State and Federal laws require that developers, planners, and engineers consider whether their projects will affect archaeological resources or Native American sacred sites. Our archaeology practice helps clients meet their permitting requirements while protecting archaeological resources. We are expert in meeting California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements, and have decades of experience working with Federal agencies to secure project clearance under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. We are also familiar with the distinct requirements of Caltrans, Housing and Urban Development, the Federal Communications Commission, the US Army Corps of Engineers, and the Department of Parks and Recreation Office of Grants and Local Services (OGALS).
Our archaeological services include:
Archaeological Sensitivity Assessments
Sensitivity assessments identify whether a project area might contain archaeological sites, whether Native American, historic-era, or both. We use historical, geological, and archaeological data to develop a site sensitivity profile and recommendations.
Cultural Resources Inventories
When project areas require a more in-depth study, we use field surveys, archival research, historical ecological data, and Native American consultation to identify whether archaeological sites are present in a project area and assess the likely impacts of the project.
In archaeologically sensitive areas, test excavations may be needed to identify whether a project will affect archaeological deposits. Testing is customized to the project site and may include shovel test units, hand augering, or mechanical excavation with backhoes or compact excavators.
Avoidance and Mitigation
If archaeological sites are identified, we work with clients to identify the most effective solution for their project. This may include redesigning projects to avoid resources, archaeological monitoring plans, or mitigating impacts through gathering excavation data.
When a project is likely to find archaeological deposits during construction, archaeological monitoring may be required as a condition of the project Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Plan (MMRP). A/HC has highly-qualified archaeological monitors available, with expertise in both Native American and historic-era artifacts and features.
Native American Collaboration
A/HC recognizes that Native American tribes have special expertise and knowledge of their ancestral sites. We have over 40 years of experience working with California tribes, and are committed to collaboration and to incorporating Native perspectives into our work.
Our decades of experience and familiarity with the full range of cultural resources documents makes us qualified to provide detailed peer reviews. Our reviews focus on whether the correct regulatory framework has been applied, evaluate whether the data provided meet the “substantial evidence” standard required in California law, and assess whether professional standards have been met.
In 2021, A/HC completed data recovery excavations at an ancestral Ohlone site in Alameda in collaboration with the Confederated Villages of Lisjan. We identified over 200 prehistoric features and thousands of artifacts dating from 1500-5000 years ago. Our ongoing analyses will help tell the story of life and culture in the Bay Area during the Middle Period.
A/HC surveyors identified a previously unrecorded ancestral Ohlone site on EBRPD land in the East Bay hills in 2019. We used test excavations to define the limits of site, and are working with the District to protect the site from impacts from trail development.
At San Pedro Street in San José, A/HC excavations found remnants of 20 historic-era features, including a 1830s adobe home, a 1880s beer bottling plant, and walls from the College of Notre Dame, the first women’s college in California.