our history

In 1970, the National Environmental Protection Act and California Environmental Quality Act were passed, drastically changing the landscape of development and creating a need for professional cultural resource management firms. Archaeologist Suzanne Baker founded Archaeological/Historical Consultants (A/HC) in San Francisco in 1976 as part of this nascent industry. Several years later, historian Laurence Shoup (Suzanne’s husband) joined the company to meet the field’s growing demand for historical research. In 1981, the company moved to Oakland and has been located there ever since.

A/HC’s first major jobs were test excavations at Fort Mason in San Francisco and archaeological inventory for the expansion of Redwood National Park, which led to extensive work with the US Forest Service. Since then, the firm has worked on many of the Bay Area’s biggest infrastructure projects, including BART and VTA extensions, interstate highways, and flood control projects. We have prepared archaeological and historical studies for a wide range of development projects, from private homes on small lots to housing plans for whole cities. The hundreds of archaeological sites we’ve recorded include Native American lithic scatters, burial grounds, bedrock milling features, and shell middens, and historic-era mining camps, railroads, canals, and urban and rural homesteads from the Mission Period into the 20th century.

One of A/HC’s strengths is its expertise in California’s industrial history, including railroad logging, mining, hydroelectric power, water conveyance, and transportation. Our forensic history practice began in 1986, and led to the preparation of hundreds of land use histories in support of environmental cleanup projects throughout California.

Daniel Shoup, Suzanne and Laurence’s son, joined A/HC in 2013 and became Principal in 2016. In addition to his training as an archaeologist, Dan brings a background in urban planning and management studies to the company. Suzanne and Laurence retired in 2018. Suzanne is completing her PhD in Rock Art Studies at the University of Western Australia, while Laurence continues to write on history and geopolitics.

Today, A/HC’s practice focuses on urban infill development, transportation corridor studies, park and open space development, and programmatic EIRs for City and County housing elements. In 2020, we completed a major mitigation excavation of a 3,000 year-old shellmound site in Alameda, and have led numerous efforts to identify and evaluate archaeological sites and historic buildings throughout the San Francisco Bay Area and Northern California.