from


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