By Dr. Ethan Epstein, Principal Investigator at Commonwealth Heritage Group, Inc.
Occasionally the excavation of shovel test pits (STPs) in frozen ground becomes necessary. That’s why Commonwealth has implemented a new method to successfully place STPs in frozen ground, which is based on forcing heated air into an inverted steel drum that’s been modified to move airflow across the ground surface. Commonwealth has already employed this technique in support of geotechnical boring and geotechnical test pit excavation. The method is also a way to conduct winter-time near-surface archaeological testing during urgent or emergency situations, such as buried utility repair, or to conduct further investigations surrounding the inadvertent find of human remains. Because State Historic Preservation Office standards, as well as guidelines established by other agencies, typically prohibit or discourage archaeological investigations in frozen ground, during times when the ground is snow-covered, or when it is snowing or raining heavily, the results established through this method may not be accepted by consulting agencies. Given winter field conditions and the potential hazards involved using this equipment, a concentrated focus on safety protocols is prudent.
Click here to read more about Commonwealth’s new patent pending equipment.