In October of 2017, numerous wildfires driven by high winds burned over 200,000 acres in Northern California. One of these, the Nuns Fire, burned over 56,000 acres in Napa and Sonoma Counties. The fire burned through portions of the Enchanted Hills Camp for the Blind and Visually Impaired, on forested Mt. Veeder eight miles northwest of Napa. After the fires, a PG&E forester visited the area to look for trees that would have to be removed near power lines. With the groundcover burned away, the forester saw a dense scatter of artifacts on the ground surface. Eric Wohlgemuth led the archaeological work at the site and found surprisingly dense artifacts, bone, and shell, including a fish bone from San Pablo Bay 25 kilometers away. The site was used as a short-term hunting camp about 900 years ago, then as a summer family camp about 400 years ago. Eric worked with Art Director, Tammara Norton to produce a truly unique educational booklet about the site…in Braille. The booklet includes raised impressions of a map showing the location of the Camp and the Wappo Tribe territory, a projectile point, biface, flake knife, and bone awl. The booklet will accompany the artifact collection that will be used to teach the Camp students about Native Americans.
After 30 years at Far Western, our esteemed colleague Sharon A. Waechter is retiring. Sharon’s collaboration and leadership in Native American archaeology, historical archaeology, and public outreach, as well as her editorial skill, exemplify the hard work that has made our company a success.
Sharon has worked as a professional archaeologist in California and Nevada since 1979. Her positions have included District Archaeologist and Assistant Forest Archaeologist with the Eldorado National Forest (five years); Resource Area Archaeologist with the Bureau of Land Management, Arcata (two years); Staff Archaeologist at the Cultural Resources Facility, Sonoma State University (three years); and as Principal Investigator, Field Director, report author, and general editor with Far Western since 1991. Her areas of special expertise and interest include the archaeology and history of the Truckee/Tahoe region and the northern Sierra, and public education and interpretation. Rarely backing away from applying new technology and methods to her projects, Sharon incorporated the use of GPS early on and has always advocated a multi-disciplinary approach, from geoarchaeology to forensic dogs, to complete her projects.
While Sharon has extensive background in archaeology, she also holds an M.A. in English/Creative Writing. Her editorial contributions are woven into almost every Far Western deliverable, from our style guides to interpretive panels dotting the public landscape of California and Nevada, to numerous brochures, booklets, reports, peer-reviewed articles, and books.
Many thanks to Sharon from Far Western Principals and our many archaeologists, past and present, for so many years of collaboration and hard work.
We are happy to share that Jay King has been elected the new President of Far Western.
Jay has worked as an archaeologist in California and the Great Basin since 1991; he began working at Far Western in 1999 and became a principal at the company in 2015. His archaeological work has been published in American Antiquity, the Journal of Archaeological Science, the American Museum of Natural History Anthropological Papers, the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology, and other outlets. He is also a GIS and database specialist, having worked on a wide range of cultural resources data-management projects for clients such as Caltrans, the Bureau of Land Management, and the California Historical Resources Information Centers.
Far Western Art Director Tammara Norton and Phil Gross of Cinnabar Video recently completed a short film for the Forest Service as part of mitigation measures at Peavine Mountain Aspen Grove Arborglyphs (26Wa9933/04170114361).
Basque historian Joxe Mallea-Olaetxe takes the viewer on a tour of a grove of carved aspen trees on Peavine Mountain, Nevada. Some of the trees are over 100 years old. Interwoven into the tour is background information on the history of Basque Sheepherding in the western states.
Protohistoric Village Organization and Territorial Maintenance: The Archaeology of Síi Túupentak (CA-ALA-565/H) in the San Francisco Bay Area, by Brian F. Byrd, Laurel Engbring, Michael Darcangelo and Allika Ruby (Published by Center for Archaeological Research at Davis, CARD Publication 20, editor Gregory H. Wada; 39 contributors, 19 chapters, 552 pages)
This monograph presents the results of extensive archaeological investigations at Síi Túupentak (Place of the Water Round House Site), a large ancestral Native American Ohlone village and associated cemetery in the southeast San Francisco Bay area, U.S.A. This was a collaborative study by an interdisciplinary team of researchers led by Far Western and the Muwekma Ohlone Tribe (Tribe) descendant community and supported by the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission. The study documents the lifeways of the village inhabitants for four centuries prior to their forced relocation in 1805, exploring economic adaptations, health, and social-political organization.
