The Diachronics Divisions provides a core of six analytical services:
* Archaeological Research Design
* Complete Prehistoric Artifact Analyses
* High-Magnification Use-Wear Analyses
* Component Identification Based Upon Soil Fluidity
* Landscape History/Landscape Ecology
Archaeological Research Design
We offer complete research design, with special attention to Section 106 and counterpart cultural resources projects. Services include planning and budgeting for Phase I survey, Phase II evaluation, and Phase III data recovery/mitigation.
Complete Prehistoric Artifact Analyses
The Diachronics Division maintains a fully-equipped archaeology lab, providing complete analytical services for all prehistoric archaeological assemblages. Services include checking flakes for the presence of microliths; we are the only lab to do so as a regular practice. We provide the nation's best and most thorough assessment of unflaked and groundstone tool use. We do not just identify these, we will tell you exactly on what materials those tools were used.
High-Magnification Use-Wear Analyses
High-magnification use-wear analysis has proven to be substantially more accurate in assigning use-wear than reside analysis. Further, while residue analysis generally yields information on only how the tool was last used, high-magnification use-wear analysis provides information about the history of the tool's use. There is no reason, of course, that your research needs cannot use both methods. High-magnification use-wear analysis is considerably less expensive, more precise, and faster. The staff at the Diachronics Division pioneered many of the procedures used.
The eight projectile points shown to the left, called Savannah River Stemmed points, date from between 3500 - 1000 B.C., and are found in Atlantic Coast states from Massachusetts south into Florida. Those shown were recovered from an archaeological site near Washington, D.C. Such points actually were used as knife blades.
The center image on the left, magnified 50 times, shows the striations along the edge of a point, with the striations at right-angles to the length of the point, indicating use that would be consisting with shaving wood.
The lower image on the left, magnified 200 times, shows a pattern of wear that looks for all the world like molten solder. Such wear is diagnostic of use on wood and other plant fibers, suggesting that -- given the striations -- the point was used primarily in tasks comparable to woodworking.
[Sources: Yerkes, Richard W., and P. Nick Kardulias. 1993. Recent developments in the analysis of lithic artifacts. Journal of Archaeological Research 1:89-119; Neumann, Thomas W., and Mary L. Spink. 2001. The Early - Late Archaic unflaked stone tool industry from the Hobo Hill Site (44FX1517): Methods, analysis, and interpretation. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 17:137-167.]
Component Identification Based Upon Soil Fluidity
Soils, during periods when they are active and dynamic, behave like very thick fluids. Things dropped on their surfaces tend to sink over time. Based on this phenomenon, the Diachronics Division developed testing procedures to distinguish different archaeological components in non-stratified deposits. In at least two cases, our research saved private-sector clients from the need to go to full-scale Phase III data recovery, saving one firm in excess of $100,000.[Sources: Neumann, Thomas W.. 1993. Soil dynamics and the sinking of artifacts: procedures for identifying components in non-stratified sites. Journal of Middle Atlantic Archaeology 9:94-108; Neumann, Thomas W., and Robert M. Sanford. 2001. Practicing Archaeology: Training Manual for Cultural Resources Archaeology. AltaMira Press.]
Landscape History/Landscape Ecology
The vegetation present in an area where construction is proposed can tell a great deal about how the land was used in the past, and especially if the land has in any way been disturbed. For those worried about having to have large-scale archaeological work done before their own project can continue, knowing at the outset whether or not the land has been too badly disturbed to preserve intact archaeological deposits is critical. It can make a difference of tens of thousands of dollars. Diachronics Division staff invented the landscape ecology system that uses standing vegetation to document historic land-use with up to a 10-year resolution. Thus, if there is a question of whether your property was previously plowed or otherwise disturbed, we can help determine if indeed that was the case.[Sources: Neumann, Thomas W., and Robert M. Sanford. 1987. The use of vegetation successional stages in cultural resource assessments. American Archaeology 6:119-127; Sanford, Robert M., Gary F. Salmon, and Thomas W. Neumann. 1997. Reading the landscape: Archaeological inference of historic land use in Vermont forests. Journal of Vermont Archaeology 23:15-23; Neumann, Thomas W., and Robert M. Sanford. 2001. Practicing Archaeology: A Training Manual for Cultural Resources Archaeology. AltaMira Press.]
The Diachronics Division provides statistical testing services. Indeed, all comparative statements in our research and compliance work are required, by institutional policy, to be accompanied by the appropriate statistical assessment. Such testing includes:
Compliance/Research Verification, which includes basic chi-squared and t-tests, assesses the likelihood that the given research conclusion is true;
Surface Trend Analyses, based upon a Pearson's r correlation coefficient matrix, this analysis procedure allows data from widely spaced archaeological tests to be used for behavioral interpretation; and
Numerical Taxonomies and Artifact Typologies, using nearest-neighbor single-linkage Euclidean distances (the only mathematically viable numerical taxonomic technique), isolates artifact types just as well as it does settlement distributions, allowing for an actuarial element to be entered into risk assessment for land-use planning.