Message #394:
From: AzTeC SW Archaeology SIG
To:   "'Matthias Giessler'" 
Subject: Testing Plan for McDowell-Gilbert Road (Part II)
Date: Tue, 03 Dec 96 08:44:00 MST
Encoding: 484 TEXT

Testing Plan for McDowell-Gilbert Road (Part II)

The available data indicate that the most likely cultural feature to be 
encountered will be prehistoric irrigation canals.  Recent research on the 
opposite side of the Salt River just to the northwest of the project area 
indicated that the most substantial Hohokam sites were found on the high 
Pleistocene terrace, with archaeological resource on the lower terrace 
limited to canals and more ephemeral features that probably reflect farming 
activities (Doyel and others 1995).  Two prehistoric canal alignments within 
the McDowell and Gilbert roads project area were originally mapped as part 
of Turney's (1929) Canal System 1.  The focus of the testing therefore will 
be to determine if intact segments of these two canal alignments still exist 
within the project area, and if they do, to assess their information 

Recent archaeological investigations have sought to describe the physical 
characteristics and locations of canal segments in order to understand 
entire irrigation systems and how they were modified over time.  Prehistoric 
canals associated with the Hohokam can provide important information 
concerning farming practices and land-use patterns (Howard and Huckleberry 

Although the project area is narrow and is unlikely to warrant lengthy 
exposure of canals, the simple mapping of cross-sections size and shape will 
be useful.  Many times prehistoric canal alignments are found where not 
expected or they are not found in areas where they had been previously 
mapped, and any additional data contributes to more complete understanding 
of the canal systems

Chronology is important in order to understand the sequence of canal system 
development.  Simple stratigraphic relationships are useful in understanding 
how canals were modified over time.  Absolute dating techniques include 
conventional radiocarbon or accelerator mass spectrometry dating of 
carbonaceous materials in canal fill.  In addition, archaeomagnetic dating 
has recently been applied to the dating of canal sediments.

Other lines of evidence sometimes encapsulated in canals can provide 
environmental data.  Sediment grain size analysis can provide information 
about the velocity of water flow within canals.  Stains of oxidized iron and 
manganese nodules can indicate waterlogged, anaerobic conditions. 
 Gastropods and ostracodes can provide clues about salinity and siltation.

We also recognize the potential for encountering historic materials related 
to early Euro-American settlement of the region.  One local landowner has 
remembered seeing foundations of one or more old buildings near the southern 
end of the project area.  Our general goal will be to briefly summarize the 
historic settlement of the region, documenting roads and canals through the 
area.  To provide details specific to the project area, we plan to rely 
greatly on interviews with local residents knowledgeable about the historic 
occupation of the region.


The following sections outline our proposed methods for background research, 
fieldwork, laboratory analysis, and report preparation.

Archival Research

Archival research will include a review of General Land Office survey plats 
and records, and other historic maps.  We also will contact the Bureau of 
Reclamation, Mesa Historical Society, and the Mesa Southwest Museum for 
relevant information.  Long time local residents familiar with the history 
of the area also will be interviewed.  We propose to conduct the archival 
research prior to beginning fieldwork.

Backhoe Trenching

Testing will be accomplished with 25-foot-long, 2-foot-wide backhoe 
trenches.  We have selected 25-foot-long trenches to conform with 
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) requirements regarding 
trench exit intervals.  Local residents have indicated that we can expect to 
encounter Pleistocene gravel and cobbles at a depth of about 4 feet or less. 
 Therefore, we do not anticipate digging trenches deeper than 5 feet, which 
will be in compliance with OSHA regulations for unshored excavations.  We 
anticipate excavating an aggregate of approximately 2,000 to 2,500 linear 
feet of backhoe trenches (80 to 100 trenches).

Some areas of the project will not be trenched because of in-use irrigation 
facilities, major utilities, and nearness of residences.  Figure 3 shows the 
areas within which we propose to excavate test trenches.  We will arrange 
for Blue Stake to mark buried utility lines, and these will be avoided in 
selecting specific trench locations.  The ground surface of each selected 
trench location will be closely inspected for artifacts prior to excavation. 
 Any artifacts noted will be point provenienced and collected.

All backhoe excavations will be closely monitored. If artifacts are observed 
in the backdirt, they will be provenienced and collected.  We have not found 
it useful in past testing exercises to screen samples of backdirt to obtain 
more rigorous artifact counts, having discovered that subsurface samples are 
not appreciably altered by such labor intensive procedures.  The walls of 
excavated trenches will be scraped by hand and closely examined for evidence 
of subsurface artifact and features.  Because of  safety, concerns  trenches 
will be backfilled at the end of each day.  Letting trench walls dry out 
often makes subtle archaeological features, such as unburned, unplastered 
house floors, easier to recognize.  However, we expect any canal features to 
be relatively obvious, and easily recognizable artifacts should provide 
clues about any other types of more subtle features.

Mapping and Feature Recording

A total station mapping unit or transit will be employed to create a 
detailed map of the testing area.  If we can acquire a digital copy of 
MCDOT's project map, we will use it as a base map for documenting our  work. 
   We plan to  relate all of our  mapping data to the UTM  grid system to 
achieve replicable

Figure 3  Proposed Trenching Plan

horizontal and vertical control.  The map will illustrate the location of 
the project boundaries, test trench locations, any collected surface 
artifacts or subsurface features.

