On a recent Transportation project, RETTEW’s historic and archaeological experts kept several headstones and grave sites safe.

A roadway’s crumbling retaining wall in western PA needed to be rebuilt. The wall ran very close – mere inches – to more than 30 headstones from centuries ago.

RETTEW’s masonry conservator worked with the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation to plan for moving and temporarily storing the headstones, ensuring their safety during construction. Our team documented the stones’ existing condition – all were from the 1800s – and followed best practices to move and store the fragile stones and then ensure exact placement when they were returned to their resting place.

Our forensic expert and field archaeologists were on site during demolition and excavation to observe and ensure no human remains were disturbed. The removal of the wall exposed the edges of three graves, but did not disturb any remains that had shifted over the years. RETTEW’s team mapped the locations of the graves and covered them with protective material before the new wall went up next to them.

Building and maintaining infrastructure is just as important to RETTEW as protecting and honoring history. We’re proud to have experts on our team that do all of the above!