Sharing the Past – Far Western Contributes to the 51st SCA Annual Meeting

2017 SCA Program

Click image to view entire program

March 9th – 12th 2017: Braving an impending storm – fortunately, a forecast that wasn’t – over 800 archaeologists attended the 51st Annual Society of California Archaeology Meetings in Fish Camp, California, just outside Yosemite National Park on the western slope of the Sierra Nevada.

Organized by Far Western’s Dr. Adie Whitaker (Program Chair), the overarching theme of “Sharing the Past” was vibrant throughout the venue and symposia. Friday morning’s Plenary Session included a stellar line up of speakers sharing highlights of recent research in the foothills and mountains of the central and north-central Sierra. The Plenary Session officially opened the 2017 meetings as Dr. Eric Wohlgemuth of Far Western discussed the challenges of archaeological field methods in California’s conifer forests. Eric spoke alongside Diane Gifford-Gonzalez, Carly S. Whelan, Kathleen L. Hull, Reba Fuller, Brian Codding, Ron W. Goode, and Mary L. Maniery.

The meeting then dispersed into a buzz of presentations, posters, forums, and roundtable discussions. Far Western contributors and participants provided strong presence throughout the weekend.

As the meetings closed on Sunday, Far Western past-President Bill Hildebrandt took on a new presidential role, joining the SCA Board as Incoming President. Bill begins his service this year as a member of the seven-person board and will serve as President of the SCA from 2018-2019.

In addition to behind the scenes work organizing the program by Adie Whitaker, Production Supervisor Nicole Birney produced the program using a database designed by Partner Jay King

A special thank you to Nicole Birney and Jay King for assisting with program organization and to Tammara Norton for contributing to our 2017 SCA presentations. 

Organized Paper Symposium

Organizer: Kaely R. Colligan

Organized Poster Symposium

Organizer: Allika Ruby

Papers

Brian F. Byrd, Patricia Mikkelsen and Shannon DeArmond
Kaely R. Colligan
Jay King
Jack Meyer
Patricia Mikkelsen
Andrew Ugan, Katie Bonham, and Justin Wisely
Justin Wisely
Eric Wohlgemuth

Posters

Angela Arpaia and Eric Wohlgemuth

 

To learn more, please visit the SCA Proceedings compiled by Proceedings Edtior, Allika Ruby

Archaeobotanical Analysis

Charred Plant Remains Identification

Far Western employs a team of archaeobotanists who specialize in the recovery and identification of charred plant remains from archaeological sites. Archaeobotanical findings are integrated into Far Western excavation reports to address project-specific and regional research issues. In conjunction with remains of terrestrial animals and birds, fish, and shellfish, plant remains can help investigate prehistoric and historic-era use of food resources, changes in use of native foods across time and space, and reconstructing past environments and their changing patterns as landscapes evolved. Far Western also studies variability in fuel use through wood charcoal identification, working with Paleoscapes Archaeobotanical Services Team of Bailey, Colorado.

Far Western’s archaeobotany lab features flotation equipment and personnel capable of processing hundreds of archaeological sediment samples. Archaeological plant remains are identified with the aid of a reference collection of more than 500 seed, fruit, root, and wood samples from California and Nevada. Far Western has three binocular microscopes with capacity ranging from 7–70 magnifications, including digital image capture capability, and a digital scale with resolution to 0.1 milligram for weighing wood charcoal, nutshell, and berry pit fragments. Archaeobotanical data are entered into a relational database with quantitative and qualitative data on more than 2,400 flotation samples from cismontane California and hundreds of samples from the Great Basin and Mojave Desert.

Far Western’s archaeobotanists have worked with plant remains in California and Nevada since 1981. Archaeobotany lab director Dr. Eric Wohlgemuth has more than 30 years of experience in the field, and has written more than 100 reports on the subject, including several peer-reviewed publications on California plant remains. His research interests in California archaeobotany involve the evolution of and geographical variation in hunter-gatherer intensive plant use in California. Assistant Archaeobotanist Angela Arpaia, BA, also has many years of experience in identifying plant remains from California and Nevada, and she has presented scholarly papers on ancient California plant use.

Starch Grain Analysis

Starch grain analysis is an archaeobotanical research method long-used internationally, but still growing as a method used in California archaeology. Far Western’s Justin Wisely specializes in extracting starch grain residue using a non-destructive process with distilled water and a sonic cleansing technique, that can be used both in the lab and in the field. Wisely extracts samples to analyze under a microscope, working within a magnification range of 100x-1000x, and identifications are made based on Far Western’s ethnographically informed reference collection. Starch grain investigations can be conducted on a variety of artifacts and features, such as portable ground stone, flaked-stone, or bedrock milling features.