As requested by the Tribe prior to the start of the project, detailed archaeometric analysis was carried out on the ancestral Ohlone individuals recovered from burial excavations to gain new insights into community trends, social and ideological complexity, and the lives of these individuals. Archaeometric analyses of individuals included: radiocarbon dating; amelogenin proteins in teeth to determine sex of the entire population; ancient DNA (full genome, oral microbiome, and occasionally for tuberculosis); isotopic composition (C, N, S, Sr) for weaning age; diet; and individual residential shifts during lifetimes; and tobacco use from nicotine in dental calculus.
Tribal members and representatives of the scientific community are collectively looking into the lives and tragedy of the death of people from the past. For the Tribe, this includes sex determination to provide a greater perspective on the persona of each individual, rather than the nebulous “indeterminate” status of a person or child. If it were not for their sacrifice, struggles, and commitment to their families, Muwekma Ohlone would not survive to this day. Today, the Muwekma Ohlone celebrate the lives of their ancestors by retelling their history and stories through archaeology, and ultimately honor them when they are returned to the warep (the earth), where their loved ones originally placed them with love and respect.
The results demonstrate this was a substantial sedentary village, probably the most significant community within the Causen Ohlone territory. This study highlights temporal trends in community-level organization, economic structure; demographics, health and diet, social identify; and regional inter-community interaction and alliance maintenance. The study provides a bridge of Ohlone lifeways from pre-contact through post-contact. New insights are provided into indigenous lifeways from just prior to early European exploration, through some 30 years of Spanish colonization, and ultimately the forced relocation to nearby mission enclaves — a period of momentous change in the lives of native people.
Far Western now offers paleontological studies to protect non-renewable fossil resources. The Earth’s rich fossil record yields important information on plant and animal evolution, changes in regional climate and local environment, the shaping of our continent, and the dynamics of past landscape and ecological interaction. Construction projects risk disturbing these significant resources. Beginning at the planning and permitting stages, Far Western uses the highest industry standards for mitigating resource loss through fossil documentation, collection, and preparation.
We welcome Dr. Russell Shapiro, a federally recognized Qualified Paleontologist, to our team. Earning his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara, in 1998, Russell has worked on a wide variety of projects in California, Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, and Utah. His research has led him to excavations throughout the world, most recently to northern Alaska and South Africa. However, his heart will always stay true to the Basin and Range. This year, he was awarded the Distinguished Career Award from the Geobiology Division of the Geological Society of America.
Dr. Shapiro and the Far Western team are ready to develop pre-disturbance plans through close consultation with clients and permitting agencies. The plans are largely based on literature and museum records searches, as well as analysis of geological maps. If warranted, a field survey looks for exposed fossils. If documented during a survey or exposed during ground disturbance, Far Western professionally collects and prepares fossils for curation in museum collections.
We are proud of the role we play in supporting scientific discovery through our resource protection program and paleontological outreach and education.
In response to the COVID-19 pandemic and federal, state, and agency directives, Far Western is conducting fieldwork only under strict safety protocols that minimize the risk of spreading the virus between employees, clients, and the general public.
Every aspect of fieldwork requires adjustments, whether we are loading trucks, commuting to projects, documenting resources, or excavating test units. We have augmented our daily safety protocols and guidelines for all field crews to include appropriate social distancing, facial coverings, and vehicle and equipment sanitation.
Far Western is committed to limiting the exposure of our employees to the virus that causes Covid-19. We thank our staff, field crews, and clients for their hard work designing and following these policies to protect the community.
Kim Carpenter passed away peacefully on July 4, 2019, after an eight-month battle with ovarian cancer. She leaves behind her husband Tim, her children Elsa and Ian, her father Vic Holanda, brothers Travis Bounsall and Jay Holanda and their families, as well as a wide community of co-workers and academic colleagues. She was important to people throughout the archaeological community as a scholar, leader, mentor, role model, and friend, and she will be missed deeply.
