Archeological sites are an important component to fostering a sense of our national identity and mutual experience. The Ottery Group strives to advance our understanding of the past through a research-oriented approach, considering the need for development as well as the requirements for understanding and conserving important cultural resources.
- Compliance Archaeology
- Construction Monitoring
- Cemetery Removal Projects
- Forensic Archaeology/Applied Archaeology
- Public Education and Interpretation
- Archaeological Resource Management on Contaminated Properties
- Project Management for Compliance-Related Studies
Each state has established procedures for conducting archeological investigations and reporting the findings. Typically, Phase I cultural resource management identification surveys are required to locate, document, and record archaeological sites, historic standing structures, and other cultural resources. The scope of work to conduct a Phase I survey typically includes a site walk-over and the excavation of subsurface tests to document the presence or absence of artifacts and to identify whether or not archeological sites are present on a development tract.
Phase II evaluation studies are conducted to assess the integrity, research potential, and relative importance of cultural resources in order to present options for project planning and to provide conservation recommendations, if warranted. Phase II evaluations may develop from archeological sites identified through the Phase I investigation, or as a result of known archeological sites within a project area. Typically, a Phase II involves additional subsurface testing to identify the boundaries of the site and the excavation of one or larger excavation units to gather sufficient data to evaluate the significance of the archeological site.
If an archeological site is considered to be significant, consultation with the State Historic Preservation Officer and the project planners may be required to determine if the archeological site can be avoided or otherwise preserved in place. For significant cultural resources, The Ottery Group has provided research and prepared nominations for the National Register of Historic Places. In some cases, avoidance of the archeological site may be possible. The Ottery Group can prepare an assessment of the potential benefits of preserving cultural resources as part of development projects. When avoidance is not possible, the mitigation of impacts may be conducted through the documentation of the archeological site. The Ottery Group effectively implements theoretical and academic approaches at a practical level. The Ottery Group takes an active role in the consultation process and can prepare recommendations for the treatment of cultural resources based on scientific, cultural, fiscal, and public relations issues.
Here is a flow chart depicting the typical process involved with compliance-related archeological projects.
Construction monitoring is generally conducted to monitor ground-disturbing activities taking place near known archeological sites. This is a very useful manner for preventing or limiting impacts to archeological sites during trenching operations that impact a relatively small volume of soil, but are located within close proximity to known archeological sites. Construction monitoring can be a cost-effective alternative to the more expensive and time-consuming effort involved in performing archeological data recovery projects, and has been used for waterline and sewer installation and during the laying of fiber-optic cable.
The Ottery Group has experience in locating, recording, and mapping historic cemeteries, including the locations of individual graves and architectural elements. The Ottery Group staff have also provided oversight during the excavation and removal of cemeteries prior to development of the parcel.
Several team members have an interest and various levels of work experience in areas of applied archeology, including the recovery of the remains of U.S. servicemen listed as MIA from aircraft crash sites, and the recovery of material and human remains from crime scenes.
The Ottery Group has designed and implemented public education programs involving archeology and has conducted interpretive projects for museums, historic foundations, and other interested parties. The firm’s senior staff are routinely invited to serve as guest lecturers or speakers at community events. Most of our technical staff are active in professional organizations and routinely present papers at professional meetings.
As a full-service environmental firm, The Ottery Group staff has regularly been consulted on issues related to the protection of archeological sites prior to the remediation of contaminated properties. Most often the Scope of Work during remediation of contamination involves the on-site monitoring of ground-disturbing activities during the removal of contaminated soils and the decontamination of recovered artifacts based on the type of contaminants present at the site. Archeological staff performing such activities meet the OSHA-required 40-hour hazardous site worker health and safety training with annual re-certification.
The Ottery Group is regularly contracted to provide project management and oversight for compliance-related investigations. In once instance, The Ottery Group provided a client with Scope of Work statements developed in conjunction with project review staff at various State Historic Preservation Offices for dissemination to consultants to prepare bids for the work. More often, this type of work involves coordinating the cultural resource compliance component within the context of large multi-disciplinary NEPA projects (Environmental Assessments and Environmental Impact Statements, or state-level equivalents). In these cases, The Ottery Group has managed the cultural resources investigations, prepared the report sections summarizing the consultant reports and recommendations, and coordinated the cultural resource components with project managers and legal staff responsible for the overall NEPA documentation effort.