The archaeological research carried out in
this area of intensive prehistoric use was completed as part
of the Richardson Hill Road Landfill Superfund project. A cultural resource
study of the superfund site was required as part of the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA)
fulfillment of Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation
Act of 1996. Under this law, federal agencies must assess
a project site for its potential to contain cultural resources,
including historic structures and historic and prehistoric
Parsons Engineering Science,
Inc. of Liverpool, New York retained PAF to conduct a
cultural resource investigation of the superfund site prior
to its development. The research commenced in 1991 with a
Phase 1A literature review, the goal of which was to evaluate
the sensitivity of the project’s area of potential effect
(APE) for containing historic and archaeological resources.
The documentary research carried out for this study found
a lack of information on how uplands were used by prehistoric
groups in general. However, documentation did exist for a
few unusual Late Woodland sites positioned on drainage divides.
The literature review concluded that the resource-rich environment
within this project setting had the potential for containing
prehistoric sites. PAF recommended a Phase 1B archaeological
survey to identify whether any sites did in fact exist within
the project area. EPA and the New York State Historic Preservation
Office concurred with this recommendation.
Ten years passed before remediation plans were finalized and
Phase 1B investigation was commenced. PAF’s archaeological
survey identified a series of small prehistoric sites within
the project’s APE. In order to evaluate the extent and
significance of these findings, further examination of the
sites was recommended. The goal of the Phase 2 site examination
was to assess the eligibility of the sites for inclusion on
the National Register of Historic Places through an evaluation
of site content, function, intrasite variability, and chronology.
The Phase 2 site examination research, carried out in 2001-2002,
determined that each of the seven prehistoric sites produced
data that could contribute to topics of research significance.
Based on the research potential of the sites, PAF recommended
that the sites were eligible for the National Register as
the Herrick Hollow Prehistoric Archaeological District. Since
impacts to the sites could not be avoided, a final Phase 3
data recovery was recommended as mitigation for the adverse
impacts to the sites.
Phase 3 archaeological data recovery investigations were carried
out in 2002-2003. The goal of this final stage of archaeological
research was to record and preserve a sample of the site’s
data—including artifacts, soil profiles, soil samples,
botanical remains, and features— for archaeological
research while at the same time allowing the remediation project
In March of 2003 the Herrick Hollow Prehistoric District was
determined to be eligible for the National Register by the
New York State Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation
and United States EPA. This website outlines the context of
the site, the excavation process, and interpretations.