Archaeological sites are connected to the physical landscape in important ways. A thorough understanding of geology supplies specialized knowledge that enhances site interpretation. For pre-colonial sites, geology helps archaeologists understand complex soil conditions and the sources and properties of lithic artifactual materials. At historic-period sites, geological expertise can assist in evaluating landscape modification. We have applied geological testing technologies to a variety of archaeological studies—with excellent results. Our staff geoarchaeologists bring New England-based expertise to the location, identification, and interpretion of pre-colonial archaeological sites.
The State of Connecticut undertook a large-scale redevelopment project in Hartford. AHS was responsible for identifying significant above-ground remains as well as archaeological components. We synthesized voluminous cartographic and historic data to develop target areas for subsurface testing that would be likely to yield intact evidence of late historic, colonial-period, and pre-colonial occupation of this multi-block area along the Connecticut River. State-of-the-art Geoprobe borings were used, along with more conventional machine-dug trenches, to identify buried archaeological resources and collect geological and palynological data to reconstruct the paleoenvironment and associated human lifeways.
OTHER PROJECT EXAMPLE
Norwalk River Railroad Bridge Replacement
The historically significant railroad swing bridge (1896), which carries Metro-North trains over the Norwalk River in southwest Connecticut, is being replaced. Multiple designs are being considered for the replacement, all of which impact a variety of terrestrial parcels on both sides of the river. AHS is conducting Geoprobe testing of land areas to determine archaeological sensitivity.