Activities For September- October

Upcoming survey dates include:
● September 19 (Saturday) ● October 3 (Saturday)
We meet at 9 a.m. on those days and typically are back
from the field by 3 p.m.
If you are interested in participating please contact Sandra
Pentney, the SDCAS Climate Change Committee Chair
( You do not have to
be a member of SDCAS to participate, so tell your family,
friends, coworkers, or others who might be curious about
what archaeologists do.

“Celebrating the Art in Archaeology”

Art Show and Contest (October 2-30)

In addition to our annual Arch in the Park event celebrating California Archaeology Month and International Archaeology Day on Saturday, October 18th, this year the San Diego County Archaeological Society (SDCAS) is also co-hosting an Archaeology-themed Art Show and Contest at the California State Parks offices in Liberty Station.

We are looking for sponsors and participants for both events.

The Art Show opening reception (open to the public) will be held on October 2 and the artwork will be displayed during the entire month of October (and open to the public during business hours). The awards ceremony for the prize-winning artwork will be held at Arch in the Park on October 17. Deadline for entry is August 31. The Art Contest rules and submittal forms are attached and on our website:

Arch in the Park

When: Saturday, October 17th, 10am – 3pm

Where: Los Peñasquitos Ranch House (off of Black Mountain Road between Mercy Rd. and Hwy 56)

We invite you to participate by hosting a table or display that shows how your company, university, agency, or organization contributes to the field of archaeology in San Diego County. Please let our visitors know if you have employment or volunteer opportunities for those with various levels of education or experience. While we would prefer that you have someone available at your table to talk to people and answer questions, a self-explanatory display or poster board is also welcome. For updates on Arch in the Park 2015 visit our website:

As always, our goal for Arch in the Park is to educate the public about archaeology, and to provide information on various career and volunteer opportunities with local archaeological companies and organizations.

Tables and chairs will be provided by SDCAS, but you are welcome to bring your own set-up. Shade structures, easels, and other display accessories are the responsibility of the participants.

Two ways to participate in Arch in the Park:

  1. Sign up to host a table to show what you do in the field of archaeology.
  2. Make a financial contribution to SDCAS, to help offset the costs of running the event.  Your contribution is tax deductible, and we will, of course, provide a receipt. Please complete the attached form and Email it to  We will display the sponsor’s name/logo in our Arch in the Park poster, coming out soon. Please provide a copy of your logo if you wish it to be displayed.


Contact us: For questions, please leave a voice message on the SDCAS answering machine (858-538-0935), or email me at:

We look forward to seeing you at the Art Show and/or at Arch in the Park.

Here are some of our upcoming 2015-2016 SDCAS programs:

August 22: Jose “Pepe” Aguilar – A Strange Archaeoastronomical Site

September 22: Patti Dixon – Junipero Serra and the Legacy of the Missions

October 27: Karen Lacy and Sandra Pentney – Vampires

November 24: Susie Arter of the San Diego Zooarchaeology Lab

December: No Program this month

 January 26, 2016: TBD

 February 23, 2016: Dr. Sarah Elkind – Cowboys, Vikings, and national identity

Past Events:

Ethnobotany Plant Walk—Saturday, July 11 at 10am—Mission Trails



Join anthropologist Michael Wilken and a special Kumeyaay guest from Baja California as they describe many of the traditional uses of native plants at Mission Trails Regional Park. Find out how plants were harvested and processed to make tools like bows and arrows, which plants could be eaten or turned into medicine, made into shelter and many other local traditional uses. 

Members $5, non-members $10.  Bring a hat, sunscreen, water, hiking shoes, and a notepad if you want to take notes.

Please RSVP directly to Kellie, our 2nd VP, at, for questions or to reserve your spot on the tour.  Please confirm no later than Wednesday, July 8th.

Note to non-members: You will need to sign a Release of Liability form which will be provided at the event.

Join the San Diego Archaeological Center at Our July Center Event: Antique or Junque

Join the San Diego Archaeological Center at Our July Center Event: Antique or Junque
Contact: Suzanne Moramarco

Telephone: (760) 291-0370 Fax: (760) 291-0371




EVENT:        Antique or Junque

DATE:           Saturday, July 11, 2015, 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m.                                 

