Projects

Clients nationwide utilize Commonwealth Heritage Group’s services for their cultural resources management and historic preservation needs.

Commonwealth Heritage Group has been involved in investigations and reporting for work ranging from surveys of a few acres to major mitigation projects and complex historic landscape studies.  In addition to serving as a prime contractor, we also serve as subcontractors for many types of projects.

The following are just a sampling of Commonwealth Heritage Group’s past projects.

 

 

US-131 S-Curve Realignment Project in Grand Rapids, Michigan

Upon completion of this project for Michigan’s Department of Transportation, Commonwealth Heritage Group determined that there was a potential for deeply buried archaeological deposits in this urban area. Commonwealth Heritage Group received the National Quality Initiative Bronze Award for partnering with the Michigan Department of Transportation on this project. [Top]

 

Rosedale Park Historic District in Detroit, Michigan

For the Rosedale Park Historic District within the city of Detroit, Commonwealth Heritage Group surveyed approximately 1,500 resources, including residential, commercial and religious properties, as well as brick gateways which mark the entrance into the neighborhood. Commonwealth Heritage Group gathered extensive information for the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP), creating a picture of both the architecture and those who resided in the area. [Top]

 

US 63: Minnesota Border to WIS 35, Wisconsin

Over the course of this project, Commonwealth Heritage Group first prepared an archaeological resource assessment report that was used to develop design alternatives. Commonwealth Heritage Group then conducted archaeological and geomorphological surveys within three proposed design alternatives for the proposed US-63 reconstruction. Working with historic maps and previous archaeological site reports, Commonwealth Heritage Group identified a partially intact burial mound within the right-of-way. [Top]

 

Lake Powell Pipeline, Utah, Arizona

This proposed pipeline will extend from just behind the Glen Canyon Dam site, in Arizona, for about 130 miles through Utah and Arizona, west to St. George, Utah, with associated pipelines, transmission lines, and hydro-electric facility sites. Commonwealth Heritage Group has been working on the archaeological, historical, ethnographic and paleontological studies of the proposed project alternatives since 2008. A total of 499 cultural resource sites have been recorded in both Utah and Arizona. More than two thirds of the sites recorded are prehistoric, the remainder being European American. A paleontological study was part of this project, and ethnographic studies have also been undertaken with six tribes to determine if there are Traditional Cultural Properties (TCPs) located within the project area. [Top]

 

Golden Spike National Historic Site Park-Wide Inventory and Synthesis, Utah

This project consisted of a park-wide, multi-year inventory at Golden Spike National Historic Site. A total of 69 sites was recorded within the park; of these sites, four were prehistoric or Native American sites, seven had both prehistoric and historic components, and the remaining 58 sites were historic, most being railroad-oriented sites. A total of 20 railroad maintenance camps or stations were identified among these sites. [Top]

 

High Mountain Lakes, Utah

Commonwealth Heritage Group conducted data recovery at six prehistoric sites in the High Uinta Mountains Wilderness in northwestern Duchesne County, Utah, at an elevation of about 11,000 feet. This stabilization project is associated with the transfer of water storage rights from 13 high mountain lakes to a downstream reservoir that was enlarged as part of the Uinta Basin Replacement Project. Combined with data from the lithic analysis, these six sites show a mid- to late-Archaic hunting pattern followed by what appears to be a Late Prehistoric logistical hunting and foraging pattern. [Top]

 

Defense Distribution Depot Ogden, Utah

Commonwealth Heritage Group conducted a historical resource inventory and cultural resource evaluation of the Defense Distribution Depot Ogden, Utah, in Weber County, Utah. The purpose of this survey was to identify cultural and paleontological resources that are present within the project area as part of a larger Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (BRAC) project. It was recommended that the entire base be determined a National Register of Historic Places District. Commonwealth also recommended 80 of the 103 structures surveyed be considered contributing features to the proposed district. [Top]

