Joan Brandoff: “Maritime to Mountains”

brandoff1 Join SCAS on January 21 at 7:30 pm for a talk by Joan Brandoff, M.A., titled “Maritime to Mountains.” This meeting will take place at the Scotts Valley Library (251 Kings Village Road, Scotts Valley, CA) in the Scotts Valley Meeting Room; there is only one meeting room at that branch.

Few sites from the Early Period are found in the interior of Santa Barbara County. Most are defined by their assemblages of milling stones. However, CA-SBA-3950 is a buried deposit composed almost exclusively of marine and estuarine shell that has been dated by accelerator mass spectrometer radiocarbon dating to 6500 years before present. Recent investigations exposed a sidewall profile revealing the cultural deposits to consist of primarily two strata that are collectively 140 centimeters thick. Separate geomorphologic events capped each strata. Absolute dates from this investigation better define the time range represented, and have implications for the early use of interior landscapes by coastal inhabitants. This site also demonstrates how landscapes change, sometimes covering and then uncovering archaeological deposits.

Joan Brandoff graduated from UC Santa Barbara in 1973 with a B.A. in Anthropology and an emphasis in archaeology, then immediately went into the field on projects in the mountains above Santa Barbara and on Santa Cruz Island. That same year she began working for the U.S. Forest Service. She received her master’s degree in Archaeology from UCSB in 1982, with a thesis focused on a site settlement study of the Esselen Indians. She retired from the Forest Service in 2009 after serving as the Heritage Program Manager of the Los Padres National Forest, where she utilized her skills in land, resource, and heritage management. During several both large and small wildfires, she managed site protection activities during fire suppression and, in the aftermath, managed the evaluation and protection of sites affected by the burns. She also ran two field schools in cooperation with Cal State Dominguez Hills, and continues to do research on sites and collections from the Los Padres National Forest as a volunteer, while occasionally taking paying jobs in cultural resources management.


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