LOCATION: San Diego Archaeological Center

                        16666 San Pasqual Valley Road, Escondido, CA 92027


Local experts will evaluate your treasures and tell you whether they are antiques or junque. Bring your historical items for assistance with identification and dating. Helpful suggestions will also be made to preserve your treasures for future generations.
The panel includes local archaeologist and bottle expert Carol Serr with Laguna Mountain Environmental. She is a member of a bottle mark research group specializing in post-1900 bottle maker marks (including date codes). Ms. Serr utilizes the internet extensively for research and will share tips for gleaning information from this valuable source.


Susan Walter and her husband Stephen Van Wormer, of Walter Enterprises, are historic archaeologists who work primarily in the San Diego area. Ms. Walter’s specialty has become historic ceramics. Currently she is identifying the ceramics assemblage of the San Diego Presidio excavations of SDSU. Bring in your crockery, the pretty teacup, family plate, curious vase, or other old ceramic treasure and watch her delve into books authored by experts such as Kovel, Lehner and deBolt.
Executive Director Cindy Stankowski will provide guidance on objects made from metal, even those rusted items. Ms. Stankowski has studied maker’s stamps and assay marks on American, British and Polish metal objects. She also has identified vintage costume jewelry, such as Coro, Haskell and Trifari. Click the link to view the Antique or Junque flyer.
Admission to be paid at the San Diego Archaeological Center:

$5 for San Diego Archaeological Center Members and San Diego County Archaeological Society Members

$10 for non-members

Price includes museum admission. Light refreshments will be served.


Please Note: We will not evaluate prehistoric artifacts at this event. No appraisals or sales will be made.


This event is sponsored by the San Diego Archaeological Center and the San Diego County Archaeological Society. Proceeds will benefit the San Diego Archaeological Center Research Library.


For more information, please contact Collections/Library Specialist Suzanne Moramarco at or by telephone: (760) 291-0370.


The Mission of The San Diego Archaeological Center is to preserve archaeological collections and promote their educational, scientific and cultural use to benefit a diverse public.

The San Diego Archaeological Center is funded in part by the County of San Diego, the City of San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture and is a proud member of the San Diego Museum Council.
San Diego County seal San Diego Commission for Arts and Culture logo San Diego Museum Council

SCA/SDCAS Climate Change and Archaeology Project Survey

Training Classes will be held the Friday nights before the Saturday survey as needed.

Here are the following dates that we will be conducting surveys in the month of May-June:

May 30, 2015

June 13-14, 2015

June 27-28, 2015

July 18-19, 2015

August 1& 15, 2015

Hope to see and hear from you if you may have any questions in regards to the surveying please email:




SDCAS’s Archaeological Terms Glossary

A list of simple definitions for terms used by southern California archaeologists


Abrader – A groundstone tool with abraded/ground edge, typically used for scraping, such as to process agave leaves into fibers that can be used to make twine.

AcornAcorns are the fruit of the oak tree. Many Native Americans used “Acorns” for food. Acorns have to be ground into meal and then leached by running water through the meal to remove poisonous tannic acids prior to consumption.

Adobe – A Spanish term meaning “mud brick or block.” It is a sun-dried, unfired brick or building block made from a mixture of clay, straw, and water. The term can also refer to the clay or soil from which the brick is made, or a structure built with this type of brick.

Agave – This plant has fleshy, toothed leaves and was harvested for both food and fiber. The fibers were twisted into twine or cords that were used as string or rope or woven into nets (see Carrying Net below). The entire plant was dug up and roasted in an earthen oven and eaten much like a giant artichoke.

American Period – In California, the American Period is from the annexation of California in 1848 to the present. Also see Spanish Period, Mexican Period, and Mission Period below.

Anvil Stone – A larger base stone used to hold something that was pounded or hammered. It usually shows evidence of pounding (pitting, battering, etc.) on its surface.

Archaeological Record – This term is used to refer to things recovered or recorded through the process of doing archaeology (see below).

