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  • 1.  Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-04-2021 08:49 AM

    I am captivated by the history around me in the ASCE National Capital Section, and there is an archaeological area of interest on my current project. There are also five National Historic Civil Engineering Landmarks (NHCELs) in the DC/MD/VA region. (You can find a listing here: https://asce-ncs.org/index.php/committees/history-heritage/237-the-historic-civil-engineering-landmark-program.)

    This leaves me to wonder if any ASCE members have an archaeological story to share! Have you been involved in a project where a historical object was uncovered during construction? What measures did the project take thereafter? Or, have you heard of any interesting archaeological finds on other civil engineering projects?

    I look forward to hearing your experiences!

    Thank you for your time,


    Jameelah Ingram, P.E., M.ASCE
    Washington, D.C.

  • 2.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-04-2021 01:00 PM
    Many years back I bid on some infrastructure work on Hontoon Island in Florida. Hontoon Island State Park The project included a full time on site archeologist, on call biologist and ships barge captain. It was fun to learn about all the intricacies of managing such a project.  
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    Hontoon Island State Park
    Effective July 23, 2020: Hontoon Island State Park is open (see hours of operation and fee information below). Seasonal flooding impacts the campground. If you are planning to visit the park in August or September, please call 386-736-5309 ahead of your visit to check the conditions.
    View this on Florida State Parks >

    Jesse Kamm PhD, PMP, A.M.ASCE
    Senior Vice President of Construction Management

  • 3.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-04-2021 01:00 PM
    I once had a geotechnical internship where the contractor was digging footings in South Philadelphia. They dug down deep enough that brickwork from an old abandoned basement started to be seen and soon started adding bricks into the trench. I also remember seeing a few glass bottles, which must have been stored there.  So a little "local history", but nothing that caused the project to be stopped. 

    I went to Italy a few years ago, and recall a guide mentioning that in Rome, projects are halted all the time since every new excavation seems to turn up something from the height of the Roman Empire. All throughout the city, random patches are fenced off to preserve major landmarks that have survived the passage of time. Very exciting to see in person!

    Christopher Seigel P.E., M.ASCE
    Civil Engineer

  • 4.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-05-2021 03:48 PM
    Jameelah, I appreciate your enthusiasm for our history and archaeology! For most projects on which I've been involved, owners, developers, and engineers deride the need for archaeological interrogations. Rather than having an interest in what may have come before, they seem to view such investigations as a waste of time and money. Working here in central Oklahoma, there's so much pre-Columbian history to explore, it's almost a shame archaeological exploration isn't a more routine part of development, especially for greenfield projects!

    Joel Dixon P.E., M.ASCE
    Project Manager
    Oklahoma City OK

  • 5.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-15-2021 10:02 AM
    Edited by Tirza Austin 02-15-2021 10:02 AM
    Smart developers on some projects I have been involved in called in an archeologist as soon as there was any evidence that there might be something of interest, and then used the discoveries for public relations and marketing purposes.  They not only proactively avoided major delays, they gained a benefit.

    William Forbes MASCE, PE, ME, BCEE
    Senior Principal Engineer/Vice President of Engineering
    Forensic Analysis & Engineering Corporation
    Virginia Beach, Virginia

  • 6.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-06-2021 09:31 AM
    Building a new riverfront park and infrastructure this year for post industrial development on a site that had been heavily industrialized for over a century, we were lucky to be able to satisfy the State's historical preservation requirements by enlisting the assistance of some very talented and knowledgeable University of Oregon archaeology grad students who were on site for all major excavation work.  Several finds of significance were photographed, documented, and sampled for the University's on campus museum, and for someone like myself who has a keen interest in history, the whole experience was very educational.  By having such assistance, delays were kept to a minimum, minutes rather than days.

    David Schweitzer P.E., M.ASCE
    Engineer Tech 2
    Eugene OR

  • 7.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-09-2021 08:46 AM
    I was neither at a project site, nor was I with a shovel digging, however I found that a neighborhood had a certain characteristic that told the history... it's not exactly archaeology but it is a story of that anthropology through observing the characteristics, which I might assume is a creationism vs. a history in question.  It might be a civil engineering project to observe the characteristics pertinent to the Canal that forms a water body in the middle of the hottest American deserts of Metropolis Phoenix, Arizona.
      While on a superior level; the patterns of history are sometimes mitigated by other fields of history, that when observed from such perspective one may see an origin.  Ie.  A Dinosaur Bone is hypothetically a Dinosaur Bone; however, whenst the creator may manifest flesh and bone, perhaps a part of a plight of a sentient being at another level exists there.
      I had seen that a neighborhood in Phoenix seemed as though it was assembled and then disarrayed.  In the assembled function of the block, I saw a sort of 'Tibeto-Nepal-Bhutto' function of a series of buildings.  I did not conduct any research of city documents, it just became very prevalent that that function was there.  Rudely "idealized", but idyllically cast such as a Cog on a Horse Drawn Carriage.
      In a prior year, several years before, I had been wandering along similar grounds with fewer buildings and picked up mica chips from time to time.  Mind you the discovery was during my stay at what resembles an Arizona ghost town in the city center.

    Refugio Rochin P.E., M.ASCE
    Asst. Eng.1
    Naxutl, Inc.
    Albuquerque NM

  • 8.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-09-2021 10:40 AM
    These are the arrowheads I keep in my office in memory of my late colleague.  He found them behind our previous office in Wyoming, Rhode Island.

    Chad Morrison P.E., M.ASCE
    Professional Engineer
    Greenville RI

  • 9.  RE: Archaeological Discoveries Anyone?

    Posted 02-15-2021 11:08 AM
    Archaeology is a hidden (literally or contestually wording) resource for Civil Engineers to put their ideas in proper perspective. Many designs from our profession actually existed thousands of years ago. Jameelah's project would be very meaningful as well as educational. Good choice!

    Samuel Ng, Ph.D., F. ASCE

    Samuel Ng P.E., F.ASCE
    Plymouth MN