Ryan Brady and Sarah Brewer: “Prehistoric and Historical Archaeology in the City of Santa Cruz: Implications for Past Occupation and Land Use – When and Why?”

Dudek recently completed a cultural resources sensitivity study for the City of Santa Cruz. In addition to compiling information for all archaeological reports and recorded sites within the City limits, we developed a sensitivity model for predicting the locations of past activities. The sensitivity model considered variables such as distance to water, slope, and soil type and provided some surprising results when compared with the existing record. This study has implications for understanding prehistoric and historic land use in the Santa Cruz area and can also be used to interpret or predict more regional trends along California’s Central Coast. Continue reading

John Foster: “Archaeology Underwater: Exploration and Conservation Beyond the Shores of Time”

Foster will present a broad overview of underwater archaeology in California and beyond. Using such examples as Manila galleons, Spanish frigates, Steel-hulled passenger steamers, and WWII tankers, he will describe how archaeology is done in the underwater environment and why it’s important to understand and conserve maritime cultural resources. Underwater sites can produce amazing preservation conditions and important heritage information. It’s been said that the aqueous environment contains the greatest repository of human cultural heritage on earth. New technological advances are making these sites accessible, so what will be the future of the underwater past?

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SCAS’s 2nd Annual Film Fest: “Cache from the Island of the Blue Dolphins” and “The Impact of the Frolic”

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Juliana Quist: “CA-YOL-249: Initial Findings from an Early Middle Period Cemetery Site in the Sacramento Valley”

CA-YOL-249 offered a unique opportunity to investigate a previously unidentified, largely undisturbed, Early Middle Period cemetery site in the Sacramento region. Excavations by Archeo-Tec in 2016-2017 utilized modern field techniques and laboratory technologies to interpret the physical record. In advance of a formal project publication, this talk by Project Manager, Juliana Quist, will present an overview of the site using radiocarbon dating, lithic analysis, osteology, and comprehensive mortuary analysis, and this information will provide valuable contributions to the body of archaeological knowledge of the region.

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October is California Archaeology Month

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SCAS Field Trip to Monterey’s Old Whaling Station and the Whaler’s Cabin at Pt. Lobos

Please join members of the Santa Cruz Archaeological Society (SCAS) for a guided field trip in Monterey CA on Sunday, September 23rd. We will be visiting two beautiful local landmarks of archaeological and historic significance. Come learn about the historic, architectural restoration of the Old Whaling Station, and the shore-whaling efforts and processes in the 1800s at Point Lobos. Continue reading

Beth Mabie: “Place of the Spirit Woman Spring Site”

Santa Teresa Springs in South San Jose was once the convergence of oak woodlands and marsh as well as home to Ohlone Thámien-speaking tribal groups. Construction activities in the early 1970s uncovered skeletal remains and artifacts that were recovered by West Valley College, San Jose State University, and local high school volunteers. The collection (CA-SCL-125) sat for decades before being dusted off and analyzed. Come and learn about ’Arma ’Ayttakiš Rúmmey-tak (“Place of the Spirit Woman Spring Site”).

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Georgie DeAntoni: “Post-Contact Paleoethnobotany in California: Studying Indigenous Landscape Management Practices Along the Central Coast”

Within California archaeology, paleoethnobotany—the study of plant remains—has most commonly been applied to pre-colonial contexts. However, much can be learned by using paleoethnobotany to study the post-contact period, particularly in examining questions of landscape change and Indigenous resilience. Continue reading

Lee Panich: “The Archaeology of Native American Persistence at Mission San José”

Archaeological investigations at Mission San José in Fremont, California, have revealed large areas of the mission landscape. Of particular importance are several projects conducted in the mission’s Native American neighborhood, where archaeologists have documented the remnants of two adobe dwellings and other features. Continue reading

Sarah Peelo: “Public Uses of Household Spaces: Archaeological Data Recovery of Room 102 Rancho San Andres Castro Adobe”

California State Parks, in collaboration with Friends of Santa Cruz State Parks, is currently restoring the Rancho San Andrés Castro Adobe, Watsonville, California. Because preservation in place was not feasible as mitigation for the impacts to this significant historical resource, Albion Environmental, Inc. designed and executed a plan for data recovery. These recent excavations suggest that the Castro Adobe represents Mexican Period rancho architecture, with cobble foundations, adobe walls, and a prepared adobe floor. In particular, the assemblage included artifacts likely related to indigenous practices, providing a lens into understanding the often undocumented experiences of indigenous rancho laborers. This research highlights that the Castro Adobe was used by the diverse community living and working at Rancho San Andrés, illustrating the very public nature of adobe structures during the Mexican Rancho Period.

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