Archaeological Monitoring for Historic Tour Trail Rehabilitation in Mammoth Cave

Grants and Contracts Details


This document has been prepared in response to a request from the National Park Sevice (NPS) and specifically Mammoth Cave National Park (MACA) for a scope of work for archaeological monitoring of areas that will be impacted by construction-related rehabilitation along the Historic Tour Trail within Mammoth Cave. This section of tourist trail is slated for rehabilitation by replacing the existing boardwalk or dirt trail with interlocking stone/composite pavers. The archaeological monitoring is designed to document the impacts of trail construction activities in sections of the Historic Tour Trail that have been identified as having either medium or high potential for intact archaeological deposits. In addition, the archaeological monitoring will prove opportunities for the on-site archaeologist to collect limited additional samples from deposits that are of particular research interest. Previous archaeological testing has been conducted in selected areas, and that work has provided the basis for targeting selected areas for additional on-site monitoring. The Historic Tour Trail has been evaluated for its archaeological potential in an earlier project (Ahler, ed 2012), which identified areas of nil, low, moderate, and high archaeological potential. Intensive archaeological testing was conducted in 2014 and 2015 along selected trail segments with medium and high archaeological potential (the analyses are still in progress). The goals of the current project therefore are to provide on-site monitoring of the construction activities, with emphasis placed on trail segments with medium and high archaeological potential. Because of the irregular distribution of archaeological materials along the cave passages, and the fact that these materials are now shallowly buried by the current (CCC-era) trail, it is not possible to precisely predict locations of deposits with research potential. However, the previous work has allowed general trail segments to be evaluated, resulting in the categories of nil, low, medium, and high archaeological potential. The monitoring work will concentrate effort on the trail segments with most potential for containing intact deposits—the high and medium categories. The work is not designed to mitigate impacts to significant archaeological deposits through intensive data recovery. The monitoring work is also not intended to be substitute for archaeological testing. It should, however, provide a unique opportunity to more precisely evaluate the distribution and density of archaeological deposits along the Historic Tour Trail through limited archaeological sampling and documentation. The final purpose of the archaeological monitoring is to alert MACA personnel of the presence of significant intact archeological deposits that 1) cannot be avoided, and 2) will be adversely impacted by the proposed trail rehabilitation work. If archaeological deposits are encountered that require additional intensive testing and/or data recovery, construction work will be stopped in those areas until a full determination of the extent and significance of the deposits can be evaluated. Recommendations will be provided to reroute the trail or undertake complete data recovery to mitigate impact. This project has several components, identified as specific items of work in the Scope of Work. These include 1) monitoring of the Historic Tour Trail rehabilitation; 2) archaeological survey and monitoring under the Boardwalk prior to its removal; 3) monitoring of trail rehabilitation in Rafinesque Hall (along Audubon Avenue); and 4) preparation of a comprehensive report that describes the results of the monitoring and integrates these results with those of earlier projects, specifically those reported by Ahler (editor, 2012). The following sections provide discussion of the methods that will be employed to achieve these project goals, followed by a synopsis of the qualifications of key personnel.
Effective start/end date8/14/15 → 10/25/17


  • National Park Service: $93,336.00


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