Cuthrell et al 2009 - 2s orchoeology ond Indlons IN THE...

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Unformatted text preview: 2s orchoeology ond Indlons IN THE LAST issue of Newsfrom Native Califor— nic, we presented an overview of our ongoing research project in Quiroste Valley, a picturesque cultural preserve just inland from the Afio Nuevo area of San Mateo County. With this project, we are trying to microwave many diflerenr strands of mformarlonu ---archaeological, ecological, eth- oohisrorical, and documentary ~~~to explore how California Endians activer nurtured the land scape, particularly through periodic burning. This collateoration draws together the skills anti per— spectives of researchers and participants from California tribes, educational institutions, gov- ernment offices, anti non—profit organizations. In {his installment of our continuing series, we dis~ cuss how archaeological research will contribute to the overall project, focusing on our collabora— tive approach, the history of archaeological work in Quiroste Valley, and our low-impact research methodology. COLLABORAle ARCHAEOLUGY Since its inception, a key element or this research project has been to create and mamtajn a trans- parent dialogue between all participants based on mutual respect and awareness of our similar goals and interests. The most significant component of that is our relationship with the tribes on whose lands and resources we work. For this particular size, two tribes share cultural stewardship because of its common and complex cultural, geographic, and historical patrimony to these groups: the Amah Mutsun and the Muwekma 01:10:16. The roles various individual mem'oers, as well as the NEWS 530M Nflk‘l’EVE CALIFOfiNEh Exploring Indigenous Landscape Management at Quiroste Valley, The Archaeological Approach ROB CUTHRELL, CHUCK STRIPLEN, AND KENT LIGHTFOOT councils and leadership, play here range from the “big picture" scoping and clesign of the scientific studies being conductor}, to the on-rhe-ground site preparation and maintenance, vegetation surveys, and archaeological excavations, Other relationships have been key to the crow lotion of this project; such as with the Califor- nia Department of Parks and Recreation anal sev- eral local anti regional eéucazional and scientific research organizations, non—profits, and advocacy groups. These relationships. and how they inform and facilitate both the study and management of this new culmal preserve, will be explored more thoroughly in an upcoming issue of News. PREVIOUS ARCHAEOLOGICAL WORK. IN QUIROSTE VALLEY Subsequent to American acquisition of California and the immigration of families from around the world to the central coast region, the valley expe- rienced extensive ranching and dry farming. In 1946, UC Berkeley archaeologisr Arnold R. Filling was called out to the valley by the Rossi family. in the course of preparing fields for cultivation, Ross: had unwittingly disrurbecl a small shellmound near What we now know to be the main village area. Pilling’s notes documenting the site repre~ sent the first formal archaeological recoré of this village. When the California Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) acquired Quiroste Valley from a private owner in the mid—19885, archaeologists Mark Hylkema and Gary Parsons conducted a survey of the area, identifying more than a ciozen orchoeology ond Indians sites. One of {hose sites (CA-3MP»: 13) appeared to be a large Late Period {after about £090) settle- ment. Two decades later, a 2903 Cabrifio College fielé school sponsored by (now district state esrks archaeologist) Mark Hylkema tested this and one other site in the valley. In addition to discwering evidence for occupation of Quiroste Valley going back to tee 'midwl-iolocene (perhaps four to six thousané years ago}, the preliminary investigation also identified CAwSMA-z 13 as a probable cméi— date for the historically éoeumented locatioza of “Casa Grande” Casa Grande was a large Oblone village initially visited 33}: the first overland Sgsnish expedition of Don Gaspar de Postola in 1769, and so named for the large hemispherical ceremonial builéing that was its most striking feature. Our project began in 2007, when state parks provided finding for continual. investigations of the ways that indigenous people had shaped the area’s natural resources in the time before European colonization. In adéition to prowling context for a larger coastal study underway by Hylkems, the results of this research will be used to guiée state parks management plans for Quito- ste Valley in its new role as a “cultural preserve.” This sgeciafi éesignation acknowieéges the sig- eificance of the area to local iodigenous people, erotects the land from development, and will ultir merely allow for resmration of the iodigeeoos landscape through a collaboration between parks, scientists, and descendant communities A LOW-IMPACT METHODOLOGY We see wosking within an ethical framework fun- damentally concerned. with flee preservation of California Indian sites, an ethic hopefully repre- sentative of a. shift in modern Professional archae- ology as a discipline. We understaod that once a archaeology and inclines portion of a site has been excavated, it ceases to exist physically and is pre- served only in the artifacts collected and in their recorded relationships to one another; archaeological sites are unique anti rare resources that cannot be recovered once lost. Archaeologists who are excavating to answer research questions on lands the: are yreserved by the state, rather than to mitigate site destruction (due to natural or human causes}, are particularly obligated to impact as litele as possible while gaining as much infosmation as possible, This approach reflects discussions that took place bemeen all stakeholders prior to the Start (if tl’ie groject, and prompted us to explore and emgloy nondestrue- titre survey and analytical techniques. 