As reported this month in wirelessestimator.com, a civil crew unearthed what was determined to be human remains while excavating at an existing cell tower site. It is believed the remains were part of an unmarked portion of an adjacent historic cemetery. According to the post, the tower is not registered in the FCC’s database.
While findings like this are extremely rare, this occurrence highlights the need to perform proper due diligence work on proposed tower sites during the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) Review process. In 2015, G2 Consulting oversaw a project associated with a proposed tower site near Lexington, KY. During the NEPA-related work, over 35 pre-historic and historic artifacts were discovered during a Phase I archaeological survey. The contracted archaeologist determined an enhanced scope of work to ascertain if any intact archaeological resources were present in the project site.
G2 facilitated coordination for concurrence on the enhanced scope of work seeking input from the Kentucky Heritage Council (SHPO), the FCC’s Federal Preservation Officer, and the consulting tribal entities for that area.
G2 worked with the various entities to agree on an approach in a timely manner. The Enhanced Phase I Archaeological Investigation determined that historical agricultural activities within the parcel had resulted in previous disturbance. It was determined that the project should proceed as development of the proposed communications tower would not result in disturbance of any intact historical resources.
G2 was able to utilize its experience to convey fieldwork findings to State, Federal, and Tribal entities and ultimately get clearance for the project with relatively minimal project delays.
G2 advises its clients in every NEPA Report, that should archaeological materials or human remains be encountered prior to or during construction of their telecommunications facilities, construction activities should cease and the SHPO, the Native American tribal entities, and other consulting parties must be contacted for further evaluation.