Services


Artifact analysis in wet laboratory of PAST, Inc.PAST is a private, nonprofit research and public education organization specializing in interdisciplinary research into the prehistory and history of the peoples of the Northeast, with a particularly strong focus on southern New England. Although archaeological work formed the core of our work when the firm began in 1976, we have expanded into all types of historic property documentation, Web site creation, museum exhibit design, and preservation planning. Underlying all of our work is our avid commitment to quality.

A glimpse of services we offer:

Dan and James gridding

archaeological reconnaissance surveys


intensive archaeological and historical surveys


archaeological site excavation/data recovery


geoarchaeology


impact assesment and mitigation strategies


cultural resource management plans


specialized laboratory services, including lithic usewear analysis, historic-period artifact identification and artifact conservation


National Register of Historic Places and National Historic Landmark nominations


state- and federal-level bridge and historic architecture documentation including HABS and HAER recording of buildings and engineering structures


public outreach projects such as presentations, books, museum exhibits, and Web sites on historic and archaeological themes


educational outreach and curriculum development


A detailed view of services we offer:

Archaeological Reconnaissance Surveys

A collector's assemblage that was documented by PAST.Town-Wide Surveys - With funding provided by the Connecticut Historical Commission, PAST conducted a series of town-wide reconnaissance surveys in which we experimented with a variety of site location techniques. In addition to systematic testing, we tried novel methods of informant contact. The surveys produced the first systematically-gathered large archaeological database in Connecticut, which still serves as a baseline for most research done in the state. Read more...

Intensive Archaeological and Historical Studies
Retracing Rochambeau's Revolutionary War March - Lieutenant General, Jean-Baptiste Donatien de Vimeur, Comte de Rochambeau commanded the French auxiliary army commissioned to aid the Americans in the Revolutionary War. With the help of sophisticated French strategic planning and troops, the Americans were able to defeat the British at Yorktown in September 1781, effectively winning the war. Landing in Newport, Rhode Island, in 1780, Rochambeau led his troops through Connecticut to New York, where they joined the American forces of George Washington. Under a grant from the Connecticut Historical Commission, PAST undertook intensive documentation and archaeological research to identify the march route and campsites of the French Army. Read more...

1830s view of of Old Newgate PrisonOld New-Gate Prison and Copper Mine - PAST was privileged to perform an intensive archaeological and historical study of the remains of an 18th-century copper mine converted into a Revolutionary War prison. Our work involved determining archaeological sensitivity and evaluating the existing exhibit at this popular tourist attraction. Read more...


Data Recovery / Excavation Projects
Three 18th-Century Rural Homesteads - In conjunction with several Connecticut Department of Transportation projects, PAST uncovered and excavated the buried remains of three 18th-century rural houses, Bone comb recovered from the Sprague homestead in Andover, Connecticutthe only Euro-American houses in Connecticut to be fully excavated. Because the sites overlap temporally and were excavated in compatible manners, their data are particularly useful for comparative purposes. The sites shed welcome new light on 18th-century architecture and lifeways of the "middling sort," people who made up the majority of the population, but about whom we know the least. Read more...

Topographic map of the Route 7 & 15 interchangeU.S. Route 7 and State Route 15 - The Connecticut Department of Transportation has proposed significant improvements to one of the state's high-volume highway intersections. Amidst the heavy development along Route 7 in western Connecticut, PAST identified a significant prehistoric site on an undisturbed Pleistocene outwash terrace. As the road improvements could not be redesigned, PAST conducted a data recovery excavation in order to mitigate impacts to the site; the project has yielded important information about Connecticut's prehistory. Read more...


Geoarchaeology

At PAST geological considerations are fundamental components of nearly every project. Many archaeological sites are connected to the physical landscape in important ways, and geologists supply specialized knowledge that can enlighten site interpretation. For prehistoric sites geologists can help archaeologists understand complicated soil concepts and the properties and sources of artifactual materials; at historic period sites geological expertise can assist in evaluating landscape modification. We have also applied geological testing technologies to a variety of archaeological studies, with excellent results. Read more...


Impact Assessments and Mitigation Strategies
Putnam Memorial State ParkPutnam Memorial State Park - This 19th- century park commemorates the American soldiers of the Revolutionary War, who camped within its borders. Considerable archaeological remains exist, and the park itself is historically significant for its early-period landscapes and architecture. PAST created strategies to avoid development-related impact to archaeological resources and the period features. Read More...

