Architectural and Archaeological Surveys

The materials linked to this page provide guidance on how to carry out and report on architectural and archaeological surveys in Delaware.

What is a survey?

Survey is the physical search for and recording of historic buildings, structures, archaeological sites and other types of cultural resources. Survey includes background research, fieldwork and writing reports. Fieldwork covers resources that are visible above the ground or may be present below the ground surface or underwater.

Why are surveys performed?

Surveys provide information about where resources are located, what they are and how important they may be to our knowledge and understanding of the past. Such information is crucial to planning for specific projects, and assists in managing and protecting cultural resources.

What is the purpose of the state’s survey guidance?

The Delaware State Historic Preservation Office (DE SHPO) provides guidance to help surveyors meet currently accepted professional standards for research, fieldwork and reporting. The DE SHPO also supplies forms so survey data are recorded in a standard format. The forms become part of the state’s cultural resource inventory, which makes the results of surveys available for other researchers. The DE SHPO staff use this guidance when reviewing survey products.

Survey Methods and Reports

Delaware’s updated survey guidance is now available, with separate documents for architectural and archaeological survey.

The manual includes:

  • Definitions of different levels of survey and treatment activities
  • Recommended survey methods
  • Report guidelines
  • Links to relevant federal standards and guidelines

Follow the report guidelines in these manuals when preparing reports on all architectural surveys and on archaeological surveys that identify sites.

Use this link to access the Archaeological Survey Report Form and its associated Guidelines and Instructions. This form is to be used only when archaeological surveys do not identify any archaeological sites. The Archaeological Survey Report Form is a downloadable, locked Word document. Please contact our office at (302) 736-7400 if you are unable to access the document in this format.

Archaeological Collections

Archaeological surveys and excavations undertaken for state and federal project purposes create artifact collections, field notes, maps, and photographs that become part of the Delaware State Archaeological Collections. Other archaeological collections may also be donated to the state and become part of the permanent collection if the guidelines are met or at the decision of the Curator of Archaeology. Access Guidelines and Standards for the Delaware Archaeology Curation Guidelines

Survey Forms

This section includes Cultural Resource Survey (CRS) forms and instructions on how to record information in Delaware’s inventory (data coordination).

Use this link to access the Data Coordination Guidance and Survey Forms Instructions.

Downloadable copies of the individual CRS forms are available as Word templates.

Please contact the Historic Property Research Center Manager at (302) 736-7404 or to obtain form templates. 

Cultural Resource Consulting Firms

Cultural resource surveys are often performed by private consulting firms. If you are looking for a firm to hire, the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office maintains a list of Cultural Resource Consulting Firms who have staff that are qualified under the National Park Service’s Professional Qualification Standards (36 CFR Part 61) in the fields of:

  • History
  • Historic architecture
  • Architectural history
  • Archaeology (historic period and pre-contact Native American period)

In addition, some firms list a specialization in related fields which do not have specific federal qualification standards, such as:

  • Historical engineering
  • Historic landscape architecture
  • Site planning
  • Horticultural consultation
  • HABS/HAER/HAL recordation
  • Materials conservation
  • Industrial archaeology
  • Maritime archaeology
  • Soil science
  • Geomorphology/geoarchaeology
  • Faunal analysis and ethnobotany


This list does not constitute a recommendation or a guarantee of performance from the Delaware State Historic Preservation Office.

Use link to access the list of firms.

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