archeology services

Environmental Studies
Mitigation Banking
GIS, Mapping, and Surveying
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We dig into history so our clients can create the future


Thunderbird Archeology has been part of the WSSI team since 2004 and has over 25 years of experience providing cultural resource expertise on hundreds of projects in Northern Virginia. Our knowledgeable staff, state-of-the-art equipment and facilities, and unparalleled capacity to streamline the environmental and cultural permitting process ensure that we can efficiently assist our clients with their land acquisition decisions.

Desktop Reconnaissance
The project site evaluation (Desktop Reconnaissance) is usually performed during the feasibility process and provides information about the potential cultural resources on a property. We scrutinize archival sources, locations of previously recorded cultural resources, and topographic maps to determine if any known cultural resources could be present on a site, and we facilitate the prediction of what types of additional undocumented resources may also be present.

Field Reconnaissance
The Phase 1A field reconnaissance assesses the probability that cultural resources will be present on a site and also identifies any visible cultural resources. Depending on the nature of any


Thunderbird Archeology’s professionals are members of:

  • The Register of Professional Archaeologists;
  • The Council of Virginia Archaeologists;
  • The Archeological Society of Virginia;
  • The Society for Historical Archaeology;
  • The Society for American Archaeology;
  • The Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference;
  • The Washington Association of Professional Anthropologists.
resources found, we may make a preliminary assessment of their significance and their potential impact on development plans. Like the desktop reconnaissance, this investigation is most useful in the feasibility or very early planning stages of the development process but is not recognized as a means for state and federal regulation compliance.

Phase I Investigation
The Phase I investigation should be performed as early as possible in the development process because it is the first step toward compliance with Federal and state legislation and may also be the first step toward compliance with county comprehensive plans or proffers. A Phase I investigation is designed to locate and identify any cultural resources that may be present on the property. Once the resources are identified, a preliminary assessment of their significance is made, in terms of potential eligibility for the National Register of Historic Places. A Phase II archeological investigation will be recommended for those sites determined to be potentially significant.

Phase II Intensive Archeological Investigation
The Phase II archeological evaluation is conducted on a single archeological site to determine if that site is eligible for the National Register of Historic Places under criteria established by the Federal government.  If we determine that a site is eligible for the National Register, we will recommend either site avoidance or Phase III data recovery excavation.

Phase III Data Recovery Excavations
The Phase III data recovery excavation mitigates the impact of a project on a significant archeological site.  The Phase III excavation results in the recovery of information about the site prior to project development; it is necessary only if the site can not be preserved.

Cemetery Delineation and Investigation
Cemetery delineations/investigations are conducted to determine the limits of a cemetery so that graves will not be inadvertently disturbed during the construction process.

We can also determine the number of individual graves if a client is planning to relocate the cemetery.  We also have experience in working with remote sensing firms to locate graves, and we can provide construction monitoring near cemeteries and grave relocations.

Architectural Evaluation
Historical architectural services are provided by History Matters LLC, a consulting firm that works closely with WSSI, and has expertise in all phases of historic resource documentation and historic preservation compliance.  Services include reconnaissance level and intensive level architectural surveys, Determinations of Eligibility, and other assessments necessary to comply with Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act and local preservation ordinances. 





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