PAST, INC. provides archaeological and cultural resources studies throughout the western United States. With diverse experience and a proven track record, our investigations are performed in a timely, cost-effective, and high-quality manner. Because the cost of an investigation is directly related to the nature, size, and scale of a particular project, all jobs are individually evaluated before a cost estimate is provided. In order to properly evaluate a project, we require that our clients first provide us a map depicting the size, shape, and location of the subject property as well as any other relevant information about the proposed project such as a project description and the identification of the agency requiring the study. After this information is received, we will review all of the project materials and conduct a review of our in-house records for the area. PAST, INC. will then develop a written proposed scope-of-work and cost estimate for the project; the details of which can be quickly transmitted back to our clients in a PDF file via Email. Most of our contracts are based on a firm fixed price so our clients know the exact cost of an investigation; however, our services can also be billed on a time and expenses basis depending upon the scope of the project. To obtain a proposal from us for a specific project, please provide us with the relevant project information stated above by sending an email to RFPs@past-crm.com.
Some of the services we offer (please note that the terminology used may vary depending upon the governing body that is requiring the study and the applicable laws that are being addressed), as well as, a brief general explanation of their purpose and goals include:
Phase I Cultural Resources Survey and Inventories (including Initial Evaluations in the City of Malibu)
Conducting a survey or inventory is usually the first step taken in the cultural resources evaluation process.
The purpose of this study is to identify any known or suspected prehistoric or historic resources that may be located on a property.
The scope-of-work for these projects generally include: a review or relevant documents, a records search from an archaeological information center, an on-foot field inspection of the subject property, and a written report documenting the findings of the study.
Within the final report recommendations are made regarding the need for further steps in the evaluation process for resources revealed during the investigation as well as those which may be inadvertently discovered during any work on the property.
Phase II Evaluations and/or Subsurface Testing
In the event that the initial study was able to identify any known or suspected cultural resources, additional investigations may be needed.
The purpose of these evaluations are to further define the nature and extent of the resource(s) and to assess their importance as defined by various Federal, State, and local laws, ordinances, and regulations.
Depending upon the nature of the resources investigative work on these type of projects may include additional historic research; documentation; subsurface archaeological testing; artifact analysis; comparisons with other nearby and regional cultural resources; and consultations with various officials, agencies, organizations, and individuals.
If the identified resources a not found to be important, then no additional investigations are generally required prior to work on a project; however, excavation monitoring may be needed to insure that additional finds are documented and evaluated properly.
Should it be determined that any cultural resources located on a property qualify as “important” and that the implementation of a proposed project will have a significant effect upon the environment, a Phase III data recovery program will be needed to mitigate any impacts should avoidance (the preferred alternative) not be possible.
The complete findings of the investigation, along with any determinations and recommendation, are detailed in a written report.
Phase III Data Recovery Programs
In the event that “important” cultural resources are identified following the results of a Phase II evaluation, a Phase III data recovery program will be needed.
The purpose of a Phase III data recovery program is to mitigate adverse impacts upon important cultural resources.
The scope-of-work for data recovery programs are project-specific and are guided by an explicit research design.
The work plans for these programs usually call for the scientific data recovery of an appropriate sample of the resource. This sampling may include surface collections and archaeological excavate, followed by analyses of the recovered materials and a final technical report.
The monitoring of grading or excavation work by an archaeologist is usually required for projects following the completion of the phases listed above as well as in cases where surface conditions or other factors (e.g., under existing roads, trenching, landslides, fill, etc.) hinder an evaluation prior to implementation of specific work on a project .
The purpose of archaeological monitoring is to identify and evaluated any known or suspected cultural resources. It is important to note that nearly all archaeological evaluations are based on testing and sampling a small portion (generally 15% or less) of any given area. As such, it is possible that important archaeological resources and other unfortunate finds such as human remains may still be present within a project area despite all efforts to previously detect them.
The scope of archaeological monitoring depends on many factors (e.g., the geology of the area, the type and number of excavation equipment being employed at any one time, the size of the project, etc.). Proper budgeting considerations should take into account that stop work orders may be needed as part of a project in order to allow archaeologists and others (e.g., Native Americans, etc.) the time to properly evaluate any mitigate any important find(s).
Like all previous stages of the cultural resource evaluation process, the final step of the monitoring program is the complete analyses of all recovered materials and the preparation of a final technical report.
CRM Plans, Research Designs, and Record Searches
Cultural resource management (CRM) plans can take many forms and result in the development various types of documents and media depending upon their reasons and goals.
The purpose of CRM plans, generally speaking, are to summarize existing information about cultural resources that are known to, likely to, and suspected to, exist with a project area and to identify the the appropriate steps that will be needed to evaluate any resources in the future (basically, a programed approached to the management of cultural resources).
The scope-of-work for these type of studies usually include extensive background research on the project area; a careful review of existing site records and reports; consultation with various agencies, organizations, and individuals; a summary of the research; projections on the various type of resources that may be located in the area; and the identification of various laws, ordinances, and regulations that govern cultural resource as well as the methods that will be used to compliance.
Research designs are developed to: (1) make explicit statements regarding the objectives of the proposed archaeological research effort; (2) define the scope of the investigation; (3) identify the methods, techniques, and procedures to be used; (4) provide a schedule for the activities; and (5) permit comparison of the proposed research with the research.
Record searches are used to review any previous cultural resource work conducted within or near the subject property to develop a contextual background for the immediate project area. These searches are usually conducted at, or by, the appropriate State-run regional Archaeological Information Center for a fee. Additional background research may also be conducted at libraries and museums, as appropriate. Record searches are also alway conducted as part the Phase I investigative process, but, depending on the needs of the Lead Agency, they can also be issued as stand alone documents.
PAST, INC. offers educational programs to governmental agencies, environmental organizations and professionals, historical and archaeological societies, and schools.
Our “Junior Archaeologists” programs combine a general description of archaeological research and goals, as well as, the opportunity for a mock hands-on excavation for elementary school age children.
Of course, we are always more than happy to answer and explain the archaeological evaluation process to our clients in greater detail than that detailed on this page.
In addition to archival research, field investigations, and report writing, PAST, INC. also specializes in the photographic documentation of cultural resources.
Photographic documentation can include general landscape, buildings, and other structures to record current conditions as well as features and artifacts as part of the cultural resources evaluation process.
We use both high quality digital cameras and software to produce professional results. Film cameras (35mm and 2¼ x ¼”) are also used, as required, for color slides.
In order to accomplish our work in a cost effective manor, PAST, INC. maintains extensive in-house records, and a wide range of field and laboratory equipment that is needed for archaeological investigations. For data analysis and report preparation, we utilize computer systems with the latest software to produce timely professional reports. Since all of our reports are produced electronically, PAST, INC. can also provide this information to our clients digitally on CD-R or DVD-R media as a PDF file (other file formats are also available upon request); in addition to the comb-bound hard copies that are sent to our clients at the end of the process. Furthermore, our reports address all applicable cultural resource laws and clearly defines all management options. While complying with all the various cultural resource laws and regulations can sometimes seem like a daunting procedure, PAST, Inc., always tries to make the process relatively painless and easy to understand, where, in the end, our clients feel that they received value for the money spent.