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Enhancing cultural resource projects with customized, comprehensive, and strategic interpretations of landscape history.

SWCA geoarchaeologists have garnered academic and consulting-oriented experience through research-based projects in university settings and participation in multiple phases of cultural resources projects. Our approach yields more precise results, more efficiently, by detecting potential locations for buried archaeological sites and ruling out unlikely sites, generating a deeper understanding of landform history, and evaluating archaeological site preservation.

Our experience includes literature review and assessment, archaeological site probability models, extensive deep testing and survey, site-intensive sampling for investigations of integrity and paleoenvironmental contexts, investigations on the microscale of depositional processes, soil formation, and archaeological evidence through archaeological micromorphology. SWCA has a team of skilled and experienced geoarchaeologists that continue to expand our capabilities across the U.S.

Certifications

  • OSHA Excavation Competency Training
  • Register for Professional Archaeologists
  • Texas Administrative Code 13 TAC 26.4 (9)

Association Involvement

  • Advisory Council on Underwater Archaeology

  • American Academy of Underwater Sciences

  • American Cultural Resources Association

  • American Institute of Professional Geologists

  • Ceramic Petrographers in the Americas

  • Council of Texas Archeologists

  • Geological Society of America

  • Illinois Association for Advancement of Archaeology

  • Society for American Archaeology

  • Society for Archaeological Sciences

  • Society for Historical and Underwater Archaeology

  • Southeastern Archaeology Conference

  • Texas Archeological Society

Specialties

In-House Laboratory

SWCA has a laboratory with in-house magnetic susceptibility, texture analysis, and chemical analyses to support field-based investigations, and we have successfully worked laboratory results and chronometric modeling into project reports.

Underwater Geology

SWCA can perform underwater archaeological services including synthesis of coastal underwater resources, regulatory agency permitting, underwater geological coring, interpretation of geologic deposits and cultural integrity, evaluation of project designs and impact to cultural resources, identifying locales for potential buried cultural resources. SWCA has divers across the country that are certified to dive in riverine, coastal, and marine environments.

Modeling

Using a combination of geological datasets and GIS spatial analysis, SWCA can perform desktop studies to predict the potential for buried archaeological sites and determine whether project components will impact subsurface cultural resources. The resulting buried site sensitivity model can inform consulting parties on potential risks of project implementation and be used to target sites for testing and mitigation.

Micromorphology

Sediment analysis using microscopy that supplements stratigraphic analysis and landscape studies through: detection of microscopic archaeological evidence (charcoal, bone, shell, microdebitage, etc.); analysis of microstratigraphy and depositional environments; determination of vertical and horizontal site boundaries; analysis of site preservation; and the evaluation of buried soils (A horizons) along with their relative availability as a surface potentially available for past human activity.

Ceramic Petrography

Petrographic analysis (optical mineralogy) is a method in geology used to classify rocks. In archaeology, petrography is used to analyze the composition or microstructure of ceramic artifacts such as pottery, brick, tiles, daub, and other cultural materials composed of fired clay. Understanding the composition of ceramic materials helps our clients make decisions based on knowledge of cultural heritage, ceramic technology, social interaction, and the movement of people.

Coring

Non-invasive deep testing that extracts stratigraphically intact sediment cores from subsurface deposits. Collected in clear plastic tubes, there is no limit for coring depth. A highly efficient method that provides a permanent record of subsurface stratigraphy potentially containing charcoal, bone, shell, artifacts, and other cultural material. They are highly sensitive for detecting previously occupied surfaces (buried A-horizons or paleosols).

Relevant Services

Meet the Experts

South

Ken Lawrence

Principal Investigator / Project Manager

Ken has 30 years of archaeological experience on projects across the U.S. He specializes in prehistoric archaeology, deep testing excavation, geoarchaeological research, and laboratory analyses.

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East

Heidi Luchsinger

Cultural Resources Team Lead

Heidi has 20 years of experience throughout the U.S., Caribbean, and South America. She specializes in paleolandscape reconstruction, customized site probability modeling and site evaluation, GeoProbe coring, pedology, and micromorphology.

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Midwest

Anna Gilmer

Project Archaeologist

Anna has 9 years of experience on projects across the U.S. She specializes in deep test excavations, geoarchaeological investigations, and interpretation of cultural deposits and site integrity.

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West

Mary Ann Vicari

Lead Archaeologist

Mary Ann has 17 years of experience in the Great Basin and Mojave Desert. She specializes in sensitivity modeling, particle-size analysis, stratigraphic profiling, and interpretations of depositional context and post-depositional processes.

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South

Ashley Eyeington

Assistant Project Archaeologist

Ashley has 12 years of experience focused in Texas and surrounding states. Her specialties include deep test excavation, geoarchaeological sampling and laboratory analyses, and interpretation of cultural deposits and site integrity.

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West

Karleen Ronsairo

Staff Archaeologist

Karleen has 12 years of experience in California and southern Mexico. Her specialties include pottery analysis, ceramic petrography, and clay surveys for ceramic provenance.

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South

Analise Hollingshead

Associate Project Archaeologist

Analise has 7 years of experience in terrestrial and underwater archaeology. Her specialties include underwater surveys, site integrity and ID, geologic deposit interpretation.

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