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2007 Abstracts

13th Annual Conference of the European Association of Archaeologists (Zadar, Croatia; September 2007)

Integrated Excavation, Sampling, and Research Strategies: Transportation Project Case Studies from the American Southwest

Richard Ciolek-Torrello, Robert Wegener, and Rein Vanderpot

Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI), a private cultural resource management firm, has conducted archaeological investigations for large-scale transportation projects for 20 years. These projects have included the excavation of single large sites and long, linear projects involving dozens of sites extending over large regions. Consequently, SRI has developed an approach for the efficient identification and recovery of data from thousands of archaeological features at hundreds of sites. SRI’s approach involves the use of exploratory mechanical trenches, followed by mechanical stripping, and then a variety of hand-excavation techniques and nondestructive documentation methods such as three-dimensional LIDAR and aerial photogrammetry. This proven approach effectively allows judicious sampling of the entire archaeological record at a given study locale. To illustrate SRI’s approach, we summarize the results of several highway development projects in the southwestern United States.

72nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (Austin, Texas; April 2007)

Life on the Edge: Persistence of Native American Identity on the Periphery of Hispanic Influence
Note: From the symposium “Identity and Colonialism in California, 1769-1848”, organized by Angela H. Keller, Benjamin R. Vargas, and John G. Douglass

Benjamin R. Vargas

While numerous studies in Alta California have viewed the responses enacted by Native Americans and Hispanic colonizers during the Contact era, few synthetic discussions of this interaction have been presented for the Los Angeles Basin. Most studies have focused on the loci of Hispanic influence, the Franciscan missions. Meanwhile, sites on the periphery have often been ignored or are simply unknown. Using data from recent excavations at sites near the Ballona Lagoon, this paper questions the relative influence of Hispanic religious and secular institutions on the Gabrielino of southern California and the plausibility for cultural autonomy during this complex time.

Arizona Archaeological and Historical Society Meeting (Tucson, Arizona; April 2007)

The U.S. 60 Archaeological Project and Aboriginal Use of the Upper Queen Creek Region

Robert Wegener

In 2005–2006, under contract with the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI), documented 13 prehistoric and 6 historical-period sites along U.S. 60 between Florence Junction and Boyce Thompson Arboretum. For much of its length, this segment of U.S. 60 follows Queen Creek, a major seasonal drainage that empties into the Phoenix Basin between the Gila and Salt Rivers. The drainage and its various resources supported diverse cultures that practiced a variety of land-use strategies. Queen Creek also served as an important corridor that connected the Hohokam of Phoenix Basin with the Salado of Tonto Basin and surrounding uplands.

Of the 13 excavated prehistoric sites, the largest and oldest was situated in Queen Valley and represents the activities of several families between A.D. 1 and 400. Remains associated with this early occupation in Queen Valley included nearly 40 pit structures and dozens of food-processing, storage, and cooking features. Archaeologists are especially excited about this site because it dates to a period when the aboriginal peoples of Arizona first began to make ceramic vessels routinely for cooking and storage, along with greatly expanding their agricultural pursuits.

Other excavated sites consisted of settlements dating to A.D. 500–1350. Included among these were extensive dryland-farming complexes, consisting of terraced hillsides, which were associated with nearby farmsteads or villages. Some of these sites also contained pit structure or single-room, aboveground masonry structures overlooking nearby Queen Creek. Artifacts gathered from these sites indicate that the prehistoric people of the area maintained strong connections with people living in Tonto Basin and eastern New Mexico. The purpose of this presentation is to discuss the preliminary project findings and ongoing analyses.

41st Annual Meeting of the Society for Historical Archaeology (Williamsburg, Virginia; 2007)

Gradalls, Powerscreens, 3D Scanners, and Laser Sorters: Recent Advances in Archaeological Method for Large-Scale Data Recovery Projects
Note: From the symposium "Recent Significant Contributions to the Historical Archaeology of the West," chaired by Marlesa Gray

Donn R. Grenda and Benjamin R. Vargas

Backhoes and mechanical screens have been used on archaeological sites for many decades. In 1988, Van Horn published Mechanized Archaeology, where he described various processes in which mechanization can be used to increase sample size and better meet the needs of archaeological research. For the past two decades, at both prehistoric and historical-period sites throughout the Southwest, Statistical Research, Inc. (SRI), has conducted and refined similar methods as those described by Van Horn. In addition to the use of mechanized techniques for excavations, Statistical Research, Inc., has tried to stay at the forefront of new technological advances in digital imagery, mapping, remote sensing, and laser-sorting technologies to advance the efficiency and accuracy with which archaeological materials are collected, recorded, and analyzed. This paper presents many of the various methods employed by SRI to meet research goals and to deal with resources that are facing destruction.

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