12/20 – Archaeological Reports
On Day 19 of the contested case hearings in Hilo, the proceedings continued with a TMT-contracted archaeologist called to testify.
Archaeologist Robert Rechtman was contracted by TMT to conduct several archaeological reports, including a recent archaeological monitoring report and a field reconnaissance of the planned TMT site on Maunakea.
Rechtman, with 38 years of professional archaeological experience, has worked on archaeological projects in the Hawaiian Islands dating back to 1989. He has worked as an archaeologist and principal of ASM Affiliates based in Hilo since 2013. Prior to that, he owned his own firm, Rechtman Consulting, LLC, which completed more than 800 cultural resources management projects throughout Hawaii.
In Fall 2013, Rechtman Consulting, LLC, conducted archaeological monitoring of geotechnical testing associated with the proposed TMT observatory development area within the Astronomy Precinct on Mauna Kea. The project area is located within the Mauna Kea Science Reserve, in Area E of the Astronomy Precinct (see Figure 2).
Sixteen holes were drilled/augured at depths between 2.5 to 80 feet along the access road and within the footprint of the proposed TMT development area (see Figure 6) (see hyperlink listed below) for boring samples and other soil testing. During the course of the monitoring, all exposed soil was inspected and core samples were examined for cultural material.
Rechtman concluded that no surface archaeological features were observed; nor were there any cultural deposits, artifacts, or human skeletal remains. He also reported that there are no historic properties or burials on the TMT site.
The report was reviewed and accepted by the Department of Land and Natural Resources’ State Historic Preservation Division (SHPD) in December 2013.
Rechtman also conducted an updated field reconnaissance in 2015 to identify and document the presence and relative abundance of plant species and vegetation communities found on the project site.
A botanist walked the project site and documented all observed plant species. “No plant species that are state or federally listed as threatened, endangered, or candidates for listing, nor any rare native Hawaiian plant species, were observed on the project site during the survey,” Rechtman testified.
The remainder of today’s hearing was spent by other parties cross examining Rechtman on his archaeological report findings and techniques used during his various surveys.
Today was the last hearing for the year, as the hearing parties will break for the holiday season. The next hearing at the Grand Naniloa Hotel is scheduled for January 3, 2017.