Far Western Receives 2017 Governor’s Historic Preservation Award

Far Western receives one of the coveted 2017 Governor’s Historic Preservation Awards for their work at archaeological site CA-SBA-1703, resulting in the document Salvaging the Past: A Case Study in Archaeological Inquiry. The California Office of Historic Preservation and State Parks and Recreation identified the document as an “excellent model for this kind of documentation and sharing of important resources.”

The report, authored by Allika Ruby and Patricia Mikkelsen, was a collaborative effort. Supporting authors included Philip Kaijankoski, Eric Wohlgemuth, Angela Arpaia, Lucas Martindale Johnson, Andrew Ugan, William Hildebrandt, John R. Johnson, and Nathan Stevens. Terry Joslin with the California Department of Transportation was involved throughout, as were Barbareño Chumash representatives who monitored all excavation work—Gilbert Unzueta, Isa Folkes, and David Dias.

Project Background

Salvaging the Past: A Case Study in Archaeological Inquiry 

The Las Vegas and San Pedro Creeks Capacity Improvements Project involved culvert replacement for flood control along US Route 101 near the city of Goleta, Santa Barbara County. A huge box culvert lay in a rechanneled drainage, stretching under railroad tracks, multi-lane Route 101, and an off-ramp. There were also two known sites either side of the highway, in a very urban environment, one occupied early in time—CA-SBA-1703—the other a named ethnographic village—S’axpilil’s (SBA-60). The sites are just north of Goleta Slough at the confluence of two creeks, an area with archaeological evidence shoring focused settlement for thousands of years.

Far Western was tasked with conducting salvage data recovery operations, within time, budget, weather, and safety constraints. The theme of the work became site persistence—

How could any intact cultural deposits survive in such an environment?

Through experience and skill, geoarchaeologist Phil Kaijankoski identified intact versus disturbed deposits. We then quickly developed a work plan to recover maximum information in a hectic environment using appropriate and diverse field techniques.

Back at the lab, we analyzed and interpreted the data, focusing on the identification of discrete temporal components. We had to determine if the deposit was associated with SBA-60 or SBA-1703; it was geographically right in-between. Geoarchaeologist Kaijankoski noted that the newly identified deposit lay on an ancient fan, as did SBA-1703, whereas SBA-60 sat on a youthful floodplain. Initial dating and artifact analyses confirmed the site deposit on the western slope was clearly associated with the older occupation at SBA-1703, dated to around 3700-2400 cal BP. A few Late Period artifacts, especially in the mixed eastern slope, indicated some overlap between the two sites.

Whistle with Asphaltum-embedded Shell. Post-900 cal BP.  Click image to view in 3D!

Public Outreach Efforts

Given diverse, abundant artifacts, along with intact features, Far Western was able to undertake in-depth analyses and focus on addressing current avenues of research. The data presentation was geared to students of cultural resource management as the project highlighted the persistence of intact cultural resources in highly disturbed environment, and innovative methods to retrieve, analyze, and document findings.

The project presented such an important learning opportunity, that Far Western felt obligated to share it as much as possible, in a format that was readable, educational, and exciting. Therefore, a visually appealing document specifically geared to archaeology students focusing on cultural resources management and contract archaeology was created.

It includes:

  • perspectives on site preservation in an urban environment
  • excavation strategies adapting to special conditions
  • local and regional environmental reconstruction focusing on Goleta Slough
  • relevance to biological, geological, archaeological, and 
  • environmental studies
  • complex kinship studies based on mission records that connect Chumash individuals from the village of S’axpilil’s to Chumash rancherias
  • innovative field techniques that adjust for conditions and findings and emphasize the importance of temporal components
  • an in-depth study of geoarchaeology, noting the importance of a study of soils and soil transitions, is important to geologists and archaeologists.

Study questions were also prepared, relating to important aspects of the field work and research. Far Western provided the report and study questions to seven regional institutions to be incorporated into lesson plans; they have already been used in several classroom settings, with positive feedback.

Another key component of the project was the presence of the local Native American community. The monitors were provided copies of the case study; each encouraged the use of Salvaging the Past in archaeology classrooms. The ethnographic studies of Dr. John R. Johnson for this project emphasize the larger social network that existed at the time. This information is only available from extensive mission record studies.

 
 
 

Published: Tufa Village (Nevada): Placing the Fort Sage Drift Fence in a Larger Archaeological Context.

Far Western is proud to present the publication of

Tufa Village (Nevada): Placing the Fort Sage Drift Fence in a Larger Archaeological Context.

