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FW Historical Archaeology Program

Far Western is pleased to highlight our expanding Historical Archaeology Program.

Historical Archaeology is the study of material culture supported by written documents and other historical evidence. In the Americas this coincides with periods of European and Native American contact and subsequent colonization, urbanization, industrialization, and globalization. Written, oral, and archaeological data provide different types of information, and historical archaeologists work to weave these together—filling gaps, exploring nuances, and providing a better understanding of past lifeways and historical developments. Working to connect the past and the present, historical archaeologists uncover and explore the material traces of life in the emerging modern world.

To meet the goals of cultural resources management and historic preservation compliance, Far Western historical archaeologists employ a wide range of archaeological and historical research methods to identify, evaluate, and treat historic-period sites, structures, features, and artifacts.

Historical Archaeology Team:

 

 

Historical Archaeology

Historical archaeologists investigate material culture supported by written documents and other historical evidence. In the Americas this coincides with periods of European and Native American contact and subsequent colonization, urbanization, industrialization, and globalization. Written, oral, and archaeological data provide different types of information, and historical archaeologists work to weave these together—filling gaps, exploring nuances, and providing a better understanding of past lifeways and historical developments. Working to connect the past and the present, historical archaeologists uncover and explore the material traces of life in the emerging modern world.

What we do: 

Far Western historical archaeologists employ a wide range of archaeological and historical research methods to identify, evaluate, and treat historic-period sites, structures, features, and artifacts. Archaeological methods relevant to historic-period sites and material culture are complemented with historical research, including the analysis and synthesis of historic-period maps, documents, oral histories, and folklore, to construct narratives of how people are connected to both places and the past. To meet the goals of cultural resources management and historic preservation compliance, Far Western historical archaeologists assess historic-period site sensitivity to identify archaeological deposits for avoidance or recovery at all project phases.

In-House Historical Archaeology Resources:

  • Historic artifact type collection
  • Digital library of historical archaeology reports
  • Library of historic artifact identification and analysis resources

Featured Historical Archaeology Projects:

  • Sunnydale Sewer System Improvement Project: Archaeological monitoring and identification of two late nineteenth century schooners.
  • Gray’s Crossing: Exploration of Overseas Chinese labor at a nineteenth-century charcoal production complex near Truckee, California.
  • Boca Dam: Archaeological excavations at an early ice works operation and Civilian Conservation Corp camp in Nevada County, California.
  • Copper Mining: Cultural resources inventory in western Nevada exploring twentieth-century copper mining features.
  • Rawhide Mining District: Cultural resources inventory at gold and silver mining sites in western Nevada.
  • Gold Butte: Cultural resources inventory in Clark County, Nevada that includes mines, Civilian Conservation Corp check dams, and various historic-period roads and features.
  • Historical Archaeological Workshop for Caltrans and State Parks 2018-2019

Featured Historical Archaeology Outreach:

Devin Garvey, BA

ColliganPic1
Email Devin

After graduating in 2009 from Vassar College with a BA in Anthropology, Devin worked for a year at the American Museum of Natural History in New York City before moving west to begin working with Far Western on the Ruby Pipeline Project.  In the following years, he garnered extensive field experience across California, Nevada, and Utah as a field technician, monitor, and crew chief at a variety of CRM firms.

 

Inventory
Evaluation and Testing
Effects Mitigation
Geoarchaeology
Sensivity and Constraints
Environmental Planning Support
GIS and Cartography
Monitoring
Public Outreach and Interpretation

Devin’s Key Projects

  • Thacker Pass – Crew Chief
  • Feather River West Levee Project – Crew Chief
  • Ruby Pipeline – Lead Monitor

Andrew Hoskins, MA


Email Andrew

Andrew is a Staff Archaeologists at Far Western’s Great Basin Branch in Carson City. He earned a BS in Anthropology from Central Michigan University in 2011, and an MA is Anthropology/Archaeology from the University of Nevada, Reno in 2016. Since 2012, Andrew has worked in the Great Basin researching, reporting, surveying, and excavating historic and prehistoric resources as part of both management and academic teams. His primary focus is on Nevada archaeology but his experience in the west extends to Idaho, Oregon, California, Utah, and Wyoming. Andrew has presented at regional and national conferences and his research interests include lithic technological organization, Great Basin projectile point typologies and chronologies, atlatl-bow transition in the west, and efficacy of cultural resource management strategies.

