Jason Espino, a student in the M.A. in Applied Archaeology program and president of the Allegheny Chapter of the Society for Pennsylvania Archaeology, was interviewed on the impacts of gas well drilling in the Marcellus Shale formation on archaeological sites by the Pittsburgh Post Gazette.
Espino’s M.A. thesis topic is an evaluation of the impact of drilling on the 3,000 known archaeological sites in Washington County. Unlike the situation with many other impacts to archaeological sites in the commonwealth, there is little protection for sites impacted by gas-well drilling.
The article, which appeared May 9, 2011, describes the damage that has been done to several important archaeological sites in Westmoreland and Washington counties. One site, the Kirshner site, near West Newton in Westmoreland County, was a large Monongahela Culture village dated to the Late Prehistoric period. Part of the village has been investigated by archaeologists who found that it had been burned by attackers who “massacred its inhabitants,” according to the article.