Archaeology/ArcheologyThe study of the material culture and remains of past human life and activities. In California it is often divided into “Prehistoric Archaeology” (the time period before the Europeans arrived in this region – see below) and “Historic Archaeology” (the time period after Europeans came to the region – see below).

Archaeologist – one who studies archaeology (see above). Most professional archaeologists have a college degree in the field of archaeology and work for either a CRM firm (see below), a public agency (city, county, state or federal agencies such as parks, highway departments, forestry and fire departments, military bases, etc.), a college/university, or a museum. Avocational archaeologists are those who do not have a college degree in the field but are interested in archaeology, do volunteer work or pay for the opportunity to work under the guidance of professional archaeologists, and/or belong to an archaeological society such as the San Diego County Archaeological Society.

ArrowheadWhen most people hear the term “Arrowheads” they think of small triangular points made out of stone. Archaeologists call them “projectile points” (see below).

Artifact – An artifact is an item made or used by humans in the past. In California, archaeological artifacts include both historic and Native American items that are more than 50 years old.

Asphaltum – “Asphaltum” is a naturally occurring tar that the Native Americans used as an adhesive and a coating to waterproof baskets and boats.

Atlatl – An atlatl or “spear thrower” is a tool used to throw or fling a dart shaft. The long shaft of the atlatl acts as an arm extension and results in a more powerful throw than the human arm alone could accomplish. Atlatls were generally used in southern California prior to the Bow and Arrow (see below). Although atlatls were typically made out of wood and do not usually survive, stone atlatl weights and stone dart points have been identified and can be used to date a site.

AugerArchaeologists use augers to test for the presence or absence of buried archaeological sites. A hand auger consists of a long pole with handles on one end and a narrow bucket on the other end with cutting blades on the bottom. It is turned like a drill to cut into and bring up dirt, which the archaeologist then sifts through to see if any artifacts or other cultural items are present. Mechanical augers are often mounted on the back of a truck, shaped like a giant drill bit, and turned by a motor. (Also see “STP” below.)

Awl – This pointed tool resembles a large needle and was usually made of bone. Awls were often used in basket making. Also called “Bone Awl” or “Basket Awl”.

Bark Skirt – Traditional clothing of many southern Californian Native Americans. Made out of long strips of bark that were pounded to soften them then tied with agave fiber twine or leather strips around the waist.

Basin – A shallow bowl-shaped depression in a bedrock outcrop that has been made and/or used for grinding foodstuffs or other materials (see Groundstone below). A certain type of basin found in San Diego County mountains is known as a “Cuyamaca Oval” for its elongated oval shape. Compare to “Metate”, “Mortar”, and “Slick” below.

BasketNative Americans used baskets for storage, collecting, cooking, and as hats. They were typically made of certain pliable plant fibers such as bunch-grasses, juncus reeds, basket bush, and willow. The most common type of baskets in southern California were coil baskets.

BeadNative Americans typically made beads out of stone, shell, and bone by breaking these materials into small, thin fragments, drilling holes in the center, and then grinding down the edges to make them round or square. Beads were used as decorations on pottery, baskets, and other objects, for jewelry, and for trade.

Biface“Biface” is a term archaeologists use for stone tools that are worked on two sides to make a sharpened edge. Knives, arrow points, and scraping tools are often bifaces.

Bow and Arrow – The smaller bow and arrow was a technological advancement over the dart and atlatl. In southern California, bows and arrows started to be used around 1,500 years ago.

Breaker Bar – A breaker bar is a tool that archaeologists use during excavations. It is a heavy, solid metal rod with a sharp end used for breaking up hard soil.

CahuillaThe “Cahuilla” are a tribe of Native Americans who live in the southern California mountains and deserts. Their territory extends from Riverside County into northern San Diego County.

Carrying Net/Net Bag – Native Americans used these open-weave bags for holding and transporting many items. They were typically made out of agave fiber that was twisted into twine and then knotted into net-like bags.

CEQA – CEQA (pronounced “see-kwah”) stands for the “California Environmental Quality Act”, which was signed into law in 1970. It requires developers and others to identify the effects a project might have to the environment and various resources, including archaeological sites, and to avoid or mitigate (see “mitigation” below) significant effects to those resources. Also see “NHPA” and “Section 106” below.