By D. CRAIG YOUNG and WILLIAM R. HILDEBRANDT,

The 102nd edition of the Anthropological Papers of the American Museum of Natural History

The Fort Sage Drift Fence is one of the largest pre-Contact rock features known in the Great Basin, and appears to date between 3700 and 1000 cal B.P. When Lori Pendleton and David Hurst Thomas (1983) first recorded the 2 km long complex, they were impressed by its sheer size and the amount of labor required to build it. This led them to hypothesize that it must have been constructed, maintained, and used by specialized groups associated with a centralized, village-based settlement system—a system that was not recognized in the archaeological record at that time. Their hypothesis turned out to be quite insightful, as subsequent analyses of faunal remains and settlement pattern data have documented the rise of logistical hunting organization linked to higher levels of settlement stability between about 4500 and 1000 cal B.P. throughout much of the Great Basin. Although Pendleton and Thomas’ (1983) proposal has been borne out on a general, interregional level, it has never been evaluated with local archaeological data. This monograph remedies this situation through reporting the excavation findings from a nearby, contemporaneous house-pit village site. These findings allow us to place the drift fence within its larger settlement context, and provide additional archaeological support for the original Pendleton-Thomas hypothesis.

“Over the course of many years, long after encountering the little blue book by Pendleton and Thomas, I hiked the Fort Sage Mountains, bagging peaks, strolling along fans, and often walking the long, linear feature of the drift fence. When Bill and I had the good fortune to investigate Tufa Village—a site we’d discovered during a pipeline project—and given my occasional and long-time collaboration with Bryan Hockett and Jim Carter (and many others) on expansive constructed features like the drift fence, our thoughts soon turned to tying our ideas of Middle Archaic settlement and social patterns to a specific setting, and thereby connecting, in a way, the village with the fence. It was a pleasure to work with Bill to take the seminal work of Pendleton and Thomas another small step forward.” – D. Craig Young

Dedication

Jim Carter, to whom this work is dedicated, continually encouraged our pursuits and motivated us to always consider the bigger picture.

Acknowledgments

Archaeological investigations surrounding Tufa Village epitomize the nexus of responsible development, public land management, technical proficiency, scientific inquiry, and critical review that results in this concise treatise on a significant aspect of Great Basin prehistory. These connections are made possible through the hard work and cooperation of many groups and individuals. We appreciate Vidler Water Company for allowing us to work along their pipeline right-of-way; Jim Hutchins, archaeologist at Vidler, provided a great opportunity to continue our work in the region.

Jim Carter, to whom this work is dedicated, guided our permitting process with the Carson City Field Office of the Bureau of Land Management. Although we work in a regulatory environment, Jim continually encouraged our pursuits and motivated us to always consider the bigger picture. We similarly appreciate the assistance of Rebecca Palmer of the Nevada State Historic Preservation Office, and Gene Hattori and the Nevada State Museum, for facilitating our research plans and allowing access to previous artifact collections. Thanks also to the tribal representatives from the Reno-Sparks Indian Colony and the Washoe Tribe of Nevada and California for assisting during all phases of our project.

Our excavation teams included Allen McCabe, Steven Neidig, Michael Darcangelo, Sarah Rice, Jerry Tarner, Neil Puckett, Thomas Martin, Maurine Kick, Bill Leyva, Andrea Nardin, Kyle Ross, Priscilla Taylor, Kristen Revell, Anna Starkey, and Hirschel Beail. We have benefited from the technical savvy of our laboratory and analytical team of Kim Carpenter, Eric Wohlgemuth, Daron Duke, Richard Hughes, Tim Carpenter, Kaely Colligan, and Jill Eubanks.
Our effort is only realized through the exceptional efforts of our graphic arts and publication team led by Nicole Birney. She relies on the talents of Tammara Norton, Kathleen Montgomery, and Michael Pardee. Kathy Davis provided editorial consistency. Special thanks go to each of you. We also appreciate the kind collaboration between Nicole and everyone at the American Museum of Natural History.

 


The Anthropological Papers is a monograph series that has been publishing important anthropological and archaeological studies for over 100 years, continuously since 1907

The series focuses on large-scale studies with national and international significance, geared toward a professional, scientific audience. It is distributed to every significant research library in the country, and many international facilities as well. 

In one of the most prestigious outlets in the world, the publication demonstrates Far Western’s world-class research. The Anthropological Papers allows Far Western to reach a very large audience—an audience which wouldn’t be reached otherwise.

 

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Order printed copies on the web from:
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