Inventory Evaluation and Testing Effects Mitigation Geoarchaeology Sensivity and Constraints Environmental Planning Support GIS and Cartography Monitoring Public Outreach and Interpretation

Andrew’s Outreach and Key Projects

  • Nevada Archaeological Association Board Member
  • Am-Archs of Nevada Member
  • Soldier Meadows ACEC Survey and Excavation
  • Hill Airforce Base UTTR Survey and Excavation
  • Trego Hot Springs Testing

Andrew’s Featured Publications and Posters

Martin, Erik, Daron Duke, and Andrew Hoskins

2018

Poster. Trends in Paleoindian Projectile Point Technology during the Pleistocene-Holocene Transition in the Northern High Plains and Old River Bed Delta. Research Presented at the 83rd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, District of Columbia, April 11-15.

Orvald, Tucker and Andrew Hoskins

2017

A Class III Cultural Resources Inventory of 436 Acres in the Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern (ACEC) and Adjacent Public Lands, Humboldt County, Nevada. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Carson City, Nevada. Submitted to Bureau of Land Management, Black Rock Field Office, Winnemucca, Nevada.

Hoskins, Andrew

2016

Evaluating Antiquity and Morphology of Corner-notched Dart Points in the Eastern Great Basin. Unpublished Master’s thesis. University of Nevada, Reno, Anthropology Department.

 

David Hyde, MA


Email David

David joined the Far Western team as Principal Investigator in late 2018 and works out of the Sausalito Office. David specializes in historical archaeology of the American Far West. He received his BS from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, his MA from San Diego State University, and is currently completing his PhD at UC Berkeley. His dissertation focuses on the archaeological and historical analysis of a nineteenth-century industrial quicklime production site in the western foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountains. In this work David explores labor relations and culture change in the context of rapid and dramatic transformations in the social, economic, and technological landscapes. His broader research interests focus on the theoretical and methodological approaches to studying pluralism, power, labor, worker agency, and capitalism in historical archaeology. He has experience working on a diverse range of prehistoric and historic archaeological projects throughout California and the American West. He is also a research associate at the Archaeological Research Facility at UC Berkeley, is the founder and director of the annual “I Dig Benicia” archaeological public outreach event, and is Vice President of the Benicia Historical Society- a positioned that has allowed him to author two successful National Register of Historic Places nominations.

Inventory
Evaluation and Testing
Effects Mitigation
Geoarchaeology
Sensivity and Constraints
Environmental Planning Support
GIS and Cartography
Monitoring
Public Outreach and Interpretation

 

Erik Martin, PhD


Email Erik
Erik is a Senior Archaeologist at Far Western’s Great Basin Branch in Carson City, Nevada. He has been active in archaeological fieldwork and research within the Great Basin and California since 2011, earning his Master of Science in Anthropology from University of Utah in 2013 and Ph.D. in 2019. Erik has served in many capacities as an archaeologist including directing projects and leading crews on NHPA Section 106 and 110 inventories, technical report writing, participation in National Science Foundation sponsored projects, and teaching field schools. Erik has experience in a diverse range of research and lab methodologies including faunal analysis, statistical modeling, lithic analysis, radiocarbon sample preparation, and chronological modeling. His doctoral research at the University of Utah focused on the application of principles from Behavioral Ecology to better understand aspects of prehistoric hunter-gatherer subsistence strategies within the larger ecological context of environmental productivity and paleoclimatic conditions. Erik’s published work includes articles in 
California and Great Basin Anthropology and American Antiquity.

Inventory
Evaluation and Testing
Effects Mitigation
Geoarchaeology
Sensivity and Constraints
Environmental Planning Support
GIS and Cartography
Monitoring
Public Outreach and Interpretation

Erik’s Key Projects

Twin Peaks Riparian Infrastructure Project

The Twin Peaks Grazing Allotment is located within the Smoke Creek Borderlands straddling the California and Nevada state line north of Honey Lake. The archaeology in this remote, upland setting has remained relatively unstudied compared to the well documented cultural resources located in the surrounding Madeline Plains, Secret Valley, Honey Lake Basin, and Smoke Creek Desert. Far Western had the unique opportunity to contribute to the study of this region through the Section 106 Class III Inventory of 50 upland springs (876 acres) ahead of planned range improvements. This inventory documented 61 archaeological resources including 39 newly identified sites, 22 previously recorded sites, and 43 isolated finds. Twenty of these sites were recommended eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places due to their high archaeological data potential. These sites included large lithic and ground stone scatters, rock art, and hunting blinds dating to the Middle Archaic through the Terminal Prehistoric.