Chert “Chert” is a type of stone that was used for making tools. It was highly prized because it is easy to work with, holds a sharp edge, is more durable than obsidian, and comes in a variety of colors.

Chumash – The “Chumash” are a group of Native Americans whose ancestors lived in San Luis Obispo County, the Santa Barbara Channel area including mainland Santa Barbara County and the northern Channel Islands, and in Ventura and northern Los Angeles counties. The name Chumash is a derivation of the name that the mainland Chumash called the inhabitants of Santa Cruz Island but it has come to be used for all the linguistically-related Native Americans of the central and southern California coastal areas.

Clay – This naturally occurring substance is malleable when wet and stone-hard when fired. It was used for making pottery containers, tools, and other objects such as pipes, gaming pieces, effigies, and ornaments.

Collection – A group of artifacts (see above), cultural constituents (see below), and associated information (such as catalogs, reports, field notes, photographs, etc.) from an archaeological site or project.

Compass – A compass is a tool used by archaeologists for navigating and determining directions. Also see “GPS” (below).

Conchoidal Fracture – This term refers to a curved breakage in stone or other hard substance that resembles concentric ripples emanating out from the point of impact. Also see “Flake Scars” (below).

CoreA “Core” is a piece of stone from which three or more other pieces of stone were removed to make tools. You can tell how many pieces were removed by counting the “Flake Scars” (see below).

Core Tool – A core tool is a core (see above) that was formed into a tool. Larger scrapers, choppers, and other bigger tools are often core tools.

CRM – CRM stands for “Cultural Resource Management” and it is a term used to describe project-driven archaeology, such as that done for environmental compliance (see “CEQA” above and “NHPA” and “Section 106” below). It is also called “salvage archaeology” or “compliance archaeology”.

Cultural Constituents – Items from a site or collection that are not artifacts (see above) but indicate cultural use such as human teeth and bone, animal bone and shell food remains, and unmodified materials that do not naturally occur at the site.

Cultural Resource – “Cultural Resources” include archaeological, ethnographical, traditional, and historical sites, as well as artifacts, features, landscapes, properties, and built-environment resources including but not necessarily limited to buildings, structures, objects, and districts.

Cupeño – The Cupeño are a small tribe that lives in the northern San Diego County mountains.

Cupule – A small pecked or ground, shallow hole in a rock or outcrop. Cupules are often considered to be non-utilitarian forms of rock art especially when they occur on non-horizontal surfaces. There are similarly-sized and shaped grinding holes that may have been used for processing specialty foods or other resources, or as a form of mineral extraction.

Curate – To organize, store, and maintain a collection (see above) or individual artifacts. See “Curation Facility” below.

Curation Facility – A Curation Facility (or “Repository” – see below) is a building specifically designed to curate collections. The San Diego Archaeological Center is the curation facility for San Diego County. Please see their website ( for more details.

Datum A “Datum” is a specific point that is used to reference a site or a unit. Measurements from a site datum to various artifacts and features are taken to create a map of the site. Measurements of the depth of artifacts and features found in situ (see below) while excavating a unit are taken from a unit datum (the highest corner of a unit).

Debitage “Debitage” is a word used to describe waste material from “knapping” (see below). Archaeologists use this term to refer to unmodified/unused “flakes” (see below), broken flakes, and angular stone fragments with no flake characteristics.

Emic – Of or relating to features or items analyzed with respect to their role as structural units in a system, as in behavioral science or linguistics.

Etic – Of or relating to features or items analyzed without considering their role as a structural unit in a system, as in behavioral science or linguistics.

Ethnography – is the scientific description of individual human societies. Ethnographic information is gathered first hand through interviews with and observations of persons living in a specific cultural group.

FAR – “FAR” stands for “Fire-Affected Rock” or “Fire-Altered Rock”. Rocks that have been exposed to hot, long-burning fires undergo a chemical change that alters their color and can make them more brittle. FAR often turn red, black, or grey depending on their composition, the length of exposure to fire, and the temperature of the fire. Another term that is sometimes used is FCR or “Fire-Cracked Rock”

Feature – A feature is immovable evidence of a human activity occurring in a specific location. Features can be made up of groupings of artifacts such as a “pot drop” or a “flaking station”; bedrock uses such as bedrock grinding (e.g., mortars, slicks, basins), rock art (pictographs, petroglyphs), or rock shelters; or use areas such as fire pits/hearths, rock enclosures, quarries, or trails.

