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2012 Abstracts

18th Annual Conference of the American Cultural Resources Asssociation (Seattle, Washington; September 2012)

Session "Innovative & Creative Solutions for Incredible Client Demands"

Organized by Donn Grenda, Tom Motsinger, and Chuck Niquette

You want me to do what?? Sometimes our clients ask for the moon… And, by the way, they need it tomorrow! Don't panic. We're archaeologists and we know how to deliver what the client needs. We simply need to fall back on our creativity and new technology to come up with innovative ways to deliver solutions. This session looks at a few case studies and then opens up for discussion.

Finding a Way to Win: Advancing Archaeological Method to Meet Incredible Client Demands

Donn Grenda

(Not available)

18th Annual Meeting of the European Association of Archaeologists (Helsinki, Finland; August 2012)

Defending Cultural Heritage: Providing Tools and Training to the Military

Jeffrey H. Altschul, Laurie Rush and Paul R. Green

All too often, through ignorance, loss, theft, and deliberate destruction, generations of the present fail to preserve, protect, and hand on the physical expressions of culture to the generations of the future. Driven by the belief that preservation of cultural property can provide shared goals and an opportunity for cross cultural and trans-national dialogue, a small group of archaeologists and museumprofessionals have begun to work together at the international level to develop educational materials specifically designed to teach respect for cultural materials to members of military forces. Like it or not, members of fighting forces are often the very people humanity must rely on to save sacred places, historic structures, collections of cultural property like museums and libraries, and even archaeological sites from the ravages of disaster both natural and man-made. From heritage mapping to archaeology awareness playing cards; this paper describes teaching methods, preservation accomplishments in conflict and disaster areas, plans for future effort and international cooperation, and the implications of these efforts for peace keeping, peace-making, and conflict resolution.

Geophysical Prospecting at a Late-Nineteenth-Century Cemetery in San Luis Obispo County, California, USA

Kenneth M. Becker and Donn R. Grenda

Geophysical prospection methods are routinely used to investigate site structure and to discover buried features at archaeological sites. These methods have the benefit of learning what lies beneath the ground surface without expensive and destructive excavation. In 2004, Statistical Research, Inc., began research on a late-nineteenth-century cemetery in California, USA. The location of the cemetery was planned as the site of a future commercial development. Magnetic field gradient, resisitivity, and ground-penetrating radar surveys were conducted at the site in an attempt to discover the number and distribution of graves present. All three techniques were generally inconclusive. Subsequent mechanical stripping of the soil revealed 17 graves laid out in a regular pattern. Reanalysis of the geophysical data in light of the excavation results show no correlation with the known grave locations. The results of the study indicate that geophysical surveys cannot be relied on in all situations for identifying the presence of buried features. This is especially important for sites scheduled for development.

Colonialism and Food Use in a Native American Village in Southern California

Richard Ciolek-Torello, Seetha Reddy, Justin Lev-Tov, John Douglass and Sara Van Galder

Indigenous peoples’ responses to colonialism have been highly varied through time and space. One realm of evidence for these responses lies within archaeological food remains, which can be, paradoxically, both resistant and sensitive to cultural change. In this presentation we report on adaptations of the Gabrielino to European presence through the prism of changing foodways. The Gabrielino were a Native American group that resided on the coast of southern California and came into contact with Europeans when Spain established the Mission San Gabriel Arcangel, Mission San Fernando Rey de España, and El Pueblo del la Reina de los Angeles in their territory between 1769 and 1797. Plant and animal remains from a group of Gabrielino settlements located in the Ballona Wetlands of west Los Angeles argue for a process of ethnogenesis in which a new and distinct Native American cultural identity developed from the hybridization with other neighboring Native American groups and Hispanic colonists, albeit in unexpected ways. In the past, most evidence regarding the lives of Native Californians during the Colonial period has derived from Native Americans residing at missions, ranches, or other Spanish settlements. Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of the Colonial period assemblage from the Ballona is that it derives from an isolated aboriginal settlement occupied contemporaneously with the Spanish settlements. In addition, evidence from prehistoric sites in the Ballona provides a broad perspective on dietary practices that allows investigators to identify changes brought about through contact with the Spanish against a background of long-term adaptation to the Ballona wetlands.

