Mitigation simply means that some type of cultural resource management occurs which might include archaeological excavations and monitoring of the demolition to recover historic artifacts and significant architectural features.If Mitigation had occurred at the Old Cornelius Bank Building a Cultural Resource Management company would have taken extensive photographs of the interior and exterior of the building noting significant architectural features. Property records would have been studied and the site mapped and shovel testing done around the building in order to determine if the need for archaeological excavations. Often older buildings had privies or outhouses where artifact recovery is possible. Finally, during the demolition, monitoring occurs to recover significant building features and artifacts.
Many people are surprised that archaeologist are involved in historic sites from the recent past. When most people think about archaeology they imagine the archaeologist excavating ancient civilizations or prehistoric sites. However, archaeologists are involved in the more recent past working at colonial sites like historic Jamestown in addition to historically significant sites that may only date back about one hundred years. Surprisingly there is quite of bit of useful information located, underneath and around historic buildings.
Although some might argue that these are not valuable objects or worthy questions we have no idea how this information will be utilized by future historians. Additionally, although these artifacts seem common to us today they will be very uncommon to people in the future and will only grow in importance.