Archaeology Education for the Visually-impaired Community

Following the 2017 Nuns Fire in the Napa region, a PG&E forester uncovered artifacts that are currently being used to help educate the members of the Visually-impaired community about the regions past. In a joint effort, PG&E partners and Far Western Principal Investigator Eric Wohlgemuth and Art Director Tammara Norton delivered artifacts and educational materials to Enchanted Hills Camp, where adults and children who are blind, Deafblind, or have low vision will be able to interact with them.

“The artifact collection will live here rather than an academic or museum setting. It will be used in different ways. Parts will be used in a touch box, where we made replicates that students can handle, with Braille tags explaining what they were used for. We will put the collection in a display case, with a resource guide in Braille that explains and describes the findings and gives information about the Wappo Tribe,” said Dr. Eric Wohlgemuth, Far Western Anthropological Research Group.

“This is an unparalleled opportunity for students who are blind or have low vision to learn about archaeology in a tactile way,” he added.

In addition to the tags, an educational book about the excavation is provided both in Braille and in print. Together the tags and educational book provide the students with information about the Wappo Tribe.

The items uncovered point to the site being used as a family summer camp, with artifacts including tools for cutting, scraping, and grinding, spearpoints, arrowheads, animal bones, and beads made from ocean shells, all dating from 200-400 years ago. During the excavation process, archaeologists uncovered a larger obsidian dart point that was used with atlatl (spear-thrower), which is estimated to be 920-750 years old.

The camp is located in the forest of Mount Veeder, on what is the traditional land of the Mishewal Wappo Tribe of Alexander Valley.

To read the full PG&E article:

McGuire earns the SCA Baumhoff Award

At the 2022 SCA Annual meeting, Kelly McGuire, one of Far Western’s founders, was awarded the Martin A. Baumhoff Special Achievement Award. Here’s a bit of what Bill Hildebrandt had to say about presenting Kelly with this award:

“This award is for people that have a career of conducting outstanding research and publication. This year’s recipient, Kelly McGuire, has certainly achieved these things and much, much more. Kelly has had a long and successful career in archaeology and has shown a remarkable ability to translate his findings into publications that are relevant to regional, national, and international audiences. He is a founding member of Far Western Anthropological Research Group, and the only person that has worked there for its entire 42-year history. California archaeology would not be what it is today without McGuire’s contribution to the creation and ongoing success of Far Western. Kelly McGuire’s multi-decade record of conducting meaningful research and publishing his findings in the some of the most prestigious archaeological outlets that we have, makes him a deserving recipient of the Martin A. Baumhoff Special Achievement Award.”

Congrats Kelly!