San Francisco SAA 80th Meeting Successes

Far Western at SAA Meeting

Laura Brink and Stephanie Bennett at the Far Western table for the 80th Annual SAA Meeting.


The Society for American Archaeology (SAA) met in San Francisco for their 80th Annual Meeting – their largest meeting yet! The SAA is an international organization dedicated to the research, interpretation, and protection of the archaeological heritage for the Americas. This year, Far Western was well-represented with many successful presentations, including the opening session, and poster sessions. Learn more about the Society for American Archaeology HERE.

Use the buttons below to see abstracts from Far Western presentations and collaborations!

Angela Arpaia
Plant Remains Assemblage in Santa Clara Valley
Laura Brink
Reconstructing Mobility in the San Francisco Bay Area: Strontium and Oxygen Isotope Analysis at Two California Late Period Sites, CA-CCO-297 and CA-SCL-919
Ryan Byerly
Geochemical and Physical Characterization of Lithic Raw Materials in the Olduvai Basin, Tanzania
Brian Byrd
The Neolithic Houses of California – An Ethnohistoric Comparative Perspective on Household and Community Organization among Complex Hunter-Gatherers
Brian Byrd
Wadi Madamagh, Western Highlands of Jordan: Lithic Evidence from the Late Upper Paleolithic and Early Epipaleolithic Occupations
Daron Duke
Haskett Spear Points and the Plausibility of Megafaunal Hunting in the Great Basin
Tod Hildebrandt
Divergent Histories: Prehistoric Use of Alpine Habitats in the Toquima and Toiyabe Ranges, Central Great Basin
William Hildebrandt and Kelly McGuire
Middle Archaic Expansion into High Elevation Habitats: A View from the Southwestern Great Basin
Philip Kiajankoski, Jack Meyer, and Paul Brandy
A Land Transformed: Holocene Sea-Level Rise, Landscape Evolution, and Human Occupation in the San Francisco Bay Area
Lucas Martindale Johnson
Preliminary Interpretations of the Reduction Technology and Distribution of Obsidian Cores at Caracol, Belize: Learning to Reconsider Maya “Eccentrics” and Social Relations of Ritual Objects
Jack Meyer
Holocene Transformation of San Francisco Bay and Transbay Man Site Stratigraphy
Michelle Rich
From A Forest of Kings to the Forests of Peten: The Mirador Group at El Perú-Waka'
Nathan Stevens and Jeffrey Rosenthal
Geology, Historical Contingency, and Ecological Inheritance in California's Southern Sierra Nevada
Adrian Whitaker and Brian Byrd
An Ideal Free Settlement Perspective on Residential Positioning in the San Francisco Bay Area
Eric Wohlgemuth
Environmental Constraints and Plant Food Intensification in the Sacramento Valley
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Bill Hildebrandt Receives Baumhoff Special Achievement Award at SCAs

William Hildebrandt, Far Western Anthropological Group

The Martin A. Baumhoff Special Achievement Award is given for lifetime contributions to California archaeology. The award focuses on an individual’s career accomplishments, personal and professional highlights, scope of influence, and other achievements. At the 2015 Society for California Archaeology (SCA) Conference, this March, Far Western’s founding member William Hildebrandt received the Baumhoff Special Achievement Award, presented by Kelly McGuire at the banquet event. We are honored as a company to benefit from his lifetime of dedication to and professional achievements in the field of archaeology.

The Golden Shovel Award recipient Edward Mike was introduced by Far Western Senior Archaeologist Michael Darcangelo. Ed has worked with Far Western for over twenty years. Patricia Mikkelsen was also awarded the President’s Award for Exceptional Service to the SCA.

Overall there was an outstanding showing and participation at the SCAs again this year by Far Western Staff:

