Home > Environment & Community > Community Improvement > Cultural Resources Protection

Cultural Resources Protection

Maryland has long been a cultural crossroads. For at least 12,000 years people have left traces of their existence in the form of settlements, roads and artifacts. The physical remains of our past are known as cultural resources and reveal how Native Americans, European Americans, and African Americans, among others, used Maryland's diverse landscape.

Cultural Resource Protection
The Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) is committed to avoiding, minimizing, or mitigating damage to both above and below ground resources in consultation with the Maryland Historical Trust. We appreciate that a balance must be maintained between preserving our heritage and the development and maintenance of our transportation system. Each year, SHA constructs hundreds of projects that range from sign installation, to bridge replacement, to new highway construction. In accordance with federal laws, our cultural resources team of architectural historians and archaeologists evaluate proposed construction impacts on buildings, historic districts, roadway structures, and archaeological sites.

The Cultural Crossroads brochure provides an overview of SHA's responsibility and commitment to the preservation of Maryland's significant archaeology sites, buildings and bridges. View the Cultural Crossroads pamphlet online or download a printable version.


SHA archeologists study the past through the physical remains people left behind. These remains can be as small as a pottery fragment or as large as a sunken ship. Archeologists carefully excavate, record, and interpret artifacts that help explain the activities of people who lived in Maryland but may have left few or no written records.

Architectural History

The hallmarks Maryland’s diverse cultural heritage are everywhere - from the 17th century signposts of Maryland’s settlers to mid-twentieth century suburban developments. SHA architectural historians expand the understanding of our past by combining the investigation and study of historic standing structures with the research and interpretation of historic documents. SHA Architectural Historians partner with the Maryland Historical Trust (MHT) to survey, identify, and record Maryland’s historic standing structures in our mission to implement Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966 (NHPA), the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) and the Maryland Environmental Policy Act (MEPA).

Historic Bridges

The Parkton Stone Arch Bridge
The Parkton Stone Arch Bridge was constructed in 1809. It is the oldest bridge in the
Maryland still in use on MD 463 over Little Gunpowder Falls in Parkton, Baltimore County.

Bridges hold a special place in our cultural landscape. They represent links to our past, other communities and economic opportunity. Maryland has a number of historic bridges eligible for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. In keeping with the National Historic Preservation Act and with our own commitment to protecting Maryland's unique structures, SHA has worked with the Maryland Historical Trust to identify historic bridges and small structures throughout the state. Click here to view the Maryland Historic Highway Bridges brochure.

Below are links to publications with detailed information about Maryland's historic bridges:

The Parkton Stone Arch Bridge

Click here to access an interactive map of Maryland bridges and archival photographs.

Native American Consultation

Disseminating SHA project information and conducting outreach at the 2011 Cedarville Piscataway Pow Wow.
Consultation with Native Americans occurs on Maryland State Highway Administration (SHA) projects. While there are no resident Federally recognized tribes resident within Maryland’s boundaries, there are a number of tribes with interests in Maryland with whom the Federal Highway Administration and SHA consult. Maryland also has two tribes recognized by the State of Maryland, and five other Indian groups that are indigenous to Maryland. Other groups and many Native American individuals also reside in Maryland. Below are links to information about Maryland's Native American population:

Disseminating SHA project information and conducting outreach at the 2011 Cedarville Piscataway Pow Wow.

Environmental Planning Division
State Highway Administration
707 North Calvert Street
Baltimore, MD 21202

Phone: 410-545-8870
Fax: 410-209-5046