Tag Archives: California

America’s Parks

Two scathing reviews of the National Park Service’s approach to its historical resources were published recently:

Imperiled Promise: The State of History in the National Park Service, The Organization of American Historians

The State of America’s National Parks, The National Parks Conservation Association

In local news:

Source: Antelope Valley Indian Museum

In case you didn’t know, 70 California state parks are slated for impending closure. One Huffington Post article posits that this closure plan somehow forgot to include the treatment, packing, transportation and storage, of the thousands of artifacts these parks curate, including the two artifacts depicted here.

Source: Antelope Valley Indian Museum

Update: In response to the park closures, reduction in funding to the NPS and the state of cultural resources within parks in general, a select number of universities are offering a new certificate program entitled Leadership for Public Lands and Cultural Heritage!

The Leadership for Public Lands and Cultural Heritage Program began in January, 2011 with a class of 14 students. These students will be graduating from the program in May, 2012. Next year’s program is currently on hold, but hopefully it will start up again in the future.

The program’s curriculum was created by the universities involved in conjunction with the  National Park Service, the Center for Park Management and the National Park Conservation Association.  At least one of the professors was previously (or is currently) employed by the National Park Service. The majority of the students are also currently National Park Service employees. The program is taught mostly online, with only 1 week required in residence, allowing students to work and pursue the degree/certificate at the same time.

Thanks to Matt Wolf from the Eppley Institute for Parks and Public Lands Support for answering all my questions!

Another Update (4/26/2012):  George McKale and The Olompali People are trying to save Olompali State Historic Park, which is just north of San Francisco.  The park hosts 6 Coast Miwok archaeological sites, some of which date back 8000 years!  The park is also home to some great hiking and a recreated Coast Miwok village.

Source: The Olompali People

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California Archaeology Month


Source: Society for California Archaeology

There are lots of events going on.

I will be at Archaeopalooza on October 15th- hopefully- probably. They have some famous archaeologists presenting:

This guy.
As well as this controversial figure.

The Society for California Archaeology is encouraging archaeologists across the state the get involved.  They have lots of suggestions for what to do:

  • Ask your City Council or County Board of Supervisors (or both) to recognize Ocotber of each year as California Archaeology Month as part of a statewide effort to encourage respect, appreciation and a better understanding of California’s diverse cultural heritage. Annmarie can provide a draft of a mini–speech for you to present, and a draft resolution that you can provide to the board. Present each council or board member with a poster. To avoid duplicate efforts in one county, please tell Annmarie if you plan to talk to your city or county administrators.
  • CRM firms are encouraged to have an open house or create a display from recent work that can be placed in a public area.
  • Arrange a talk at a public forum in your town; give a show–and–tell at a local school.
  • Create a display for a local library, school, a mall, town hall or other public forum. Is the poster you created for the SCA poster session — this year or last — usable?
  • Organize an essay contest (for example, “Why is knowledge about the past important to us now?”) or create a bookmark contestat local schools, focused on archaeology. Possible prizes: cash; a book about archaeology; tickets to a museum (ask a museum to donate them); something the school suggests (tickets to homecoming? Prom?). Consider allowing a winner to visit a site where you are working.
  • Contact a local museum and volunteer to help with a display.
  • Help your local library display archaeology or California Heritage books.
  • Work with a local organization like Girl or Boy Scouts to do something like the above projects.
  • Please put any on–going events (visiting Speaker’s, open–houses) on the SCA Archaeology Month Calendar. Contact Annemarie Cox (760) 291-0370 to put an event on the Archaeology Month Calendar.
  • Get the event listed in the local newspaper calendar, and the public radio and TV calendars.
  • Write an article for the local newspaper.

SCA

Source: Society for California Archaeology

Have a Great Archaeology Month!

Final note- October is a great month for archaeology month, why? You can dress up as an archaeologist for Halloween!

Source: Disney Costume Ideas

Or dress your dog up…

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It’s an Oil Field!

Source: A Fellow Archaeologist, Melinda or Jo (I'm not sure!)

Recently I headed out to do some survey in the San Joaquin Valley, the fruit basket of the United States.  The valley also happens to be a prime location for oil, as you can see above. Those are brand-spankin’ new oil pumping units.

You may ask, “Why were you in an oil field?”

The short answer: Section 106 and CEQA and many other regulations that the United States and California have implemented in order to protect their cultural (historic and prehistoric) resources. That was not such a short answer… Here is a book to read all about Section 106 and those other laws. It’s written by Tom King who is an amazing writer.

I guess a shorter answer would be: I was looking for historic and/or prehistoric artifacts.  There were none. Often, in CRM, you don’t find anything, but we always have to look!

Source: archaeofieldtech

I took a photo of the ground for you- that’s where you look for artifacts. And here is a classic survey pose:

Source: archaeofieldtech

Walking with your head down. Staring at the ground, looking for interesting things. There was a ton of chert sitting on the ground out there, sort of interesting. It was non-cultural, and not very good quality- not knappable.

Source: paleoplanet

The darker brown points in this image are chert (the internet failed me- this is the best photo I came up with).  In this image they call this stuff agate. I’ve heard it called both chert and agate- they’re both classified as crypto-crystalline silicates (CCS). I will have to find the chert I saw and get some photos of it.

One final note about surveying in oil fields: you need an H2S monitor, otherwise you might DIE! Archaeology can be a dangerous business.

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Upcoming Events in the Los Angeles Area

A while ago I let you know that I would be at an even at the Getty Villa in June. That event is this weekend! It’s all sold out, but maybe you can convince someone, somewhere to get you tickets.

You can pick up his book if you can’t attend. You can also check out his webpage at the University of Pennsylvania.

Source: Penn Museum

Uncorking the Past: Ancient Ales, Wines, and Extreme Beverages
Saturday June 4, 2011
5pm
Getty Villa Auditorium
17985 Pacific Coast Highway
Malibu, California

Also, there is a workshop going at the end of July that I will be attending. Hopefully I’ll finally learn how to flintknap!

Source: Bakersfield Flinknapping Blog

Tehachapi Heritage League’s Flintknapping Workshop with Gary Pickett

Sunday, July 24, 2011
1 to 4 PM
Tehachapi Museum
310 S Green St
Tehachapi, CA 93561
(661) 822-8152
info@tehachapimuseum.org
$10: Reservations Mandatory (call them!)

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A Snowy Field Season- The First Submission!

The long awaited submission from Richie Cruz. These photos are from his field work up in Sonora, CA. The work was done prior to the construction of a bypass.

Richie says “the milling slick is going to soon covered with a freeway bypass. So these photos are going to be the only evidence of it.  The bypass is going to cover three sites, which is what we excavated. And we spent most of March there.”

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