Archaeological monitoring under controlled conditions is often the only option for identifying and documenting certain kinds of buried sites. In urban areas, where historical research has identified likely locations of buried remains such as tenement houses, railroad roundhouses, and factories, monitoring is often conducted because standard manual testing is impossible. It frequently serves as an impact-mitigation measure.
Monitoring is often carried out after Phase III hand excavations are completed. Because it is usually too costly to manually remove an entire archaeological site, topsoil is removed mechanically (under archaeological supervision) to expose buried features such as hearths, which can then be hand-excavated, expanding the recovery of data from a site in an economical and efficient manner.
When it is impractical to undertake prior testing, AHS provides archaeological monitoring services during construction. A well-designed monitoring program can provide substantial recovery of archaeological information, while maintaining an aggressive project schedule.
Spring Street Roundhouse Site
As part of the New Haven Rail Yard project, background research indicated that the extension of Church Street South would impact the site of a buried c. 1870 railroad roundhouse. AHS coordinated with CTDOT and construction contractors to mechanically expose a large portion of the stone retaining wall for the roundhouse’s 52-foot-diameter turntable pit. Artifacts were also recovered from the fill. The archaeological work took place over just two days and valuable historical data was recovered.
Other Project Examples
Kirby Mill Hydropower Project
AHS conducted machine-assisted archaeological excavation and construction monitoring associated with a hydroelectric power plant at a 19th-century mill site in Mansfield, Connecticut.
In 2015, the City of Springfield, Massachusetts, contracted with AHS to monitor the installation of four utility trenches in Forest Park. The 735-acre park is historically significant and archaeologically sensitive.