Cultural Resources

Quick Links

Locate important information below regarding cultural resources, their protection, and management steps for projects involving ground-disturbing activities:

What are Cultural Resources?

Cultural resources can be defined as the physical evidence or a place of past human activity. Sites, objects, landscapes, structures can all be cultural resources. A cultural resource can also be a site, structure, landscape, object or natural feature of significance to a group of people traditionally associated with it. 

These resources provide the community with a tangible connection to its history and heritage. Federal, state, county, and City of Redmond regulations protect cultural resources and provide direction for their management.

  1. Archaeological Resources
  2. Historic Structures
  3. Cultural Landscapes
  4. Traditional Cultural Places

Archaeological ResourcesArchaeological resources provide tangible evidence of past human cultures. In the United States, archaeological sites are typically characterized as pre-contact (before the arrival of Europeans) or historic (after the arrival of Europeans). 

There are many types of archaeological resources but the most common are artifacts and features.


  • Baskets
  • Cans
  • Pottery
  • Projectile points
  • Shards of glass
  • Textiles
  • Tools


  • Hearths
  • Pathways
  • Trash pits
  • Vegetation
  • Walls

Activities That Can Harm Cultural Resources

Cultural resources can be damaged in many ways. Demolition of a building or destruction of buried archaeological materials through digging or trenching are common ways resources are affected by human activities. However, there are many intangible elements in addition to the physical features that are important to consider.

For example, dust from the use of equipment during construction or the frequent noise of vehicles could impact the use of a traditional cultural place by an Indian tribe.

Laws Governing Cultural Resources

In Washington State several laws protect shipwrecks, archaeological sites, Native American graves, and abandoned historic pioneer cemeteries and graves, regardless of the current state of maintenance. 

  • Indian Graves and Records Act (RCW 27.44)
  • Archaeological Sites and Resources Act (RCW 27.53)
  • Archaeological Excavation and Removal Permit (WAC 25-48)
  • Abandoned and Historic Cemeteries and Historic Graves (RCW 68.60)
  • Aquatic Lands (RCW 79.90.565)
  • Archaeological Sites (RCW 42.56.300)

In addition, the State Environmental Policy Act (SEPA), the Shoreline Management Act (SMA), the Forest Practices Act (FPA), and Governor’s Executive Order 05-05 require government agencies to consider cultural resources during the environmental review process. 

Cultural Resources Management in Redmond

A citywide Cultural Resources Management Plan (CRMP) regulates and guides private and public ground disturbing activities in the context of protecting and preserving cultural resources. The CRMP includes a combination of regulatory and guiding documents, and has been developed through the lens of significant input from signatories to a Memorandum of Agreement, affected Indian tribes, project stakeholders, the community, and City leadership:

  • Procedures encourage early consideration of cultural resources management requirements and communication with the affected Indian tribes and the WA Dept. of Archaeology and Historic Preservation;
  • Tools foster landowners’ stewardship and provide the appropriate guidance for projects to proceed;
  • Predictability supports project proponents’ opportunity to calculate risks and contingencies into project planning and feasibility; and
  • Permit conditions align with known sites and high probability areas.


Managing Cultural Resources on Your Site

(For developers and property owners)

Studies and information to prepare in advance of applications for development.  

The location of archaeological resources is protected by federal law. Ensure secure protocols for communications involving the location of archaeological resources. 

Please contact Planning and Community Development staff with questions.

Planning Your Project Early - Preparing for Inadvertent Discoveries 

Planning in advance for the possible discovery of cultural resources helps you and your team prepare and, in the event of a discovery, take steps in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.


Two resources provide information and laws. These shall be maintained at the project site and accessible to all participants of the project:

  1. Inadvertent Discovery flyer and checklist 
  2. Cultural Resources photographs (courtesy of WSDOT)

City Codes

  • RZC 21.30.070.D Archaeological Sites and Resources - Procedures, Incidental Discovery of Archaeological Sites

When Cultural Resources Management is Required

Projects proposed in portions of the City that have a high probability of cultural resources shall undertake steps in accordance with federal, state, and local laws.


  1. Begin investigating cultural resources within your project site at any time prior to submitting an application for development.  
  2. Combine geotechnical surveying and archaeological monitoring
  3. Avoid uploading Cultural Resources Surveys, Monitoring and Inadvertent Discovery Plans, and Post-Monitoring Reports to REPS and PRO. Request a secure portal for submittals of archaeological reports and recommendations - contact Kimberly Dietz, Redmond Historic Preservation Officer for your organization's secure portal. 

City Codes

  • RZC 21.30.070 Archaeological Sites and Resources

If Working in Known Archaeological Sites

All ground disturbing activities performed within the boundaries of known archaeological sites and their associated buffers are regulated by the Washington Dept. of Archaeology and Historic Preservation (DAHP).


  1. Contact the DAHP 
  2. The City will process your application for development or other ground disturbing activities in accordance with project requirements set forth by the DAHP.

City Codes

  • RZC 21.30.070.C Archaeological Site and Resources - Procedures, Known Archaeological Sites, or Properties with a High Probability of Containing Archaeological Resources

Consider Existing Structures

Use the Historic Structure Reconnaissance and Photography Guide to collect information about existing structures that were originally developed 50 or more years in the past.  This step is taken for all structures over 50 years of age, regardless of their condition.  The information is provided to the Washington Department of Archaeology and Historic Preservation for recording and for assessing a structure’s possible eligibility for listing on historic registers (WAC 197-11-960). The information does not prevent demolition of a structure.  

Refer to Historic Preservation for information on nominating your property for landmark consideration, listing on the local Heritage Resources Register (RZC Appendix 5), and to qualify for Heritage and other grant programs.