Profiles of all features will be drawn and photographed along with selected 
examples of sterile trench sidewalls.  The depth below the modern surface at 
which features are detectable will be carefully recorded.  Feature profiles 
will be examined and probed sufficiently to arrive at provisional 
classifications of feature types.  If a canal feature is located, 
information concerning its channel size, shape, and depth will be recorded, 
as well as a detailed stratigraphic profile.  All work on a canal feature 
will be restricted to the trench profile.  Recovery of radiocarbon samples 
is possible, but we do not anticipate recovering other types of samples for 
special analysis, such as pollen or float, assuming that if intact features 
are encountered, a subsequent data recovery phase will be required.

Although it is highly unlikely that human remains will be found, if human 
remains and associated funerary objects are encountered during testing, 
every attempt will be made to protect them and leave them in place.  We will 
immediately notify MCDOT of any such discoveries so that the ASM director 
can be expeditiously consulted to determine the treatment of such remains.

Laboratory Methods

We anticipate the number of recovered artifacts to be very low, consisting 
primarily of chipped stone, ceramics, and possibly ground stone.  All 
cultural materials will be processed (washed) and prepared for curation at 
the Arizona State Museum, from whom we will request a project specific 
repository agreement following Museum guidelines.

Ceramics will be categorized following established typologies so that our 
results can be compared with other sites in the region.  Chipped lithics 
will be classed as tools, flakes, cores, or shatter, and the flakes will be 
tabulated in terms of reduction stage.  Ground stone items will be 
categorized, if possible, and raw material type will be recorded for both 
chipped and ground stone.  Any more exotic types of artifacts that may be 
recovered (such as shell or bone) will be described.

As noted, we expect that non-artifactual samples, such as radiocarbon 
samples, will be few in number.  If such materials should be recovered, 
however, we will identify specialist consultants to conduct the analyses.


The final task will involve reporting our results, which we anticipate will 
be published as a Dames & Moore Intermountain Cultural Resource Services 
Research Paper.  It is understood that the report is to include an 
evaluation of the significance of any discovered features or deposits and 
recommendations concerning the need for any additional investigations.  We 
further understand that the testing reporting is to be thorough and 
comprehensive in view of the possibility that no additional archaeological 
studies may be needed.


In this section we provide a schedule and estimated level of effort for the 
testing plan, define our proposed study team, and briefly highlight Dames & 
Moore organizational qualifications.

Schedule and Estimated Level of Effort

The schedule for completing this study assumes that this testing plan will 
be submitted for review by the SHPO and ASM, and that these agencies will 
require 30 days to complete their review of the plan.

Our proposed schedule for completing the testing plan includes:

3 to 4 weeks to conduct the archival research, which we propose to initiate 
while agency review of the testing plan is ongoing

1 to 2 weeks to mobilize for fieldwork, which we anticipate will require 
only 4 days of effort with a crew of 3 archaeologists, consisting of a field 
director, cartographer and one field archaeologist

2 to 4 weeks to complete analysis and drafting a report, depending of the 
extent of our findings

1 to 2 weeks after receipt of review comments to complete any necessary 
revisions and prepare a final report (we assume five copies will be 

If the plan is submitted expeditiously, we anticipate being ready to 
undertake the fieldwork near the end of the calendar year, or very early in 
January.  The draft report should then be ready for review by mid to late 

Our estimated level of effort by task is summarized on Table 1.

Study Team

The Dames & Moore study team will include Dr. Gene Rogge serving as project 
manager and principal investigator); Mr. Glenn P. Darrington as project 
archaeologist and field director; Mr. Kristopher S. Shepard as staff 
archaeologist and laboratory director, and Mr. Ronald D. Savage as staff 
archaeologist, cartographer, and computer graphics specialist.  Mrs. Melissa 
Keane will conduct the archival research as project historian.

The key personnel have been prequalified for the on-call studies, and the 
Dames & Moore cultural resources group has previously been issued a general 
survey permit by the Arizona State Museum.  Therefore their qualifications 
are not further discussed here.

Table 1   Estimated Effort (Hours)

Organizational Qualifications

Dames & Moore is an international environmental and engineering consulting 
firm with close to 5,000 employees based in more than one hundred offices 
around the globe.  The firm has an annual business volume of more than $350 
million.  Since its establishment in 1938 by Trent R. Dames and William W. 
Moore, the firm has completed more than 103,000 projects while serving more 
than 27,000 clients.

The capabilities and experience of the firm have also been described in more 
detail in previously submitted documentation.  Therefore we have not 
included any additional information here, other than restating our 
 commitment to provide the facilities and personnel necessary to support the 
technically sound professional services required to effectively meet the 
needs of MCDOT.


The proposed upgrading of the intersection of McDowell Road and Gilbert Road 
requires relatively minor new rights-of-way.  Prior archaeological surveys 
of the project area found only a couple of isolated artifacts, suggesting 
little potential for conflicts between cultural and historic preservation 
issues and the proposed development.  However, archival data does indicate 
that some buried archaeological features may be present primarily 
prehistoric canals, but perhaps some historical features as well.  The 
proposed testing is designed to provide a sufficient sample of subsurface 
deposits to determine whether archaeological resources are present, and to 
document such resources sufficiently to formulate recommendations regarding 
their significance and treatment.  We believe the proposed plan will provide 
a sound basis for MCDOT to work toward compliance with the Arizona 
Antiquities Act.


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