 

Route 460 Project, Southeast Virginia

Between 2003 and 2015, Commonwealth Heritage Group’s North Carolina office completed a variety of studies for the Virginia Department of Transportation’s draft, final, and supplemental draft and final environmental impact statements for the Route 460 Project between Petersburg and Suffolk, Virginia.  The earliest studies addressed an approximately 52-mile study corridor and included cultural resources overviews, historic architectural surveys and evaluations, an archaeological assessment of the studied alternatives, an intensive archaeological survey of the preferred alternative, and the evaluation of selected archaeological sites within the preferred alternative.  Later supplemental work addressed changing purpose and needs and additional alternatives through updated overviews and assessments and additional surveys and evaluations. Commonwealth was successful in completing the cultural resources work under compressed schedules and in cooperation with the overall NEPA team. [Top]

 

US Route 158 Widening and Relocation, Northampton County, North Carolina

Commonwealth Heritage Group’s North Carolina office conducted intensive archaeological survey and in-depth site evaluations for proposed improvements to a 33-mile section of US 158 spanning the width of Northampton County, North Carolina.  The work, conducted for the North Carolina Department of Transportation between 2011 and 2015, involved survey for proposed widening as well as survey of over 18 miles of proposed new bypasses. Seventy-two sites were identified and documented during the survey, including precontact Native American habitation sites, historic domestic sites dating to as early as the eighteenth century, an earthwork site related to a Civil War skirmish, and historic cemeteries.  Intensive documentation for evaluation of significance, including excavation of test units in addition to standard shovel testing, was conducted at seven sites. [Top]

 

Aldie, Middleburg, and Upperville Battlefields Preservation Plan

Commonwealth Heritage Group developed a preservation plan for these three battlefields, located along the Ashby’s Gap Turnpike in northern Virginia. Fought between June 17th and 21st, 1863, these cavalry battles are considered to be three of the principal military events of the American Civil War. Our client, the Mosby Heritage Area Association, received a grant from the American Battlefield Protection Program for the plan, which called for the preservation of key landscape elements related to the battle, established preservation priorities, and culminated in an action plan for future preservation activities. [Top]

 

City of Austin Historic Cemeteries Master Plan

Commonwealth Heritage Group served a principal investigator for the development of this plan for the care and management of five historic municipal cemeteries in Austin, Texas. Together with city staff, key stakeholders, and public participants, the collaborative team of landscape architects from Commonwealth, along with team archaeologists and historians, worked diligently to craft a thoughtful approach, including robust public engagement that reached a diverse array of community members. The plan has received national attention, having been featured in several articles, including the September 2015 issue of Landscape Architecture Magazine. Austin Parks and Recreation Department received an honor award for the project from Preservation Texas in 2016. [Top]

 

Design Guidelines, Elkton, Maryland

The Elkton Historic District Commission retained Commonwealth to develop guidance that would distill the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards into simple and readily accessible text and illustrations. Our strategy included an intensive field view, meetings with town representatives, and participation in commission meetings to observe first-hand how project review was implemented. As a result, we were able to develop a programmatic approach tailored to the specific needs of Elkton. [Top]

 

Pennsylvania Smelter Sites in Philadelphia, Conshohocken, and Erie

Commonwealth assisted the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in determining the possible presence of hazardous materials at 20 former smelter sites. Documentary sources included land records, corporate records, private and public histories, industrial directories, news articles, insurance surveys, and historic photographs. Based on our research, the EPA was able to make informed decisions about site remediation. [Top]

 

Dennis Farm, Susquehanna County, Pennsylvania

For nearly a decade Commonwealth has assisted The Dennis Farm Charitable Land Trust with the preservation and interpretation of a 200-year-old free African American farm in northeastern Pennsylvania. Activities (completed and on-going) include: a feasibility study, a National Register nomination (listed 2015), a state marker nomination, architectural recordation and stabilization, archaeological investigations, docent training, interpretive panels, symposia, a historic structure report, and an interpretive plan. [Top]