Paleoenvironmental Reconstruction and Human Settlement of the Ballona Wetlands in Coastal California

Jeffrey H. Homburg and Richard Ciolek-Torello

Over 20 years of archaeological research in the Ballona wetlands has provided the opportunity to
reconstruct how settlement responded to landscape change in this dynamic environment over the
last 7,500 years. Analyses of the stratigraphy, radiocarbon dates, and paleoecological indicators (foraminifera,ostracodes, mollusks, diatoms, silicoflagellates, and pollen) from core samples indicate that sea level rise caused the Ballona to shift from a bay at the mouth of the Los Angeles River to a lagoon by about 6600 BP. As the Ballona Lagoon gradually filled with sediment, the ecological landscape also changed, providing a variety of resources for human exploitation from the middle Holocene to the early historic period. The archaeological record reveals that human settlement responded also to long-term climatic fluctuations and changes in the course of the Los Angeles River. Settlement was most widespread between 1500 and 4000 BP, when the wetlands were most productive. The inhabitants of the Ballona chose to abandon most of the wetlands between 500 and 1200 BP, when climatic conditions deteriorated rather than to intensify exploitation of nearby pelagic resources as some of their neighbours did. People returned to the Ballona after 500 BP, when climatic conditions ameliorated, but with a markedly different settlement structure than before.

Application of Aerial 3-Dimensional Laser Range Finding, Pedology, Palynology and Excavation Data to Interpret Prehistoric Dryland Agricultural System

Robert M. Wegener, Jeffrey Homburg, Michelle Weinhold, Jason D. Windingstad, Susan Smith and Richard Ciolek-Torello

Statistical Research, Inc. investigated two large dryland agricultural fields in the Sonoran Desert of
the American South-west. These fields consisted of cross channel and contour rock alignments covering many acres and extending well outside of a proposed highway construction right-of-way. These water control and conservation features were built primarily on south-eastern exposures with slopes greater than 3 percent. Nearby were many small Formative Period habitations occupied between AD 400 and 1350. Following consultation with the Federal land manager and highway department, aerial 3-Dimensional Laser Range Finding (LiDAR) was found to be the most effective and precise method of mapping the entire system with the least impact to the landscape. LiDAR allowed construction of 10- cm digital elevation models, which were used to map slope, aspect, and drainage patterns. We also modelled drainage patterns before and after construction of the field system, which made it possible to examine how the agricultural features changed the topography and hydrology of the fields. Soil moisture and soil chemistry studies were also used to evaluate the impact on field agricultural soils. Lastly, pollen analysis from units excavated within the right-of-way portion of the fields and offsite controls indicate cultivation of a mix of domestic and native plants.

Heritage Awareness and Vocational Training through the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers’ Veterans Curation Program

Teresita Majewski (SRI) and Susan B. Malin-Boyce (U.S. Army Engineer District St. Louis, USA)

Archaeological collections produced as a result of cultural resource (heritage management) investigations on public lands in the United States must be processed and curated to specific federal standards. Despite these requirements, numerous federal collections—artefacts and their associated records—remain unprocessed or are stored in at-risk conditions, and require rehabilitation. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers developed an innovative vocational training program in 2009—the Veterans Curation Program (VCP)—that works with military veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan to prepare them for the civilian workplace using federal archaeological collections. VCP graduates leave the program with an appreciation of the contributions of both prehistoric and historical archaeology to the understanding of the past, present, and future of the United States. They also take with them skills, including electronic records management, which help them find employment in what continues to be a soft job market. This paper discusses the origin, methods, and results of the very successful, award-winning VCP ( from the perspective of both the government agency and the heritage management firms that implement the program.

Impacts of the Current Economic and Political Climate on the Practice of Cultural Heritage
Management in the United States: Challenge and Response

Teresita Majewski (SRI and American Cultural Resources Association, USA)

Cultural heritage management (CHM) projects in the United States are for the most part undertaken because of several pieces of legislation enacted at the federal level decades ago. When state-level laws exist, they are generally modelled after the federal legislation. Most CHM work in the United States is conducted by for-profit companies. Since 1995, the American Cultural Resources Association (ACRA) has been the national trade association supporting and promoting the common interests of CHM firms of all sizes. ACRA recognizes that the effects of the worldwide recession on political decisions regarding CHM in the United States are potentially very significant and is making political advocacy and education its most important priority. Other major professional archaeological associations have done this as well, but what makes ACRA’s approach slightly different is an emphasis on heritage advocacy as well as on business. Longitudinal information ACRA has collected on the changing relationship of CHM and the state of the economy provides useful insights into some of the reasons why cultural heritage, particularly archaeological resources, are so threatened in this political and economic climate. This paper outlines what ACRA has done in order to monitor and understand the issues and build its advocacy program.