Far Western’s findings from the inventory have led to ongoing subsurface testing at several of the springs. As of 2019, Far Western has conducted test excavations at four spring sites in the Twin Peaks Grazing Allotment. Testing at the springs in the areas of the planned range improvements determined that the work would not cause adverse effects to the sites. Meanwhile, additional discretionary testing in the general site areas have encountered rich archaeological deposits, documenting intact subsurface cultural components, and a rock lined hearth feature. Over 4,000 artifacts were recovered during excavation including ground stone with preserved starch grains, dietary faunal remains, robust samples of obsidian artifacts for hydration analysis and XRF sourcing, a Paleoindian-era Crescent, and a buried rock-lined hearth feature. The study also included analysis of each spring’s hydrology and local ecology, tying reconstructed trends in site occupation to spring productivity. This work has provided some of the first this kind of detailed archaeological data in the Smoke Creek Borderlands, furthering our understanding of how prehistoric people in the region utilized the springs and surrounding upland resources throughout the Holocene. Far Western was invited to present the project findings alongside state and federal archaeologists working in the western Great Basin at an organized paper session at the 2019 Society for California Archaeology Annual Meeting.

Storrie Fire Remediation Testing

In August of 2000, the Storrie Fire burned over 52,000 acres across the Lassen and Pluman National Forests. As part of the rehabilitation and restoration of the fire area, Far Western conducted test excavations at an expansive archaeological site originally thought to be a prehistoric fine-grained-volcanic (FGV) quarry located on the Sierra Nevada within Plumas County. Testing focused on four areas with high surface densities of archaeological artifacts, determining that restoration efforts would not negatively impact the site. While Far Western recommended the site as not eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places, the excavation and analysis of recovered material provides insight into regional FGV toolstone procurement. Study of the site revealed that it contains a greater degree of artifact diversity than that found at FGV quarry sites in the area. Instead of a dedicated quarry visited for the sole purpose of acquiring raw material for stone tools, prehistoric inhabitants were likely drawn to the location due to its streams and marshes, engaging in opportunistic procurement of the naturally occurring toolstone in the area.

Erik’s Featured Publications

Martin, Erik P.

2019

An Examination of the Role of Costly Signaling and Projectile Optimization in Prehistoric Large Game Hunting in the Great Basin. Ph.D. Dissertation. University of Utah, Salt Lake City.

Martin, Erik P., Joan Brenner Coltrain, Brian F. Codding

2017

Revisiting Hogup Cave, Utah: Insights from New Radiocarbon Dates and Stratigraphic Analysis. American Antiquity, 82:301-324.

Broughton, J.M., Martin, E. P., McEneaney, B., Wake, T., and Simons, D.D.

2015

Late Holocene Anthropogenic Depression of Sturgeon in San Francisco Bay, California. Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, 35:3-27.

Barb Siskin, MA


Email Barb

Barb has more than twenty-four years of experience in archaeology and cultural resources management throughout California and Nevada.  She serves as the project manager and principal investigator for prehistoric and historical archaeological, as well as multidisciplinary compliance projects.  She has been managing large scale, complex regulatory projects, which include surveys, prehistoric and ethnographic background research, archaeological identification, evaluation, and mitigation, as well as large scale monitoring efforts in compliance with Section 106 of the NHPA, NEPA, and CEQA for clients in both the public and private sectors. She has specific expertise with Caltrans Standard Environmental Regulations Vol. 2 and the 2014 Programmatic Agreement, and Local Assistance programs, as well as the Principal Archaeologist on the San Francisco Planning Department consultant pool for nearly ten years. Barb has experience preparing and implementing Historic Properties Management Plans, Memoranda of Agreements, developing resolution of adverse effects to NRHP listed and eligible resources and working with Native American representatives and groups and on projects throughout California and Nevada.  Her regulatory expertise particularly in the utility, transportation, and water resources arenas, extends across both state and federal regulations, with a focus on Section 106 and 36 Code of Federal Regulations, Part 800, as well as creatively managing due diligence work with clients in the absence of regulatory requirements.

Barb has been working closely with the Native American tribal groups on all types of cultural resources investigations including complex regulatory projects and the treatment of human remains. Her long-term relationships with Tribal groups have resulted in meaningful collaboration, successful formal consultation, and projects that are implemented successfully based on trust and transparent coordination between stakeholders including Tribal members, agencies, clients, and cultural resources specialists. Barb brings a strong background in the technical and research aspects of archaeology, compliance expertise, mentoring staff, dedication to respectful treatment of tribal groups and ancestral resources with the highest degree of integrity, and depth of management capabilities.

Inventory
Evaluation and Testing
Effects Mitigation
Geoarchaeology
Sensivity and Constraints
Environmental Planning Support
GIS and Cartography
Monitoring
Public Outreach and Interpretation

Barb’s Public Outreach

April 2018 Presentation for regarding professional women and archaeological careers, Sonoma County, CA

In the wake of fire debris removal activities in Sonoma County, the disaster response contractor, AshBritt, Inc. asked Barb to participate in an event for young women from TechBridge, an organization that provides education and experience for girls from low-income communities by delivering high-quality programming that empowers a girl to achieve economic mobility and opportunity. She participated a collaborative presentation with other women colleagues and a Tribal representative from the Federated Indians of the Graton Rancheria.

