Federal Partners

Archeologists excavate at Salt Springs
Salt Springs Excavations

(NPS Photo)

  • Salt Springs, Ocala National Forest
In advance of planned removal of a deteriorating sea wall and construction of a new one surrounding the Salt Springs headwater pool, the USDA’s National Forests in Florida (NFF) contacted ALTASC to undertake regulatory Section 106 archeological investigations. When the old wall was removed, ALTASC monitoring archeologists discovered rare squash remains beneath the wall’s footprint as well as woven mats, carved wood, and rare lithic tools dating between 8,000 and 5,500 years in age. Working behind a coffer dam 6 feet below the spring
surface water levels, ALTASC initiated emergency salvage excavation of the rare deposits. Employing its wide connections within the professional community, ALTASC partnered with archeologists from the state,s two premier universities, FSU and UF; with experts on paleobotanical plants and soil dating from Penn State and the university of Vancouver; and with volunteers ranging as far as Washington state to help recover the valuable materials before they were destroyed by new construction. All in all, four Master of Art theses resulted from the concerted efforts. But the most important result was that a previously unknown site invaluable to the understanding of the prehistory was recorded without a delay in the Forest Service’s construction
Mound at Baker's Landing
Mound at Baker's Landing rendered in Surfer

(NPS Photo)

  • Tyndall Air Force Base
Tyndall Air Force Base had a problem. They knew that at least 6 prehistoric burial mounds existed on their property, all having been discovered in 1902 and 1918 by C. B. Moore, but they had only been able to find one of them. Mandates by NHPA to protect and preserve these resources, Tyndall turned to ALTASC to find them. Employing grids, over the next three field seasons, ALTASC excavated over 1,000 shovel tests in the general areas Moore had vaguely described as the location of the mounds. In all six cases ALTASC found the mound in sorry states of repair having been looted or plowed to near invisibility. But each still retained valuable archeological remains that mad them all eligible for listening in the National Register.

Equally importantly, was the discovery of large circular villages next to each mound that Moore had passed over without mention. Dating between 2,000 and 1,000 years old, these villages were unknown to the archeological community and represented the only villages and ceremonial sites.

These rare mound and village complexes hold enormous potential to for future research, and ALTASC is working with Tyndall with the state to determine if they qualify for nomination as National Historic Landmarks. Meanwhile, Tyndall now regularly monitors the previously lost resources, successfully protecting them from further harm.
Fort Polk Parade
Fort Polk Parade painted under contract

(NPS Photo)

  • Fort Polk, U.S. Army
SEAC and ALTASC have a 40 year history of providing other federal and state agencies basic regulatory archeological services as required under Section 106 and 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act. One long-term partnership addressing these needs occurred at Fort Polk, Louisiana. Beginning in 1981, Fort Polk asked SEAC to hire teams of archeologists to conduct their survey, NEPA, and other management projects.

Over the course of more than three decades through the efforts of ALTASC staff and contractors, the Fort was able to survey all of its 245,000 acres, locate 22,000 archeology sites, and determine that 420 were eligible for listing in the National Register of Historic Places. In addition, ALTASC provided the fort with art work of their most significant cultural resources and management plans to protect those resources in the future.

The instrument that ALTASC uses for contract archeology is typically a Fixed-Firm price IDIQ with multiple contractors so that the agency can budget without worry about cost overruns they’ve typically encountered using other contract instruments. Ft. Polk has recently obtained 48,000 additional acres and ALTASC is managing the survey and site testing contracts for the archeology

Last updated: August 21, 2019