Newtown Sewer System - PAST identified a large prehistoric site in the floodplain area of a proposed sewage treatment plant in Newtown, Connecticut. Working with project engineers and administrators, we helped formulate a plan which permitted development to proceed while preserving much of the site in situ. Data from the site have also furthered the public's understanding of the local prehistory. Read More...

Medicine bottle recovered during excavation of the Clark Farm Tenant House Clark Farm Tenant House - In connection with the Connecticut Department of Transportation's proposed improvements to State Route 20 in East Granby, PAST identified a site that has provided us with a glimpse into the lifeways of African-American farm laborers in Connecticut. Read More...


Specialized Labratory Services, including Artifact Conservation
Tim cleaning a bone artifact in conservation labCareful treatment and identification of artifacts recovered archaeologically are important steps in cultural resource management. Archaeological investigations, no matter how carefully conducted, are destructive; when fieldwork is complete it is the collected artifacts that will tell much of a site's story. Future generations will also use artifact assemblages to expand the knowledge of our past. Cleaning, rebagging into clearly labeled stable bags and acid-free boxes is essential, as are accurate identification and recordation of the artifacts. PAST often spends as much time in the lab as in the field on a given project. Read More...


National Register of Historic Place and National Historic Landmark Documentation
Mount Riga Ironworks - Historic documentation of this site has captured an integral piece of Connecticut's and the nation's industrial economy. Read more...

Terryville Waterwheel - The Terryville Waterwheel is a rare survivor of a once-common machine of industrial America. Read more...

Avery Point LighthouseAvery Point Lighthouse - The Avery Point Lighthouse is a fixture of maritime history and a local preservation group has rallied to preserve it. Read more...

Grove Street Cemetery - As an 18th-century burying ground, the Grove Street Cemetery possesses significant artistic information about Connecticut's early funerary practices. Read more... The entrance to the Landis Gores House, New Canaan, CT

Landis Gores House - Built in 1948, the Landis Gores House is a prime example of modernist American architecture designed by one of the influential "Harvard Five" architects.Read more...

French Army-Related Sites and Structures - Remnants and reminders of Revolutionary War assistance by our French allies include campsites, related vestigial historic roadways, and structures. Read more...


State- and Federal-Level Historic Documentation
Blakeslee House - Threatened by road development, PAST recorded this simple 18th-century center-chimney farmhouse to the standards of the Historic American Building Survey (HABS). Read More...

Shetucket River Deck-Truss Bridge - Bridge No. 1415The Connecticut Department of Transportation commissioned an expansive survey of Connecticut's historic bridges. The Shetucket River Deck-Truss is just one of the over forty historic bridges that conveys a sense of past generations' building traditions, technological expertise, and ideas about beauty. Read More...

Greens Farm Railroad Bridge - As the Connecticut Department of Transportation continues to update its railroad corridors, it has embraced the importance of documenting the history of railroads in Connecticut. Read More...

Spring Street Roundhouse - Photo of the Spring Street Roundhouse remainsConstruction of Church Street over the Northeast Corridor rail line in New Haven required encroaching upon the site of an 1870 roundhouse. PAST personnel designed and executed an archaeological-monitoring program that exposed significant roundhouse remains and measured and photographed them as a permanent record of the structure. Read More...


Public Outreach Programs

Public education has been a primary mission of PAST since its inception in 1976. Whether grant-funded research or compliance-mandated surveys, every project's results reveal part of our collective history: the past belongs to us all. We have shared the stories in all sorts of ways: talks, exhibits, workshops, Web sites, books, articles and school outreach. Read More...

Educational Outreach and Curriculum Development

As part of our public outreach efforts, PAST has long recognized the value of bringing local history and archaeological discoveries into the classrooms of children. We have visited schools, hosted site visits, open houses, and workshops for children, and have judged school history contests. Now we are intensifying and formalizing our school-oriented efforts, partnering with schools and preparing day-programs, teaching guides, and curricula that meet the needs of Connecticut school systems. Drawing from our broad and deep interdisciplinary knowledge of the past, we can offer a range of innovative and interesting tools and options to help teachers to make the past come alive. Read More...





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