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) RESEARCH PERSPECTIVE 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 potential. 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 1991). 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. INVESTIGATIVE STRATEGIES, METHODS, AND PROCEDURES 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. Reporting 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. IMPLEMENTING THE TESTING PLAN 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 sufficient) 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 January. 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. SUMMARY AND CONCLUSIONS 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. REFERENCES CITED Antevs, Ernst 1948 Climatic Changes and Pre-White Man. University of Utah Bulletin No. 38, pp. 168-191, Salt Lake City. 1955 Geologic-Climatic Dating in the West. American Antiquity 20:317-335. Cable, John S. 1990 Who were the Prehistoric Occupants of the Ak-Chin? In Archaeology of the Ak-Chin Indian Community West Side Farms Project: Subsistence Studies and Synthesis and Interpretation, compiled by R. Gasser, C. 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