Evaluating and Predicting the Effects of Vibration from Construction and Use of Transportation Structures on Buried Archaeological Deposits
Historic Preservation/Cultural Resources
Community & Cultural Concerns
Research Idea Scope
Purpose of research is to determine the potential effect to buried archaeological deposits from the construction and subsequent operation of transportation facilities. Because the typical method of archaeological mitigation (data recovery) can be very time consuming and costly, the controlled burial of significant archaeological sites under highway fill or encapsulation under asphalt or cement has been implemented on occasion as an alternative, based on the presumption this essentially acts to preserve the archaeological deposits and the integrity. However, little research exists to effectively evaluate vibration impacts, long term effects of vibration and compaction on archaeological sites nor the effectiveness of site burial as a mitigation measure. This project will gather base data for predictive modeling, synthesize this data with existing data and evaluate its applicability to archaeological issues, develop a framework for predictive modeling in evaluating adverse and cumulative impacts from transportation projects and assist in decisions as to appropriate mitigation measures.
1. To determine the levels, depth, distance and effects of vibration from the construction and use of transportation structures in differing subsurface environments. What are the degrees of compaction and mixing results from vibration levels over the short and long term in various types of sediments from construction and facility use?
Once disseminated in print and by electronic media, the findings of this study may be incorporated by transportation agencies, in consultation with their preservation partners, on a project-by-project basis, or in programmatic stewardship/streamlining agreements.
Urgency and Payoff
The results of this study will supply transportation agencies with the necessary information to evaluate:
- The effectiveness of controlled archaeological burial under or near transportation structures with varying subsurface stratigraphy.
- Develop predictive models for vibration impacts on cultural resources from construction and use of transportation structures in the short and long term.
- To help justify the extent of data recovery and costs to regulatory agencies, when burial and encapsulation is not an appropriate preservation strategy.
- To develop specifications for design and construction techniques and/or site burial requirements.
- This type of information will improve accuracy of evaluation effects, identify issues early in the process which can effect project timelines and ultimately cost, improve decision making. The end result will provide highway planners and preservation personnel with a valuable tool to assist in project streamlining while at the same time broaden opportunities for better stewardship of archaeological resources.
The community which will benefit from this research includes AASHTO, FHWA, local transportation agencies, State Historic Preservation Officers (SHPOs), the National Conference of State Historic Preservation Officers (NCSHPO), the federal Advisory Council on Historic Preservation, the National Park Service, environmental and engineering consultants.
John Hartley, FHWA/TRB ADC50, Telephone: 405-605-6040 x 316