Schneider 2007_2008 - archaeology and Indians Shellmounds...

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Shellmounds and Colonial Encounters in the San Francisco Bay Area TSIM D. SCHNEIDER PICTURE THE San Francisco Bay Area two hun- dred years ago: Birds fill the sky. Oak forests and lush tidal marshes, home to countless plant and animal species, ring the bay shoreline, attract- ing, in turn, many more species that thrive on a bounty of marsh grasses, fish, shellfish, and birds. Humans are also present. Native Californians who have called the San Francisco Bay home for thou- sands of years developed expert knowledge of the area, its resources, and the seasonal availabil- ity of some plants and animals. By the end of the eighteenth century, Native Californians in the Bay Area practiced a seasonal settlement pattern, tak- ing full advantage of resources scattered across the landscape. Native groups moved between inland winter villages and coastal summer vil- lages to maximize harvests of seasonal foods, con- gregating at least once a year at familiar sites to socialize and to share news, Two hundred years ago, the world that had once been so familiar to many Native Californians was also swiftly changing. For the inhabitants of the Marin peninsula, most of them Coast Miwok speakers, tales of successful deer hunts, fruitful seed harvests, and lucrative obsidian trades with the Wappo are outnumbered with greater fre- quency by stories of a more strange and frighten- ing nature. Two hundred years ago Native Alaskan sea otter hunters camped at Bodega Bay, Tomales Bay, and Point Reyes, and would eventually make plans to portage across the Marin peninsula and enter the rich waters of San Pablo Bay. Two hun- dred years ago Coast Mi wok-speakers shared gut- wrenching stories of loved ones who had traveled to the Spanish missions and succumbed to measles and other diseases. Now imagine what San Francisco looked like one century ago. Many tidal marshes are miss- ing, erased by tons of sediment and poisonous mercury washed down the Sacramento River in the intervening years by California's gold rush. The city of San Francisco and many other cities are rebuilding from the devastation wrought by a massive earthquake the previous spring. Horrify- ing stories of fire, collapsed buildings, and evacu- ation, still fresh in the minds of many, intermin- gle with other news from around the country. In 1907, Oklahoma and Indian territories combined and entered the United States as Oklahoma, the forty-sixth state, the same year a national finan- cial crisis sent stocks plummeting 50 percent and culminated in the creation of a federal reserve bank. Across the bay in Berkeley, an archaeologist from the University of California, Nels C. Nelson, made arrangements to continue his survey of the remaining shellmounds of the greater San Fran- cisco Bay area. NEWS FROM NATIVE CALIFORNIA
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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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Schneider 2007_2008 - archaeology and Indians Shellmounds...

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