  • Laura Brink presented Patrilocal Post-Marital Residence and Bride Service in the Early Period: Strontium Isotope Evidence from CA-SJO-112, a paper she co-authored with Jelmer Eerkens and Candice Ralston. Laura also co-authored a second paper, Trophy Heads or Ancestor Veneration? A Stable Isotope Perspective on Disassociated and Modified Crania in Pre-contact Central California with Jelmer Eerkens, Eric J. Bartelink, Richard T. Fitzgerald, Ramona Garibay, Gina A. Jorgenson, and Randy S. Wiberg.
  • Kaely Colligan served as this year’s Program Chair, gave the Welcome speech and organized the Plenary Session Beyond Boundaries, as well as co-authored Small Sites with Big Potential: Survey Results from the Cabrillo College Field School with Dustin McKenzie, Emily Bales, and Violet Navarrete.
  • Jill Eubanks presented The Importance of Field Records, Notes, and Maps for Future Research at the Poster Symposium.
  • Molly Fogarty and Stephen Hennek instructed the workshop Can I Touch It?: Workflows to Create Journal-Quality Images and Interactive Graphics with 3D Scanning and Photography.
  • William Hildebrandt was a symposium discussant and presented Native American Rock Features from South-Central Oregon and Northeastern California, a paper he co-authored with Paul Brandy, Nathan Stevens, and Amy Foutch Porras.
  • Philip Kaijankoski presented his poster Assembling the East Bay: Subsurface Geoarchaeological Explorations for the Silicon Valley-Berryessa BART Extension Project.
  • Jack Meyer and Jeffrey Rosenthal co-authored Paleodietary Analysis of a Central California (CA-CCO-696) Burial Population using Stable Carbon and Nitrogen Isotopes with Candice Ralston and Jelmer Eerkens.
  • Patricia Mikkelsen introduced the Poster Symposium and also presented her poster Prehistoric Structures and Yucca Roasting Ovens in Cuyama Valley. She gave out over 100 copies of The Long Road Traveled.
  • Mark Hylkema and Far Western’s Tammara Norton designed the Program cover, the Archaeology Month Poster, and stunning labels for wine bottles this year.
  • Jeffrey Rosenthal also co-authored Using XRF to Reconstruct Mobility at the Skyrocket Site (CA-CAL-629/630) with Carly S. Whelan, John H. Pryor, and Jeffrey R. Ferguson.
  • Allika Ruby co-authored The Antiquity of Patwin Occupation in the Capay Valley of Central California with Al Schwitalla, and Mike Taggart.
  • Nathan Stevens presented Changes in Technology in the Cuyama Archaeological Record at the Poster Symposium, and he also presented A Reevalutaion of Tuscan Obsidian Hydration, which he co-authored with Michael Darcangelo.
  • Adrian Whitaker was a guest speaker in the forum “Women in Archaeology: Mentoring and Connecting.”
  • Eric Wohlgemuth presented Change and Stability in Late Holocene Plant Use in the Cuyama River Canyon at the Poster Symposium.

A huge thank you to the fantastic Far Western staff including Kathleen Montgomery, Nicole Birney and the Graphic Design and Publishing Department; Art Director Tammara Norton; and Paul Brandy, Jill Bradeen, and the GIS and Cartography Department for their extraordinary work creating maps and graphics for the posters and slide shows for those who presented. Also, thank you to the wonderful Administration Department for their cool and collected organizational skills and helpful work in support of the Far Western contributions to the conference.

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Far Western Occasional Speaker Series

Far Western Speaker Series

The Far Western Speaker Series provides a forum where scholars can present their research, and discuss their ideas. Speakers and audience members are diverse, and include some of the top academics in the country, graduate students engaged in cutting-edge research, and archaeologists from the contracting world. Lectures are held at the Far Western Lab at 2727 Del Rio Place, Davis, CA 95618 from 5-7pm.

Selected Occasional Speaker Citations
Upcoming201720162015201420132012

January 24, 2018 – Daron Duke, Far Western

TBA

February 21, 2018 – Albert Gonzalez, CSU East Bay

TBA

March 21, 2018 – Randy Haas, UC Davis

TBA

May 23, 2018 – Carly Whelan, CSU Chico

TBA

 

Jack Meyer

2017

The Deep Archaeological Record of San Francisco Bay. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. November 2017.

Hadick, Kacey

2017

Innovations in Reality Capture Technologies for Heritage Sites + Virtual Reality Demonstration. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. October 2017.

Greenwald, Alexandra M.

2017

Parental Investment Strategies and Women’s Foraging Efficiency in Central California.Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. June 2017.

Jazwa, Christopher S.

2017

Settlement, Seasonality, and Climate on Santa Rosa Island, California. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. April 2017.

McGuire, Kelly

2017

The Potential Role of Geophytes, Digging Sticks, and Formed Flake Tools in the Western North American Paleoarchaic Expansion. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. February 2017.

Younie, Angela M.

2016

Two Early Sites in Alaska: a Dramatic Tale of Legacy Collections, Lithic Technology, and Community Perspectives in the Research of the First Americans. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. December 7, 2016.

Sullivan, Alan P.

2016

Fire Farming and Food Security in the Prehistoric Upland Southwest: Some Implications of New Evidence from the Grand Canyon Area. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. October 19, 2016.

Wisely, Justin

2016

Starch Grain Analysis of Bedrock Mortars in the Sierra Nevada Mountains: Experimental Studies to Determine their Function. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. September 21, 2016.

Martindale Johnson, Lucas

2016

Following the Movement of Stone: A Study of Ancient Maya Obsidian from Caracol, Belize. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. May 25, 2016.

