From Dr. Roger Moore, President:
Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc., (MAC) is a 35-year-old firm based in Houston that I founded while working on my Ph.D. degree in Anthropology at Rice University. Much of my initial work came through the kinds offices of two agencies: Harris County and METRO. Among my first independent consulting projects was the 1980 archeological analysis of drilling cores for a proposed METRO subway along Main Street. Although this initiative was ultimately rejected by voters, I continued to consult for METRO on bus, rail, transit center, and other projects in the subsequent decades. This work was a continuation of my academic focus on urban archeology that begun as a graduate student in the City of Galveston. My urban consulting continued with additional work at the Ashton Villa House Museum in Galveston and prior to the construction of the Galveston Trolley Project. But the focus for my very large urban infrastructure projects soon shifted to the Houston Central Business District.
My early work for Harris County came closer to the norm for North American archeology, searching for much older Native American prehistoric sites in more rural parts of the County. Much of this work, initiated in the 1980s was in the northern reaches of the County, initiated by County Judge Jon Lindsay’s vision to purchase land along Cypress and Spring creeks for what came to be known as the “Cypress Creek Park System.” Early MAC surveys along these streams included Jesse Jones Nature Park, Pundt Park, Telge Park, the Mercer Arboretum, Burroughs Park, and others. This work resulted in continuous advancement of our archeological survey (site discovery) standards, along with ample demonstration that human occupation of Spring and Cypress creeks extended back no less than 12,000 years.
MAC conducts what is known formally as contract archeology, that is, one that conducts investigations required by state and/or federal law prior to certain kinds of construction projects. Simply put, we go out and survey a road or pipeline alignment, a new park, a Corps of Engineers-permitted ship terminal, etc. (the list is quite diverse) and determine if there are any heretofore undiscovered archeological sites within the impact area. If there are none, we report that in a formal report, and the project may proceed once the regulatory agencies concur with our findings. Things get slightly more complicated if we do find sites, but most of the time the outcome is that the sites are not significant because they are disturbed, very ephemeral, of a well-documented age and type, or alternately the ground impact of the project is altered to avoid the site(s). The latter is the preferred outcome since the past is a finite resource. If a site of possible significance must be disturbed, then we conduct manual test excavations to confirm if it is really significant, a formal term that for archeological sites means with potential to provide new information on the history or prehistory of the subject area. And in the rare instances that proven significant sites must be impacted (meaning, typically, destroyed by the construction) we conduct larger scale data recovery excavations to extract this new information before the site is done away with.
One somewhat uncommon focus of the firm has been on urban archeology, not simply an outgrowth of working in the fourth largest U.S. city. Finding and interpreting the surviving archeological remains hidden within urban areas has been a research focus of mine since graduate school. Initial research excavations at locations such as the Ashton Villa House Museum (with Dr. Texas Anderson) and in a courtyard behind the 1860 Kennedy Bakery building on Houston’s Market Square were soon joined by much larger public infrastructure investigations (such as the City of Houston's Sesquicentennial Park) mandated mostly by the provisions of the Texas Antiquities Code.
We have had the good fortune since to work on most of the major City and County infrastructure projects in the Central Business District over the last 30 years, such as the Astros ball park, several downtown parks including Bell Park and Discovery Green, the BBVA Compass soccer stadium, the Toyota Centre, the Convention Center and its associated hotel, etc. Contract archeology has been regarded by some academics as a step-child of archeology and anthropology, but I dare say many of the substantive and methodological advances in the U.S. over the last 25 years have been based on our kind of work.
I have also been extremely fortunate to have had the opportunity to work at this relatively late stage in my career on a long-term, primarily pure research project investigating the Battle of San Jacinto, the battle that secured the independence of the Republic of Texas from Mexico in April, 1836. We have systematically collected and recorded hundreds of artifacts directly associated with this battle. Using GIS systems to plot these finds, we have gained a greater understanding of the course and the armaments of the battle. The high point of our investigations was locating the long-misplaced site of the orderly surrender of Col. Juan Almonte and several hundred Mexican soldiers who had managed to escape the slaughter of the battlefield, The latter work was supported by a National Park Service Battlefield Protection Grant, and by the San Jacinto Battlefield Conservancy, as well as by NRG Texas Corporation, the righteous corporate landowner that first gave us access to this private tract and then provided financial support for an extension of the project to make sure that no important materials remained in the ground and were vulnerable to midnight looters.
MAC has evolved quite a distance from its origin as a single graduate student spending many days by himself to dig shovel tests across a remote tract along Cypress Creek. Our client base as well as our project experience has become extremely diverse over 35 years. We have worked with both commercial and residential developers to resolve cultural resource issues prior to project construction. We have surveyed well pads, pipelines, and downstream plant sites for the energy industry. We have carefully and sensitively exposed and defined the limits of poorly or unmarked cemeteries to ensure that the burials contained are not disturbed. We have surveyed hurricane protection levees and an international bridge along the border with Mexico. We have sponsored and ultimately paid for the only Southeast Texas prehistoric vegetation history based on pollen core samples extracted from a sphagnum bog in a Harris County Precinct 4 park. We have investigated homesteads of two of the Presidents of the Republic of Texas in the course of our work. And we have brought to light the first-hand story of the Battle of San Jacinto through the careful recovery and recording of military and other items lost in that brief but highly consequential battle.
I am very proud that Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc., has entered a new phase of its existence as a wholly owned subsidiary of Coastal Environments, Inc. This affiliation has already allowed MAC to move into new and more complex specialties such as historic standing structure evaluation and nautical archeology. We have already conducted work in the latter field on the Houston Ship Channel, and anticipate other opportunities in the Channel, Galveston Bay, and elsewhere.
Moore Archeological Consulting, Inc.
2313 Brun StreetPhone: (713) 861-2323
Houston, TX 77019
Houston, TX 77019
8: a.m.-5 p.m.