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Professor Offers Archaeological Consulting

Published Tuesday May 31, 2022

Author Matthew J. Mowry

A Monadnock Archaeological Consulting dig site.

Robert G. Goodby, Ph.D., digs his work. Yep, it is the worst joke to use to introduce the fact that Goodby is an archeologist who, aside from teaching at Franklin Pierce University in Rindge, runs his own archeological consulting business in Dublin.

His company, Monadnock Archaeological Consulting, helps engineering firms, developers and municipalities across NH ensure the land they plan to build on has no archeological significance before any shovel hits the dirt.

The tagline for Monadnock Archaeological Consulting reads, “Going back to 11,000 BC since 2004.” The firm performs about 50 studies annually, and 90% of those projects are routine. “I look at a piece of land and certify there is nothing here to worry about,” Goodby says.

Robert G. Goodby, founder. (Courtesy)

But every once in a while, he finds something that requires an archaeological investigation. Such was the case in 2009 when Keene was building a middle school. “We found the oldest recorded site in New England from the end of the ice age with remains of four houses or tents, and we had over 200 stone tools and the remains of caribou bones,” Goodby says, adding that carbon dating of the artifacts found they were 12,600 years old.

“That was a real stand out project,” he says of the archaeological find. And teachers incorporated information from that excavation into their curriculum.

Since 2007, the company has received eight service contracts by the NH Department of Transportation for dozens of transportation projects and has an ongoing service contract with the NH Dam Bureau.

The pandemic barely affected business as stimulus money and the subsequent building boom resulted in brisk business, Goodby says. Though most projects are in NH, Goodby does some work in Maine and Vermont. He also hires other experts as well as his students. “When they graduate, they can say ‘I have already been a professional archeologist’,” he says.

Goodby took a sabbatical last year to write a book about his work and projects. “A Deep Presence: 13,000 Years of Native American History” was released on Oct. 11, 2021—Indigenous Peoples Day.

Goodby’s book. (Courtesy)

“We have a fascinating history in New Hampshire. It doesn’t just begin in the 1600s when Europeans arrived. It goes back 13,000 years,” he says.

Goodby says of the work, it’s an “opportunity to do a form of time travel, to take the artifacts.” He says,  “It’s creating knowledge of the past where there wasn’t any before.”

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