Curtin Archaeological Consulting, Inc.— Who We Are

Our Recent Viral Meme May Have Brought Us to Your Attention

Meadow Coldon helps set up transects in the snow on a cold winter day. 

Meadow Coldon helps set up transects in the snow on a cold winter day. 

We have been energized and excited by the circulation of our recent Facebook post, a meme asking for a little kind consideration for archaeologists who have to work outdoors in cold, winter weather.  We know this job well, we of the Northeastern U.S. Chapped Hands Archaeology Tradition.

Cultural Resource Management (CRM) archaeology continues apace when the weather turns cold.  And when it turns snowy, that can even be a good thing for a backlog of fieldwork that remains to be done while December’s busyness peaks at Christmas through New Year’s Eve, and then winds down into the tundra period, January-February.  Snow can be very good indeed because it may insulate the ground, preventing it from freezing.  However, although the ground may not be frozen, the archaeologists’ hands and feet inevitably will feel that way during winter archaeological surveys in New York’s Hudson valley region.  And so our thoughts turn to the “If you’re cold, they’re cold” logic that insists archaeologists should be brought indoors this winter (especially in places like upstate New York, even during an El Nino winter.  Or especially during an El Nino winter, when the snow in the Northeast can really pile up; or the weather turns to our least favorite, 33 degrees Fahrenheit and rainy).

By way of introduction, Curtin Archaeological Consulting, Inc. is a private sector Cultural Resource Management company that works primarily in the eastern half of New York State, performing the wide variety of archaeological site identification and evaluation analyses referred to as Phase 1 and 2 surveys in this region.  We also advise concerning avoiding or lessening the impact of construction upon archaeological sites, photo-document standing structures so that they can be included in the cultural resource review process, and execute Phase 3 archaeological excavations under the guidance of data recovery plans and memoranda of agreement between federal agencies and the New York State Historic Preservation Office (SHPO).  Often, when American Indian archaeological sites cannot be avoided by construction, our projects bring us into consultation with other stakeholders who are especially concerned with the history gleaned from archaeology, and the imperative to preserve archaeological sites if possible.  These are the representatives of the Tribal Historic Preservation Offices (THPOs).   

In our blog Fieldnotes (as well as public presentations), we enjoy bringing archaeology to wider attention, whether it is something of broad topical interest from just about anywhere; or the most interesting results of own work in places like Albany, Guilderland, Cobleskill, Saratoga Springs, Malta, and Coxsackie, communities located in the upper Hudson and Mohawk valley regions of New York State.  We enjoy showcasing archaeology in local communities, and pursuant to this, we expect in 2016 to discuss the analysis of a 19th century German-American homestead in Cobleskill, New York (and to post some short articles on 19th century German immigrant sites in Albany).  

We also have particular interests in the long, Archaic period of changing hunter-gatherer societies (from ca. 3,000-10,000 years ago) in New York State; and human-environment interactions, including human responses to warm and cold episodes, and anthropogenic habitat changes that were parts of the response.  We especially like to report on the results of own work when our projects generate new information.  We feel that sharing through this blog and social media is a very positive way to inform the public and our colleagues that dovetails nicely with those aspects of our work that are performed to comply with government requirements to assess and mitigate construction impacts upon archaeological sites.  We feel that writing about our own work and the region we work in adds something special, and so we work toward a significant goal:  to highlight the interesting whenever possible.

In case you were worried, you'll all be relieved to know we did bring Meadow inside this winter.