The old Moss Landing Marine Laboratories at Monterey Bay’s Moss Landing Harbor sustained serious structural damage during the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake. After a lengthy study of alternatives, a new location was chosen for the Lab in 1994. At that time, archaeological test excavations took place at CA-MNT-234, an archaeological midden with Native American burials located adjacent to the new Marine Laboratories site. The prehistoric resource was recommended eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, and a data recovery plan was prepared to mitigate impacts resulting from construction of the new facilities.
Far Western was chosen to carry out the data recovery work at CA-MNT-234 and to monitor construction activities. Archaeological investigations yielded evidence of two distinct periods of prehistoric use: from 8000 to 6500 BP (years Before Present) and from 4000 to 150 BP. In other words, this site had been occupied for 8,000 years, right up to the time of Historic Contact between native and non-native people on Monterey Bay. The site contained a very dense shell mound with fish bone, whale bone, and many processing tools, as well as a flaked stone tool production area or “lithic workshop.” Far Western excavated only those portions of the site that could not be avoided by project activities; other areas were capped with protective fill and left undisturbed.