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Professional Qualifications

A. Responsibilities of the Principal Investigator

The Principal Investigator is responsible for all aspects of the field work, report preparation and content, National Register evaluation recommendations, preliminary evaluations of project effects, cultural resource management suggestions, and proper curation of project artifacts and records at an approved curation facility. The Principal Investigator is also responsible for ensuring that all other project personnel have sufficient experience to perform assigned duties. Due to these responsibilities, the Principal Investigator is typically a senior, highly experienced professional, well exceeding the minimal requirements for professionalism established in the Secretary’s Standards. Each agency, institution or consulting firm submitting cultural resource assessment reports to the Kentucky Heritage Council / State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO) for review must also submit or have on file at the Kentucky Heritage Council curriculum vitae for each Principal Investigator as well as key personnel who may serve in a supervisory role. These will be reviewed by KHC Site Protection Program staff. Firms and organizations with qualified Principal Investigators and supervisory staff may be placed on the Kentucky SHPO’s list of Section 106 consultants. 

B. Qualifications for a Principal Investigator

The Principal Investigator is the preservation professional responsible for the overall quality of the background research, field work, and resulting cultural resource assessment report. All Section 106 investigations subject to review by the Kentucky SHPO must be carried out under the direct supervision of a qualified Principal Investigator who meets or exceeds the minimum professional requirements established in the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards, as determined by the Kentucky SHPO. Some agency officials may require additional experience beyond this minimum. Principal Investigators shall also have a good working knowledge of the Section 106 review process set forth in the Advisory Council’s regulation 36 CFR Part 800. It is critical that the Principal Investigator thoroughly understands the procedures for determining National Register eligibility, and for evaluating project effect on historic resources. Throughout this document, the terms “Investigator," “Historian,” “Architectural Historian” or “Archaeologist” may be used to mean the Principal Investigator, or qualified professionals working under the supervision of the Principal Investigator.

1. Secretary’s Standards for Professional Qualifications

The Secretary of the Interior's Standards for professional qualifications in archaeology, history, and architectural history are those used by all Federal agencies and have been previously published in the Code of Federal Regulations (36 CFR Part 61) and the Federal Register (48:44738-447390). 

a. General Information

  1. The qualifications define minimum education and experience required to perform identification, evaluation, registration, and treatment activities. Additional areas or levels of expertise may be needed, depending upon the complexity of the task and the nature of the historic properties involved. In the following definitions a year of full-time professional experience need not consist of a continuous year of full-time work but may be made up of discontinuous periods of full-time work adding up to the equivalent of a year of full-time experience.
  2. Please note that while additional years of experience and research may be substituted for the graduate degree for professionals in history and architectural history, the Secretary’s Standards do not allow for substitution of experience for the graduate degree for recognition as a professional Archaeologist. Also, there is no provision for “grand fathering” individuals who do not have a graduate degree in anthropology or archaeology.

b. History

The minimum professional qualifications in history are:

  1. A graduate degree in history or closely related field; or

  2. A bachelor’s degree in history or closely related field plus one of the following:
    • At least two years of full-time experience in research, writing, teaching, interpretation, or other demonstrable professional activity with an academic institution, historic organization, agency, museum, or other professional institution; or 
    • Substantial contribution through research and publication to the body of scholarly knowledge in the field of history. 

c. Architectural History

The minimum professional qualifications in architectural history are:

  1. A graduate degree in architectural history, art history, historic preservation, or closely related field, with course work in American architectural history; and
    • A minimum of two (2) years of full-time professional experience applying the theories, methods and practices of architectural history that enables professional judgments to be made about the identification, evaluation, documentation, registration or treatment of historic properties in the United States and its territories and
    • Products and activities that demonstrate the successful application of acquired prophecies in the discipline to the practice of historic  preservation or

  2. A bachelor’s degree in architectural history, art history, historic preservation or closely related field plus one of the following: 
    • A minimum of four (4) years of full-time professional experience applying the theories, methods and practices of Architectural history that enables professional judgments to be made about the identification, evaluation, documentation, registration or treatment of historic properties in the United States and its territories and 
    • Products and activities that demonstrate the successful application of acquired prophecies in the discipline to the practice of historic preservation.

d. Archaeology

The minimum professional qualifications in archeology are

  1. A graduate degree in archeology, anthropology, or closely related field plus:
    • At least one year of full-time professional experience or equivalent specialized training in archeological research, administration or management; 
    • At least four months of supervised field and analytic experience in general North American archeology; and 
    • Demonstrated ability to carry research to completion.