2'3 -- NEWS FROM Hm“ neurons” REMOTE SENSING SURVEY Our limited excavations have been guided by surveys using several remote sensing techniques in concert. In cem— gaarison to traditional archaeological surveys, which might use surface atti- fact concentrations, shovel teSt pits, auger holes, and randomly placecl exca- vatien units to ssmjple a site, these tech niques can locate an underground fea~ sure of interest {such as a storage pit, hearth, or living surface) with far less clismrlnance to the site. Well»preserved features contain mare and higher-qual- ity information than the mixed midden fill that makes ep most: of the site; by focusing on the features detected using remote sensing techniques, we are in a better nosinon to carefully choose a small number of features for excavation that will enrich our interyretive poten- tial and minimize impact to the remain— ing areas of the site. We have used three remote sens- ing techniques: magnetometry, resistiv ity, and ground—penetrating radar. By regeating surveys of the same area with different inscrunients anti comparing the results, we have been able to "trian— gulate” the areas mast liker t9 contain the types of features we ate interested in sampling. Magnetomen‘y has been useful in locating piles of fire-affected rocks, but the results are sometimes skewed by pieces 9f metal left on the site by the nearby historical farmsteacl. Resistivity surveys have allowed us to construct three—dimensional models of undisturbed soil that Show the depth and extent of "anomalies," but the tech- nique is time~eonsuming and the results are partially die/carted by extensive orchoeology oocl lndions rodent burrows. Groundwpenerrating radar located several subsurface anom— alies despite some noisiness due to the high clay content of the soil. Although each technique has limita— tions, by using them together we have had a very high rate of success in iocat» ing important features. Foot of the six locations that we have excavated have yieldeé relatively intact features, include log a large cooking pit comaim‘ng 61's- tirict layers of cooking debris, a hearth, severai piles of fire—affected rocks, and a linear silt clay lens that could iae the remains of a compacted pathway. By usiog these geophysical methods, par- ticularly three—dimensional resistivity survey, we should also be able to iden- tify, and thus avoid, features we do not want to éisturb, such as burials. HiGH-RESGLUTION 3&MPLING Since we are exploring how Quiroste people were shaping the living environ— ment aroazid them, we are particularly concerneti with which plains and ani— mals were used, how they were used, and What sort of relationship with the landscape might have existed to encour- age their persistence and sustain their use. To answer these questions, we have implemented a soil sampling strategy aimed at recovering the smaller and more fragile gilant and animal remains that standard dry screening would miss. We collect five to ten liters of soil from each excavation level for flotation. This process separates charreéi archae— ological plant remains {such as seeds, charcoal, and not shell) from heavier artifacts (such as animal. bones, frag ments of stone tools, and shells}, while at the same time cleaning the artifacts so that the}? can be more easily iden- tified. Our flotation method recov- ers plant and animal remains as small as half a millimeter in size, giving us the potential to identify eveo very tiny remains such as tobacco seeds and sea urchin spines. By identifying plant remains from many ciiffereot features, we can begin to reconstruct the cultural relation- ships between difierent types of plants {for instance, plant foods mat are eaten together), the times of year flier people were living at the site, anti how plants might have ‘oeen processed ancl dis— cardeci. Analyzing these plant remains can also give us clues about how peov ole might have Been tending stands of plants. For example, we have noticed that hazelnut shell is a common item in flotation samples from CA—SMA~ l 13. Although we have not found any wilci hazelnut trees in the valley, early Spanish explorers recoréecl stands of hazelnut trees surrounded by burnt-oi? grass in the area. The high incidence of archaeological hazelnut shells at CA» Simian, along with the absence of motion: Willi hazelnut trees in the vicio ity, suggests that the Quiroste people might have been quite concerned with encouraging the growth of hazelnut stands, ané float hazelnuts ma}r have been a more moortant ingredient in their cuisine than we have ominously recognized. Interpretations like these can be enriched by considering information from animal remains. CASMA—i 33 does not have a patieularly high deov sity of large—sized animal remains, probably because mach of the butch- ering work took place at other sites. However, numbers of small ani— mal remauis have been recovered from some features. One ten-liter soil sam~ ple of cooking clebris recovered from a pit feature contained over 2,590 ani— mal bones-M mostly from fish~---—--between one-sixteenth and one-eighfl'i of an inch in size. We also recovered many fish scales, sea urchin spines, and tiny crab claws from the same sample. The mass collection of very small animals has often been overlooked in archaeo- logical stuéies in favor of the remains of larger—arid presumably “more opii ma!” - game, but these results beg a more comprehensive approach. it is gossible that "seafood stews,” contain— ing a diversity of small animals netted near the shore {possibly by women and chilciren) were a more significant com- ?onent of local cuisines at specific times and ylaces than we previously thought. By emphasizing transparency and active collaboration, and by creating an environment Where trich not only buy into the research process, but have intellectual and cultural ownership over much of the process, the approach to archaeological investigation we have implemented in Quiroste Valley has encouraged a healthy dialogue in which the voices of all participants are heard and reflected in the final outcomes of the project. The archaeoiogical meth— oclology we have employed blends intensive methods with new and devel— oping analytical procedures to ensure that as much information is gaineci with as little impact to the archaeologi— cal record as possible, all while work— ing together to attain our common research goals. in the next installment of this series we will discuss how this research contributes to the broader archaeological context of the Ceratral Coast. - Rob Cutlzrell is a PhD. candidate in anthropology at UC Berkeley. His research interests include indigenous Califiimiaa landscape management practices, ethaobo tanicel studies, and the impact of colonial— ism on indigme peoples. Chuck Stoplen (Amok Matron Chloris} is a Ph.D. candidate 1?: Environmental Science, Policy, and Management at UC Berkeley. and a researcher at the San Francisco Esta dry institute. Kent G. Lightjbot has beer: teaching in the anthropology department at UC Berkeley since 1987. He has participated in archers” logical projects in the American Southwest, New England, California, sad Alaska. SPRING 200? ' 29 ...
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This note was uploaded on 02/14/2011 for the course ANTHRO 2/AC taught by Professor Wilkes during the Spring '09 term at University of California, Berkeley.

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Cuthrell et al 2009 - 2s orchoeology ond Indlons IN THE...

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