A Preliminary Field Reconnaissance (PFR) can assess or confirm archaeological potential in an area and can usually be completed at a minimal cost and summarized in a brief report.

A PFR assessment can entail a simple fly over by helicopter or quick overview of the project area in the field by a qualified archaeologist. This can be necessary particularly if there is insufficient or conflicting information for the area being assessed during an AOA assessment. A PFR can also be useful if there are alternative areas or routes available for a project. During the planning stages for a larger scale area or project with multiple options for facilities, a PFR assessment can help to avoid higher costs in areas showing predictable archaeological concern identified during the desktop review process.