  2. In addition to these minimum qualifications, a professional in prehistoric archeology shall have at least one year of full-time professional experience at a supervisory level in the study of archeological resources of the prehistoric period.

  3. A professional in historic archeology shall have at least one year of full-time professional experience at a supervisory level in the study of archaeological resources of the prehistoci period.

C. Qualifications for Field Supervisors

The Kentucky SHPO may approve qualified Field Supervisors to carry out the field work under the direction of a qualified Principal Investigator, and to serve as the resulting report author. In some cases, additional areas or levels of expertise may be needed for Field Supervisors, depending on the complexity of the project and the nature of the historic properties involved.

1. For Archaeological Projects

In recognition of different levels of complexity and responsibility between Phase I, Phase II, and Phase III projects, the Kentucky SHPO accepts the following minimal qualifications for archaeological Field Supervisors working under the direction of an archaeological Principal Investigator. It is assumed that the Field Supervisor will be the primary report author. When this is not the case, the lead author must also meet the specifications outlined below. The SHPO may place any conditions or limitations deemed appropriate on the Field Supervisor if exceptions to these qualifications are granted. In the following requirements, “experience” means actual time spent in the field or lab, not a general period of employment. For example, five days of field or lab work would count as one week of experience, and twenty days would count as a month of experience.

a. Survey Projects (Phase I)

  1. Undergraduate degree in Archaeology or Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology;

  2. A minimum of four months archaeological laboratory experience; and

  3. Twelve months field experience in North American archaeology, of which at least three months must be in Kentucky or the Ohio Valley (southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, western West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee). In some instances analytical and report writing experience within the Ohio Valley may be substituted for up to two months of field experience.

b. Testing Projects (Phase II)

  1. Two years full-time graduate school in Archaeology or Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology;

  2. Demonstrated ability to analyze artifacts and write reports; and

  3. Twelve months of field experience in North American archaeology, of which at least three of the twelve months must be in Kentucky or the Ohio Valley (southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, western West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee) and at least four of the twelve months must be excavation. At least one of the twelve months must be as a Field Supervisor on Phase I projects. In some instances analytical and report writing experience within the Ohio Valley may be substituted for up to two months of field experience.

c. Mitigation Projects (Phase III)

  1. Graduate degree in Archaeology or Anthropology with an emphasis in Archaeology;

  2. Demonstrated ability to analyze artifacts and write reports; and

  3. Twelve months of field experience in North American archaeology, of which at least three of the twelve months must be in Kentucky or the Ohio Valley (southern Ohio, southern Indiana, southern Illinois, western West Virginia, Kentucky and Tennessee) and at least six of the twelve months must be excavation. At least four of the twelve months must be as a Field Supervisor on Phase I and Phase II projects. In some instances analytical and report writing experience within the Ohio Valley may be substituted for up to two months of field experience.

2. For Historic Architectural Projects

Historians and Architectural Historians working as Field Supervisors under the direction of an Architectural History Principal Investigator shall themselves meet the Secretary’s Standards. It is suggested by the Kentucky SHPO that Historians and Architectural Historians have at least 6 months of field experience in the eastern United States prior to serving as a Field Supervisor. Once approved by the SHPO as a Field Supervisor, the individual may lead a field survey of historic structures, make evaluations and recommendations of National Register eligibility, make evaluations of project impacts upon historic structures, serve as the primary author of a cultural resource assessment report, and perform other professional preservation activities. However, at all times this work must be conducted under the direct supervision of a SHPO-approved Architectural History Principal Investigator.

For Information:

Nick Laracuente
Site Protection Program Manager
(502) 564-7005, ext. 4566