Kim was born in Montpellier, Idaho, in 1967, and spent most of her childhood in California. She graduated from CSU Long Beach in 1992 with a degree in anthropology. During her early years as an archaeologist, she worked at various cultural resources management firms, including Archaeological Resource Management in Anaheim and at Biosystems Analysis in Santa Cruz. She returned to school in 1995, entering the graduate program at CSU Chico, working primarily under Frank Bayham, where she gained expertise with faunal analysis, which remained her primary research interest throughout her career. Upon completing her master’s degree work in 1997, she entered the PhD program at the University of Utah under Jack Broughton, but ultimately decided to return to her career in CRM rather than finish the program.
Kim began working with her future Far Western colleagues in the late 1990s on the Tuscarora Pipeline and Alturas Intertie projects, two large data-recovery projects in northeastern California that served as training grounds for many archaeologists in her cohort. It was here, too, that she met Tim Carpenter, whom she would marry in 2000. She took a permanent job with Far Western in 1998, and quickly distinguished herself as both a researcher and businesswoman. She became a principal at the company in 2004, serving as principal investigator and project manager on a wide variety of projects throughout California and the Great Basin.
While working as a full-time CRM professional, she made several important contributions to the theory and practice of archaeology in the western United States. With Bill Hildebrandt, she authored a chapter on California fauna in the Handbook of North American Indians (Hildebrandt and Carpenter 2006) and a chapter on hunting adaptations in California for another Smithsonian volume, Indigenous Subsistence Economies of North America (Hildebrandt and Carpenter 2011). She was integral to the debate regarding Middle Archaic hunting and costly signaling in the Great Basin. Her faunal data (the internally famous “Holanda table of Eastern California mammalian bone”) was the linchpin of the costly signaling argument; she contributed to two comments that factored into the debates (McGuire et al. 2007; Whitaker and Carpenter 2012). She authored or co-authored book chapters and articles focusing on Great Basin faunal assemblages and what they could reveal about prehistoric subsistence and intertribal interactions (Bayham et al. 2012; Holanda 2004). Her scholarly contributions were not just limited to published research. She served as Associate Editor of the Journal of California and Great Basin Anthropology (2007-2012), and the Member at Large (2004-2008) and Treasurer (2012-2019) of the Great Basin Anthropological Association.
In a hierarchy of owners, supervisors, and staff typical of many CRM companies, Kim’s rise at Far Western was remarkable. A rare combination of research capabilities, managerial savvy, and interpersonal skills propelled her from backdirt to boardroom. In 2015, by unanimous acclaim, she was elected president of Far Western, and then re-elected for two more terms.
One of the most impressive things about Kim was the sheer breadth of her interests and imagination. Happy to review an invoice, discuss Human Behavioral Ecology, pitch a client, identify a bone fragment, edit a report, counsel a wayward tech, or serve on the Board of Directors of the Cache Creek Conservancy, Kim was unbounded. Companies need such a person; the world needs such people.
In the midst of her remarkable career, she also raised, along with her husband Tim, her two children, Elsa and Ian. The devotion and intensity she brought to her work didn’t miss a beat at home. It was not unusual to see Kim blow out of Far Western at 4:00 to make a soccer practice drop-off, return to work for more desk and screen time, and then make the 7:00 pick-up. All in a day’s work (along with stopping at the store on the way home to pick up dinner). This was Kim.
As tributes to Kim surfaced on social media and in condolences offered to her colleagues, a recurrent theme was obvious—Kim as mentor. As attested by many, Kim was an exemplary teacher and role model who had the unique capability to understand one’s strengths and weaknesses, perspectives, and personal challenges. Last summer she posted a picture of movie superheroes on her office wall with the text “Everyone has a super power.” Kim excelled at identifying and nurturing the super power in everyone. Those of us in the void left by her absence can only aspire to follow her example, by extending the same qualities of empathy and understanding to our own colleagues and friends.