Archaeology in the UK: Adapting to Changes to Legislation and Government Policy

Peter Hinton (Institute for Archaeologists, UK) and Gerry Wait (Nexus Heritage, UK)

This paper will examine the implications for archaeology of new legislation and policy in the UK. It will examine recent changes to government policy for spatial planning in Scotland and England, and will look forward to changes in Wales and Northern Ireland. It will review a new Historic Environment Act for Scotland and how the sector has reacted to it, and compare it with a radically different approach being taken to the development of a Heritage Bill for Wales. How easily can we continue to protect the historic environment as new political dogmas take hold? And how can we use legislative and policy change – sometimes unwelcome – to improve the practice of archaeology?

Landscape of Los Primeros Pobladores (Victoria, BC, Canada; April 2012)

Alliance for Historic Landscape Preservation Conference

Carrie Gregory

Along the historical route of the Old Spanish Trail in rural northwest New Mexico, upper Largo Canyon comprises lands previously occupied primarily by Navajo and perhaps Ute Indians. Spanish-American homesteaders settled in upper Largo Canyon by 1877, and Anglo-American homesteaders followed shortly thereafter by 1882.

Forty-seven homestead patents were approved in upper Largo Canyon from 1877 to 1943, providing for a cumulative population of 185 residents; 68 percent were Spanish American, 31 percent were Anglo-American, 1 was Navajo, and 1 was a Native American. Settlers resided in branch canyons with walls up to 600 feet high and few reliable water sources. Eking out a subsistence living, homesteaders grew corn, beans, chiles, tobacco, onions, garlic, and squash and raised sheep, goats, cattle, and mules. Stone-masonry dwellings of few rooms commanded views of transportation corridors and grazing areas.

Today, the land is administered by the Bureau of Land Management (BLM), who is tasked with balancing natural resource procurement – oil and gas development – and cultural resource conservation. The BLM is preserving the few architectural and structural remnants of homesteading in upper Largo Canyon, but has yet to identify what remains of the landscape.

Questions for discussion:

  • What is left of the rural historic landscape of upper Largo Canyon?
  • Can Spanish-American and Anglo-American landscape characteristics be differentiated?
  • What were settler responses to the environment? Did they differ by culture?
  • What will the challenges be to the BLM to protect landscape characteristics?

77th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology (Memphis, Tennesse; April 2012)

A New Look at 'Old Data: Population Dynamics in the Pimería Alta

Lauren E. Jelinek and Dale S. Brenneman

Compared with most current interpretations of available archaeological data for the Spanish contact and colonial periods, the documentary record depicts a much more dynamic population inhabiting the Pimería Alta. Analyses of scarce archaeological evidence provide few indications of population differentiation, whereas reports of Jesuit missionaries and Spanish authorities describe ethnically diverse groups with shifting alliances and a far-reaching exchange system. New translations of seventeenth- and eighteenth-century documents combined with a reanalysis of archaeological data provide new insights into the dynamics of this social landscape during a time when the ancestral boundaries and interrelationships of modern tribes were in constant flux. 

Digital Recording of Large, Diverse Datasets: The Statistical Research Inc. Database (SRID)

Robert Heckman, Richard Ciolek-Torrello, and Michael Heilen

Statistical Research, Inc. has developed a proprietary database system (SRID) to address the formidable challenge of recording and managing enormous quantities of data generated by large, complex cultural resource projects. One such project recorded more than 37,000 artifact collections from 30,000 proveniences and 1,900 features. Managing these data requires a system that accommodates a large volume of data and responds to changing methods, evolving analytical goals, and reporting needs. This paper discusses how multiple data categories―discovery units, features, proveniences, artifact collections, osteological remains, and temporary storage locations―are linked in a single database that manages data from discovery to final curation.