 

Bennington Battlefield, Hoosick Falls, New York

Working for New York State Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation (OPRHP) and funded by the American Battlefield Protection Program, Commonwealth completed the first systematic archaeological survey of the Bennington Battlefield. Commonwealth’s survey included ground-penetrating radar (GPR), metal detection, archaeological excavations, and terrain analysis. Lands subject in survey included state-owned park lands as well as land in private ownership. Interpretive planning was integral to assist OPRHP in future park developments. Extensive public engagement, including supervised metal detection by local residents, school group tours, public presentations, and on-site demonstrations completed the project. [Top]

 

Delaware River Dikes, New Castle County, Delaware

Commonwealth’s historians, geoarchaeologists, and archaeologists completed a range of cultural resource studies at five Delaware River dikes in the vicinity of New Castle. Recent flooding along the estuary and ensuing damages led the state’s Department of Natural Resources to recognize the need to improve the dikes. The purpose of the surveys was to assess the archeological sensitivity of the dikes for the occurrence of intact pre-contact and/or historical archeological sites prior to needed alterations to strengthen these water control features. Commonwealth’s professional staff completed a historical context for the dikes (identifying one as dating to 1675), evaluating for National Register eligibility, and conducted geophysical and archaeological studies. The work was funded by the New Castle Conservation District. [Top]

 

Management Strategy CCC and CCC-ID Camps, Minnesota

In 2014, through a Clean Water, Land, and Legacy grant awarded by the State of Minnesota, Commonwealth completed a study of Minnesota Civilian Conservation Corp (CCC) and CCC-Indian Division (ID) camps. This study was directed at accomplishing three primary tasks: 1) construction of a comprehensive database of CCC and CCC-ID camps and development of associated historic contexts; 2) field documentation of 10 camps that varied in type, condition and location; and 3) development of a proposed camp documentation strategy, evaluation process, and assessment of interpretive potential. With the accomplishment of these tasks, the study was formatted in a manner that facilitates the development of a NRHP Multiple Property Documentation for Minnesota’s CCC and CCC-ID camps as archaeological resources. [Top]

 

National Register of Historic Paces Nomination for Dells of Eau Claire – CTH Y Highway Project, Wisconsin

In 2015, Commonwealth completed a National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Dells of the Eau Claire County Park, Marathon County, Wisconsin, to meet the Memorandum of Agreement stipulation that addressed the proposed replacement of the historic Eau Claire Dells Bridge on CTH Y by the Wisconsin Department of Transportation. This site was nominated as a district under Criteria A and C with 13 different contributing structures, objects, and buildings. The park was recognized for its significance in the areas of recreation, conservation, landscape architecture, architecture, and engineering. The Dells of the Eau Claire Park is significant for its association with the creation of recreational park areas by the county parks commission and the federal work-relief efforts carried out by the CCC, whose mission was to develop, protect, and conserve the natural resources and landscapes of the park. The period of significance for Recreation begins in 1924, when the Marathon County Parks Commission began improving the site, and ends in 1969, encompassing the dates of construction for all contributing resources and using the 50-year rule. [Top]

 

Sts. Peter and Paul Historic Euro-American Cemetery, Burial Investigations and Excavations, Wisconsin

In September 2015, Commonwealth conducted archaeological excavations at the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Cemetery (BTR0024) in Independence, Wisconsin prior to the construction of a proposed barrier-free entrance to the church. Excavations consisted of the disinterment of 107 human burials that had been interred in the early nineteenth century, from an unmarked portion of the cemetery north of the church building. Three of the disinterred burials were excavated under the authority of the Trempealeau County Coroner and local funeral director in accordance with Wisconsin Statute §69.18(4) for immediate reinternment; the remaining burials were exhumed under Wisconsin Statute §157.70. Research questions pertaining to the Sts. Peter and Paul Parish Cemetery include: how burial practices reflect Polish ethnicity, how indicators of ethnicity from this community differ from other ethnic communities; how burial practices become commercialized in the early nineteenth century as individuals began purchasing items for burial instead of making them; and how to better understand the health conditions of the community in the early nineteenth century as seen in this population of individuals. [Top]

