Minnesota Department of Transportation

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Cultural Resources


historical artifact

Mapping Archaeological Surveys

Places where surveys were conducted are mapped only for archaeology.  For historical/architectural surveys, the entire APE will be surveyed.  All shapefiles representing surveys will have the same attribute tables (Table A-2), but feature types (points, lines, polygons) will differ, as described below.  A shapefile can only contain one feature type.

Boundaries of surveyed areas 40 acres or larger must be digitized as polygons.  Boundaries of surveyed areas less than 40 acres may be digitized as polygons if doing so saves time or best represents the area surveyed.  These polygons must represent the portions of the APE systematically covered by walkover surveys, shovel tests, excavation units, small diameter soil coring, geomorphic, or geophysical surveys and may include the entire APE.  Polygons must be closed.  Polygons must include one and only one survey method code.  If more than one code is applicable, create separate polygons.  This shapefile must be named surveypl.shp.

Surveyed areas smaller than 40 acres,  if not digitized as polygons, must be digitized as lines or points.  Use whichever feature type best represents the shape of the surveyed area.  If polygons are digitized for another purpose (such as reporting), do no go to the extra trouble of also digitizing points or lines.

If surveyed areas are represented as lines, the shapefile must be named surveyli.shp.  Line segments must include one and only one survey method code.  If more than one code is applicable, create a new line segment.

If surveyed areas are represented as points, the shapefile must be named surveypt.shp. Points must include one and only one survey method code.  If more than one code is applicable, create separate points.

Attribute Table Definitions for SURVEYPL, SURVEYLI, and SURVEYPT Shapefiles

Field Name Type Length Precision Scale Values


Text 40 0 0

Project Number, e.g.

SP 73-602-17

SAP 14-599-33

CP 193-34-206

If there is no project number, enter a descriptive term to identify the project.


Text 3 0 0 Use sequential numbers, starting with 1, to distinguish between the different surveyed places within each APE.  If more than one survey layer is mapped, the numbers must continue without repeating between the layers.  For example, the SURVEYPL layer may contain polygons 1-4, while the SURVEYLI layer contains line segments 5-7 and SURVEYPT contains points 8-15.
SURV_METH Text 2 0 0

Survey method:

1 - Informant report

2 – Surface survey
3 – Shovel testing
4 – Excavation units
5 – Small diameter soil coring
6 – Geomorphological survey
7 – Geophysical survey
8 – Other survey method (does NOT include windshield surveys)
9 – Disturbed, not surveyed
10 – Not surveyable (wetland or steep slope)
11 – No access
12 – Not surveyed, other (includes windshield surveys)
13 – Literature/map search, but no field survey

14 - Phase 1A (literature review & visual assessment)




9 8 1 Estimated size, in acres, of area surveyed.  This includes the size of the area around a point or line that was considered surveyed by the point or line.  Fractions (in 1/10ths of an acre) are allowed.  For surveyed points, 0 is an acceptable value.


46 5 1 Distance in meters from the point or line feature represented to its outermost edge.  In other words, the radius of a point or half the width of a line.  Do not report the distance from one outer edge to the other outer edge.  This field should be coded as 0 for polygon features, since there should be no additional feature “width” beyond the polygon’s boundaries.



3 3 0 Survey spacing within area surveyed (i.e. distance between walked transects or shovel tests) in meters.  This distance may be 0 for irregularly spaced transects mapped as lines or shovel tests mapped as points, but not 0 for these types of surveys mapped as polygons.  A value for spacing is required if a polygon is coded as having been surveyed by any method other than informant report or literature review.  A value of  0 will suffice for areas that were not surveyed.
CONTRACTOR Text 30 0 0 Name of contractor performing survey (ALL CAPS)
MAP_METH Text 1 0 0

Mapping method, e.g.
1 - Digitize from paper
2 - Generate from GPS
3 – Heads up digitizing

4 – Buffer centerline or point
5 - Imported from CAD or GIS data




4 4 0 Year of survey



6 5 1 Maximum survey depth, to nearest 1/10th meter.