Horizontal Monumentality: The Architectural and Cultural Emplacement of Late Prehistoric Bison Drive Systems in the Northwestern Plains

Jesse A.M. Ballenger, M. Nieves Zedeño, and D. Shane Miller

Vertical monuments are the embodiment of surplus resources and power, and they are a feature of complex societies around the world. We argue that horizontal monuments were likewise created during periods of social complexity at scales that transcend the spectrum of human organization. We develop this argument in the context of elaborate drive lines constructed by bison hunters.  Late Prehistoric communal bison-hunting societies built an untold number of these on the shortgrass prairies of the Northwestern Plains, coincident with the expansion of horticultural groups from the Middle Missouri area, with some examples radiating kilometers from the deadfall cliff to encapsulate enormous bison gathering basins for the killing and processing of massive surplus resources.  In doing so, we show horizontal monuments to be a valuable record of the organizational complexity of seasonally aggregated hunter-gatherer societies whose knowledge and power was inscribed on the landscape, but who otherwise lacked monumental architecture.

Pushing the Limit: Advancing Archaeological Methods on Large Field Projects

Donn R. Grenda

Advancing archaeological method involves risk taking. During one of Schiffer’s early 1990s courses, I remember discussing methods for testing performance characteristics of stoves. One idea involved tossing various models out of a pickup truck. We found that method too risky. Over the past 20 years, I have continually found myself pushing the methodological speed limit with mechanization, 3D scanning, data quality control, and laser sorting machines. Advances in method have allowed us to increase sample size and better meet the needs of archaeological research especially in midden contexts and situations where there is a requirement to find all human remains.

Trail Use and Context in the Southern Jornada Mogollon Landscape

Shaun M. Phillips and Phillip O. Leckman

Previous research in the Jornada region of south-central New Mexico and west Texas demonstrates the presence of prehistoric trails and footpaths apparently connecting residential locations to logistic activity areas. These trails are recognized from linear patterns of ceramic sherds and features. Eight of these trails have been identified on Fort Bliss Military Reservation in various physiographic settings. Integrating these trails into a landscape context within larger settlement systems enables investigating questions about mobility, trail chronology and orienteering, as well as defining connections between sites. This paper addresses these topics with several recently identified trails on Fort Bliss.  

Session "Transformations during the Colonial Era: Divergent Histories in the American Southwest"

Organized by John G. Douglass and William M. Graves

The American Southwest during the colonial period was a time of complex negotiations between and among indigenous groups and Spanish intruders. Social, political,economic, and religious transformations occurred during this period in response to these new interactions and intrusions, forever changing the course of history throughout the region. This session draws together scholarship from across the Southwest to better understand these transformations and focuses on three divergent social and geographic contexts: Pueblo communities, Spanish colonial settlements in the New Mexico colony, and colonialism and missionization in the Pimeria Alta. Case studies from these three contexts help us to understand the divergent histories that were wrought by colonization among different Native American and Spanish communities.

Meeting in Places: Seventeenth-century Puebloan and Spanish Landscapes

Phillip O. Leckman

The Spanish colonization of New Mexico brought together populations with different perspectives on space and landscape, each drawing upon extensive cultural and historical roots. While in some cases Spanish and Pueblo attitudes exhibited considerable tangency, in other areas these perspectives clashed, contributing to painful processes of culture contact and change. Drawing on recent work at Paako, a seventeenth-century Pueblo village and visita, this paper explores the articulation of Spanish and Pueblo concepts of space and place at multiple scales, successively examining these processes within the village, the broader Paako community, and the New Mexico colony as a whole.

Transformations during the Colonial Era: Divergent Histories in the American Southwest

John G. Douglass and William M. Graves

This introductory paper to this symposium offers a theoretical and regional overview of colonialism in the American Southwest and compares it to colonialism in other parts of North America. Certainly, the colonial period was a time of complex negotiations between and among indigenous groups and Spanish intruders. Social, political, economic, and religious transformations occurred during this period in response to these new interactions and intrusions, forever changing the course of history throughout the region. This paper offers a background and context to the subsequent case studies to help understand the divergent histories that communities experienced through colonization.

