Loyalhanna Lake: A Geoarchaeological Approach to Understanding the Archaeological Potential of Floodplains
Author(s): Zaakiyah Cua
Unlike uplands, floodplains generally yield stratified deposits that may include deeply buried landscapes and archaeological sites. Most state specifications for cultural resources surveys require floodplains to be geomorphically evaluated in order to identify buried landscapes. This is most frequently accomplished via trenching, an effective, but timely, costly, and sometimes destructive method. This project reports on an alternative technique utilizing a multi-proxy methodology coupling geophysical survey with auger sampling. These non-invasive and limited-impact methods produce accurate results without causing extensive destruction to cultural resources. The study area, located along Loyalhanna Creek in Westmoreland County in western Pennsylvania, is managed by the US Army Corps of Engineers – Pittsburgh District (USACE). As a federal agency, the USACE is mandated to identify and preserve cultural resources by Section 110 of the National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA). Unfortunately, federal agencies often face limited staffing, resources and funding to address management of cultural resources. In addition to proposing a method for identifying buried landscapes, this project also provides a case study of partnerships between federal agencies and public universities; a mutually beneficial collaboration which provides agencies with data essential to land management while simultaneously providing students valuable opportunities to conduct cultural resource management assessments.
Cite this Record
Loyalhanna Lake: A Geoarchaeological Approach to Understanding the Archaeological Potential of Floodplains. Zaakiyah Cua. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 445390)
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Abstract Id(s): 20899