Byerly, Ryan

2016

Toolstone Source Characterization in the Olduvai Basin, Tanzania. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. April 20, 2016.

Lambert, John M.

2016

Paleoindian Colonization of the Recently Deglaciated Great Lakes: Mobility and Technological Organization in Northern Wisconsin. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. March 30, 2016.

Higgins, Courtney

2016

Diving into Digital Data: A Look at 3-Dimensional Modeling Applications in Underwater Archaeology. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. February 24, 2016.

Hampson, Jamie

2015

Rock Art and Contested Identity. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. November 4, 2015.

Zwyns, Nicolas

2015

The Upper Paleolithic of Eurasian Steppe Belt: A View from Northern Mongolia. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. October 21, 2015.

Warnash, Scott

2015

Archaeology of the World Trade Center: Lessons Learned from Two Very Different Recovery Approaches. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. September 24, 2015.

Lenzi, Mike

2015

The Utility of Experimental Archaeology for Addressing Research Questions: A Case Study of Crescents from the Western United States. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. September 10, 2015.

Murphy, Laura R.

2015

Geoarchaology, Paleoenvironments, and Hunter-Gatherer Landscape Interactions: Case Studies from the Great Plains, USA. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. June 10, 2015.

Munson, Jessica

2015

Cultural Variation in Classic Maya Royal Rituals: A Lexical Perspective. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. April 29, 2015.

Scholnick, Jonathan B.

2015

Stylistic Patterns and Culture Change: Revisiting Eighteenth-century New England Gravestones. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. March 25, 2015.

Wohlgemuth, Eric

2015

Limits to the Central California Acorn Economy: Fine-grained Floral Findings from the Lower Sacramento Valley. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. February 25, 2015.

O’Connell, James F.

2015

Where Shall We Have Lunch? The First Colonization of Australia 48,000 Years Ago. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. January 22, 2015.

Smith, Kevin N.

2014

San Nicolas Island Fishhook Production. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. December 3, 2014.

Tremayne, Andrew H.

2014

The Origin and Development of Maritime Adaptations in Northern Alaska: An Ecological Perspective. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. November 19, 2014.

Whelan, Carly S.

2014

Hunter-Gatherer Storage and Settlement: A View from the Central Sierra Nevada. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. May 21, 2014.

Lightfoot, Kent

2014

The Anthropocene in California: An Eco-Archaeological Perspective. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. February 20, 2014.

Smith, Chelsea M.

2014

Stable Isotope Analysis to Reconstruct Dog and Fox Diet on San Nicolas Island. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. January 22, 2014.

Woodfill, Brent

2013

Community Engagement and Industrial Archaeology at a Classic-Period Maya City in Guatemala. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. December 3, 2013.

Ugan, Andrew, and Jeff Rosenthal

2013

Planorbids, People, and Paleolakes: Freshwater Molluscs and their Implications for Late Pleistocene and Early Holocene Human Occupation of China Lake Basin, Western Mojave Desert. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. November 13, 2013.

Rich, Michelle

2013

El Perú-Waka’, Guatemala: Archaeological Research in a Classic Maya Kingdom. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. September 26, 2013.

Sandos, James A., and Patricia B. Sandos

2013

Mapping Social and Cultural Change at a California Mission: San Jose, 1797-1840. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. August 22, 2013.

Eerkins, Jelmer

2013

Why Fishing and Hunting Matter: Health and Diet in Prehistoric Central California. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. May 15, 2013.

Barker, Pat

2013

Animal Imagery in European Ice Age Cave Art. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. March 20, 2013.

Costello, Julia

2013

Summer in Tyre, Southern Lebanon. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. February 27, 2013.

Bartelink, Eric

2012

Forensic Anthropology: Past, Present, and Future. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. December 5, 2012.

Bettinger, Robert

2012

Hunter-Gatherer Origins of Millet Agriculture in China. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. November 13, 2012.

Bartelink, Eric

2012

Interpersonal Violence in the Prehistoric San Francisco Bay Area. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. June 6, 2012.

Stevens, Nathan

2012

Technological Plasticity and Cultural Evolution Along the Central Coast in California. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. May 29, 2012.

Darwent, John

2012

Beach Ridge Archaeology on Cape Espenberg, Alaska. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. May 16, 2012.

Garvey, Raven

2012

Saying Uncle to Mother Nature: The Middle Holocene in Andean Argentina and Other Arid Regions. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. April 11, 2012.

Zeanah, David

2012

Diesel and Damper: Disintensification among the Martu of Western Australia. Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. March 20, 2012.

Yengoyan, Aram A.

2012

World’s Fairs and Exhibitionary Complex: Civilization and Culture (1851-1940). Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc., Davis, California. February 15, 2012.

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