46th Annual Meeting of the Society for California Archaeology (San Diego, California; March 2012)

Rogers and Regional Chronology Building

Sutton, Mark Q.

Malcolm Rogers was one of the first archaeologists to work extensively in southern California, including the Mojave and Colorado deserts. He endured many hardships in doing so, including a lack of funding, exploring an archaeological terra incognita, and difficulties in climate, terrain, and transportation. He also lacked modern archaeological conveniences, such as radiocarbon dating. Nevertheless, Rogers was able to propose a general outline of prehistory that, while since altered in detail and precision, has stood the test of time and is still widely cited. An outline of his contributions to the chronology of the Mojave Desert is presented in this paper.

Seeds of Change: Intensive Plant Exploitation or Low-Level Food Production in Coastal Southern California

Seetha Reddy

Results of ongoing research are presented geared toward testing expectations of initial steps toward “low-level food producers” in coastal southern California. Assertions of proto- agriculturalists in southern California, before and at time of European contact, are consistently based on ethnohistoric recollections. Furthermore, it is unclear whether this was part of an indigenous trend or a historic-era development. Using macrobotanical data from series of sites in southern California the talk presents a model for opportunistic cultivation of two native grasses during the Protohistoric period and argues for a long-term trajectory towards plant domestication.

San Clemente Island: Large Scale and Long-Term Research Program (Symposium in Honor of Andy Yatsco)

Dennis Gallegos

Andy has had a rewarding and successful career. In addition to his Civil Service Job, Andy created a Reserch Laboratory on San Clemente Island where not only students gained knowledge, conducted research and earned MAs and PhDs; Andy conducted his own research which benefited the Navy with a better understanding of the cultural resources and how to ensure their proper regulatory management. This program benefited the University and students, the Navy, contractors, and the discipline as a whole with on-going research under a research orientation that was broad enough for all to work under.

Arroyo Sequit Revisted

Richard Ciolek Torello and Donn Grenda

In 2003, archaeologists from Statistical Research, Inc. conducted test excavations at Leo Carrillo State Park near CA-LAN-52, the location of Arroyo Sequit , an important Chumash village also known as Lisique. Several test units were placed near the southern edge of the site and on the east bank of Arroyo Sequit Creek. Intact deposits were encountered in both locations, indicating that the western boundary of CA-LAN-52 should be extended to the west bank of the creek. Analyses indicate an occupation from the Middle to the end of the Late period. Radiocarbon dates recently obtained from a stratigraphic sequence provide further insights into the site’s chronology.

Finding the Balance (Redlands, California; January 2012)

Preserving Culture While Transforming Society

Jeffrey H. Altschul

The loss of cultural heritage is often viewed as a necessary consequence of economic and social development. Most countries try to balance economic development with cultural heritage preservation. The pace of modernization in developing countries, however, puts this balance in favor of economic interests. The loss of cultural heritage can be devastating. As developed countries have learned all too well, once heritage is lost, it is difficult, if not impossible, to retrieve. The consequences of losing heritage are not simply the loss of old buildings or traditional songs. Heritage is the anchor that holds groups together, and its loss can lead to alienation, a sense of defeat, and loss of goodwill.

In this lecture, I will explore these issues through the lens of one country: Mongolia. Rich in mineral resources, Mongolia is relying on the development of these resources to fuel economic growth. A land of nomads will soon be a land of miners. Culture will be transformed. Mongolians' greatest fear is that Mongolia will become a land where traditional Mongols no longer live.

In 2010, the Mongolian International Heritage Team was awarded a contract by Oyu Tolgoi LLC, a large Mongolian mining venture, to design a cultural heritage plan (CHP) for the South Gobi. The plan covers tangible resources – the things of the past such as archaeological sites, paleontological remains, and historical monasteries – and tangible resources – traditions encoded in songs, poems, and dances that are created anew each time. The CHP, however, is less about preserving places and things than it is about establishing a process by which Mongolians determine who they are to become by ensuring that they know who they were. Mostly, the CHP is about people and empowering local communities to identify those aspects of culture that are important to them and finding ways to preserve them.

For more of this abstract, click here.

American Cultural Resources Association SRI Foundation SRI Press Nexus Heritage General Services Administration (GSA)