 

Data Recovery, Site 31CH758, Uwharrie Phase Campsite, Chatham County, North Carolina

Commonwealth completed an archaeological data recovery at Site 31CH758, an early Late Woodland Uwharrie phase (A.D. 800-1200) site in the Piedmont region of North Carolina. This single-component site was encountered within a narrow floodplain terrace above the Rocky River and presented an excellent example of preservation due to rapid accumulation of alluvial suspension deposits. The site was identified, along with more than 30 others, during survey for a proposed reservoir expansion project for the Town of Siler City. Several of the surveyed sites were intensively evaluated, but only 31CH758 had the level of preservation and information potential to warrant National Register of Historic Places eligibility. The data recovery excavations sampled an intact paleosol yielding evidence of a small Uwharrie phase camp related to seasonal subsistence procurement. The paleosol contained relatively undisturbed refuse scatters and in situ ceramic concentrations. The project included detailed documentation of the Uwharrie series ceramic vessel assemblage and resulted in a publication placing the site in the context of regional settlement trends and the development of the Piedmont Village Tradition. [Top]

 

Metal Detector and Geophysical Investigations on the Fall 1863 American Civil War Bivouacs of the Federal Army, 2nd Corps, 3rd Division, 2nd Brigade, Culpeper County, Virginia

On 10 November 1863, after a month of active campaigning, the 2nd Corps, 3rd Division, 2nd Brigade of the Army of the Potomac established bivouacs at Milton’s Mill, near Brandy Station, Culpeper County, Virginia. These camps were front-line short-term bivouacs of troops on active campaign. The material culture these soldiers possessed differs from troops in permanent camps, rear-echelon camps, and winter quarters. The artifact assemblage found in a front-line camp reflects one activity: warfare. These site types cannot be found or adequately evaluated by data gathering methodologies that rely on shovel testing. Commonwealth developed methodologies emphasizing metal detection and geophysical survey to identify and evaluate the sites, as well as addressing research questions on material culture of front-line troops, adherence to military regulations, and intra-site patterning. [Top]

 

Chesapeake and Ohio (C&O) Canal Terminus Archeological Investigations Cumberland, Maryland

Commonwealth provided archaeological services for a long-term project that included ten field projects investigating a 6.7-acre project area with a portion of the C&O canal, a canal basin, 17 canal boats, two marine railways, a waterfront, a boatyard, and buildings associated with the C&O Canal Towage Company. Investigations were sponsored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Baltimore District, Baltimore, Maryland; the Canal Place Preservation and Development Authority; the City of Cumberland; and the Maryland State Highway Authority. [Top]

 

Archaeological Investigations of the Poplar Point Pump Station, Site 51SE71 Washington, D.C.

The District of Columbia Water and Sewer Authority (DC Water), as part of its Long Term Control Plan for the Anacostia River, is constructing a deep tunnel system to provide storage capacity and conveyance for combined sewer overflows in Washington, D.C. Phase I and Phase II Evaluative testing resulted in the recommendation that Site 51SE71 is eligible for listing in the NRHP. An archaeological work plan for Phase III Data Recovery investigations was developed in consultation with the DC SHPO. Fieldwork was undertaken when the site was an active construction project. The investigations were designed and implemented to minimize disruption to the construction work progress. Commonwealth Archaeologists coordinated efforts with the construction contractor to conduct the fieldwork efficiently and avoid potential construction delays. Commonwealth’s efforts facilitated keeping the overall project on schedule while recovering important information on the District’s heritage. [Top]
 

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