March 2018 Presentation to South Bay Engineers Club, Freemont, CA

Barb was asked to conduct a presentation to the South Bay Engineers club regarding cultural resources compliance with FHWA regulations. Her presentation highlighted collaborative efforts between cultural resources consultants and engineers to address Section 106 and FHWA Requirements including: establishing the Area of Potential Effects; 2) the value of early field meetings and consultation with stakeholders, Tribal Groups, Caltrans, local agencies, and project engineers; and types of cultural resources and mitigation options.

Barb’s Professional Presentations:

Siskin, Barb and Shelly Davis-King

2015

Collaboration at the Old Bridge Site, CA-CAL-237/H. Society for California Archaeology Annual Meeting, Redding, CA

Far Western in Science Magazine

Ancient human parallel lineages within North America contributed to a coastal expansion

BY C. L. SCHEIB, HONGJIE LI, TARIQ DESAI, VIVIAN LINK, CHRISTOPHER KENDALL, GENEVIEVE DEWAR, PETER WILLIAM GRIFFITH, ALEXANDER MÖRSEBURG, JOHN R. JOHNSON, AMIEE POTTER, SUSAN L. KERR, PHILLIP ENDICOTT, JOHN LINDO, MARC HABER, YALI XUE, CHRIS TYLER-SMITH, MANJINDER S. SANDHU, JOSEPH G. LORENZ, TORI D. RANDALL, ZUZANA FALTYSKOVA, LUCA PAGANI, PETR DANECEK, TAMSIN C. O’CONNELL, PATRICIA MARTZ, ALAN S. BORAAS, BRIAN F. BYRD, ALAN LEVENTHAL, ROSEMARY CAMBRA, RONALD WILLIAMSON, LOUIS LESAGE, BRIAN HOLGUIN, ERNESTINE YGNACIO-DE SOTO, JOHNTOMMY ROSAS, MAIT METSPALU, JAY T. STOCK, ANDREA MANICA, AYLWYN SCALLY, DANIEL WEGMANN, RIPAN S. MALHI, TOOMAS KIVISILD

SCIENCE01 JUN 2018 : 1024-1027 Read Full Article Here

Two parallel, terminal Pleistocene lineages gave rise to Californian, Central, and South American populations.

This original research was also referenced in a New York Times article here.

Far Western Welcomes New Principal

We are pleased to welcome a new Principal to our Group: Dr. Adie Whitaker.

 

Adrian Whitaker Far Western Principal
Dr. Whitaker has been with Far Western since 2008 and has over 15 years of archaeological experience in California CRM.

He has authored numerous reports on the archaeology of California, while leading inventory and excavation projects from the San Francisco Bay to the Sierra Nevada to the Channel Islands. Building on data collected and collaborations formed during these projects, Adie has published numerous scholarly articles in regional, national, and international journals, including American Antiquity, the Journal of Anthropological Archaeology, the Journal of Archaeological Science, the Journal of Coastal and Island ArchaeologyCalifornia Archaeology, and the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology.

He is Editor of the  Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology and continues to play a strong role in the Society for California Archaeology.

Far Western will benefit greatly from Adie’s enthusiasm and leadership. We value his ability to meet the compliance needs of our clients while expanding our knowledge of California’s past. 

Far Western is a Proud Sponsor of the Society for California Archaeology

 

 

 

 

2017 

Governor’s Historic Preservation Award

for

Salvaging the Past: A Case Study in Archaeological Inquiry

by Allika Ruby and Patricia Mikkelsen

 

 

 

 

 

Offering a range of specialized services, including:

Geochemical sourcing via pXRF, in the lab or your fieldwork location.

Far Western’s laboratory capabilities include X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) trace element analysis. We focus on identification of geochemical signatures for identifying geological provenance, or “source” location for archaeological toolstones.

Geoarchaeological sensitivity assessment, interpretation, and subsurface investigations.

Our outstanding team of geoarchaeologists plays an integral role in identifying buried archaeological sites, or the potential for such sites, early in the environmental compliance process to prevent costly construction delays.

Eric Wohlgemuth Featured ImageArchaeobotanical analyses.

Far Western employs a team of archaeobotanists who specialize in the recovery and identification of charred plant remains from archaeological sites.

Award-winning public outreach and interpretation projects.

One of our particular talents is the design and production of broadcast-quality films, interpretive signs, brochures, training manuals, and other educational and outreach products.

 

Career Opportunity

Far Western is seeking an Historical Archaeology Program Lead for our Davis, California office. The full-time Principal Investigator/Project Manager will have the opportunity to develop a program in Historical Archaeology, manage a wide range of projects, and play a key role in collaborative scholarship. For more information about the position, click here.