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State historical commission supports Deerfield policy

SOUTH DEERFIELD — Planners of potential archeological digs will now be informed of the town’s new accountability policy when they apply for a state field permit for investigations in Deerfield.

Massachusetts Historic Preservation Officer Brona Simon has agreed to issue the town policy to scientists when they seek a state permit.

“The MHC would be happy to include the Deerfield policy with state archaeologist field investigation permits issued to archaeologists proposing investigations in Deerfield,” Simon stated in a July 15 letter to the Deerfield Historical Commission.

“The MHC requires that archaeological permittees contact local historical commissions and local historical societies as part of their background research and notify them of their field schedules,” Simon added.

The official acceptance from the state is characterized as a major achievement by town Historical Commission member David “Bud” Driver, who proposed and pushed for the policy for several years.

The policy is gaining traction elsewhere across Franklin County. So far, the Northfield Historical Commission has adopted a similar policy. Erving is expected to adopt it as well.

Before any archaeological survey is started, the policy requests that an archaeologist meet with the Deerfield Historical Commission and present a state permit, research design and scope of proposed work, the contract agreement with the private landowner, and a property ownership plot plan showing boundary pins and a site preservation plan. No application fee would be required.

After a survey or dig is completed, the archaeologist would then bring a site report and artifact list and a preservation, display and/or accessibility plan to the local commission.

The policy is meant to enhance transparency, protect town cultural resources from being mismanaged and provide a contractual agreement between the private landowner and the archaeology entity.

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