By Jerome King, Kelly McGuire and Adie Whitaker
Kim Carpenter’s Scholarly Contributions
Whitaker, Adrian R. and Kimberly Carpenter
2012 Economic Foraging at a Distance is Not a Question of If but When: A Response to Grimstead. American Antiquity. 77(1):160-167.
Bayham, Frank E., R. Kelly Beck, and Kimberley Carpenter
2012 Large Game Exploitation and Intertribal Boundaries on the Fringe of the Western Great Basin. In: Meeting at the margins: Prehistoric Cultural Interactions in the Intermountain West. Edited by Dave Rhode. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah.
McGuire, Kelly, Kimberley Carpenter, and Jeffery Rosenthal
2012 Great Basin Hunters of the Sierra Nevada. In: Meeting at the margins: Prehistoric Cultural Interactions in the Intermountain West. Edited by Dave Rhode. University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City, Utah.
Hildebrandt, W.R. and K. Carpenter
2011 Native Hunting Adaptations in California: Changing Patterns of Resource Use from the Early Holocene to European Contact. In Indigenous Subsistence Economies of North America, pages 131-146. Edited by Bruce Smith. Smithsonian Institution Scholarly Press. Washington D.C.
McGuire, Kelly R., William R. Hildebrandt, and Kimberley L. Carpenter
2007 Costly Signaling and the Ascendance of No-Can-Do Archaeology: A Reply to Codding and Jones. American Antiquity, 72(2), pp. 358-365.
Hildebrandt, William R., and Kimberley Carpenter
2006 California Animals. In Environment, Origins, and Population, edited by Bruce Smith, pp. 284-291. Handbook of North American Indians 3, W. C. Sturtevant. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.
McGuire, Kelly R., Michael G. Delacorte, Kimberley L. Carpenter
2006 Archaeological Excavations at Pie Creek and Tule Valley Shelters, Elko County, Nevada. Nevada State Museum Anthropological Papers number 25.
Holanda, Kimberley L.
2004 Reversing the Trend: Late Holocene Subsistence Change in Northeastern California. In Boundary Lands: Archaeological Investigations along The California-Great Basin Interface. Kelly R. McGuire, Editor. Nevada State Museum Anthropological Papers Number 24.
Broughton, Jack M., Rampton, Dominique, and Holanda, Kimberley
2002 A test of an osteologically-based age determination method in the Double-crested Cormorant (Phalacrocorax auritus). Ibis 144: 143-146.
1994 Excavations at the Laguna Springs Adobe Site (ORA- 13B): Stagecoach Waystation and Prehistoric Camp Part III. Faunal Analysis: Invertebrates. In: Pacific Coast Archaeological Society Quarterly: 30(2/3):21-24.
We are pleased to announce that Kelly McGuire has been unanimously elected President of Far Western. Kelly is a Founding Partner and served as Chief Financial Officer through the first 40 years of our operations; a milestone anniversary reached in 2019! Kelly embodies Far Western’s core principle of providing high-quality cultural resources services backed by discipline-leading research and peer-reviewed publication.
While managing cultural resource compliance projects for a variety of clients and industry sectors, Kelly continues to provide important contributions to the study of California and Great Basin hunter-gatherer adaptations and human behavioral ecology.
We look forward to Kelly’s leadership in his new role.
Far Western is pleased to highlight our expanding Historical Archaeology Program.
Historical Archaeology is the study of material culture supported by written documents and other historical evidence. In the Americas this coincides with periods of European and Native American contact and subsequent colonization, urbanization, industrialization, and globalization. Written, oral, and archaeological data provide different types of information, and historical archaeologists work to weave these together—filling gaps, exploring nuances, and providing a better understanding of past lifeways and historical developments. Working to connect the past and the present, historical archaeologists uncover and explore the material traces of life in the emerging modern world.
To meet the goals of cultural resources management and historic preservation compliance, Far Western historical archaeologists employ a wide range of archaeological and historical research methods to identify, evaluate, and treat historic-period sites, structures, features, and artifacts.
Historical Archaeology Team: