and say, ‘Look, we’re going to need at least three
months here, a month there and probably only
a couple of weeks at this more minor site,’” Mr.
Such planning was important. Equally critical,
however, was planning together. “Each site team
and each project manager literally sat around a
table figuring out what the approach was going to
be at each site, what the critical archaeology activities were going to be and where we should place
archeology in the program” to minimize impacts to
budget and schedule, says Mr. Carver.
Of course, surprises still emerge, despite all the
planning. That’s why the plan also included backup
mitigation measures, including program acceleration. “On several sites, we’ve used shift work and
nighttime lighting to enable the archaeology work
to accelerate,” he says.
These mitigation measures, which help to minimize construction delays, were a real-time collaboration between archaeologists and project managers.
“When the project manager knows the archaeology
The Secret Ingredient
has to happen on his or her watch—when he or she
takes a personal interest in it and makes sure team
members are not banging their heads together to
resolve possible program conflicts—it makes a huge
difference,” Mr. Carver says. “We couldn’t have
achieved anything as an archaeology
team without dedicated support from
the project managers.”
Since construction began in 2007,
archaeologists working on a US$5.3
billion expansion of the Panama
Canal in Panama have recovered
more than 2,000 artifacts belonging to all periods of human habitation. Panamanian law protects these
irreplaceable cultural artifacts, says
Zuleika Mojica, environmental specialist for the Panama Canal Expansion Program, Panama City, Panama.
Procedures established prior to earthmoving
are the secret ingredient leveraged by the project
team to protect both artifacts and project progress, Ms. Mojica says. “At the start of the project,
the Panama Canal Authority [ACP] established a
procedure for the management, protection, coordination and rescue of cultural and paleontological
resources,” she says. “When a finding is reported
in project areas, the contractor, subcontractor or
Archaeologists work at the site of
the Panama Canal expansion.
artifacts along the
route of the planned
before they’d even