Flagging tape – brightly colored flagging tape made of plastic, paper, or fabric is used by archaeologists for marking artifacts and features in the field. Compare to Pin Flag (see below).

Flake – A flake is a small fragment of stone that shows certain characteristics indicating it was intentionally broken off (flaked off) a larger stone (see “core” above). Some of the characteristics of a flake include a “bulb of percussion,” a “striking platform,” and a thin triangular cross-section. Also see “Debitage” above and “Flaked / Chipped / Knapped Stone” below.

Flaked / Chipped / Knapped Stone – An archaeological term that refers to stone tools made by flaking, chipping, or “knapping” (see below) stone materials to create a sharp edge. See and “Core Tool” and “Flake” above and “Flake Tool”, “Projectile Point”, and “Retouched Flake” below.

Flake Tool – A tool made out of a flake. Smaller-sized cutting, scraping, and drilling tools are usually made from flakes.

Flaking Station – A flaking station is also called a “Lithic Reduction Station” or LRS (see below). It is a grouping of debitage of the same material, coming from the same “core” (see above)

Flake Scar – This term refers to the depression left when a “Flake” (see above) is removed from a rock. Some of the characteristics used to identify a flake can also be seen in reverse within flake scars.

Field – When an archaeologist says he or she is going out in the field, that means going outside to a site or an area where there are or may be sites. Another term archaeologists use is “Fieldwork” which just means working outdoors instead of in the office or lab.

Geoglyph – A picture or symbol formed with rocks, trails, or other earth modifications across a landscape. The most famous geoglyphs are the Nazca Lines in Peru, but there are also a number of Geoglyphs in the southern California deserts.

GIS – Geographic Information Systems (GIS) are computer systems used for capturing, storing, checking, integrating, manipulating, analyzing, and displaying data related to positions on the earth’s surface. Archaeologists use these systems to work with spatial data relating to archaeological sites.

GPR“GPR” is an abbreviation for Ground Penetrating Radar, a technology used by archaeologists to help find buried features and sites.

GPS“GPS” is an abbreviation for “Global Positioning System” which is used by archaeologists for navigating to and recording/mapping sites, features, and artifacts.

Grid – Archaeologists use a grid to divide an archaeological site into small squares that make it easier to document surface distribution of artifacts and plan out testing and excavation.

Groundstone – An archaeological term that refers to stone tools and bedrock features that were used to grind or process seeds, pigments, clay, fibers, or other food or materials. Also called millingstones (see below). Groundstone tools include manos (see below), pestles (see below), and portable metates (see below) and mortars (see below).

Groundstone Feature – Groundstone features include bedrock slicks (see “slicks” below), basins (see above), and mortars (see below). Also called “Bedrock Grinding Features” or “Bedrock Milling Features.”

Hammerstone“Hammerstones” are rocks used to make stone tools by hammering on cores (see “Core” above). You can tell a rock was used as a hammer due to crushing or battering evident on its edges or surface.

Historic Archaeology – The study of the material culture of historic period peoples. In California the historic period begins with the arrival of the European settlers and missionaries. Compare “Prehistoric Archaeology” below. Also see “Protohistoric” below.

Information Center – Information Centers or “Info Centers” are repositories (storage facilities) for paper records including “Site Records” (see below), maps, and reports that relate to archaeological and historical sites and resources. Most Information Centers are responsible for records for two or more counties. Information Centers are part of the California Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS) overseen by the Office of Historic Preservation (see OHP below). The information center for San Diego and Imperial counties is the South Coastal Information Center.

In SituThis is a Latin term meaning “in the position” and means an object is in its original location. Archaeologists use this term to indicate the location where an artifact was originally deposited. A similar term that is also used is “in context.” The context or surroundings of an artifact and its relationship to other artifacts or features within a site can tell an archaeologist as much or sometimes even more than the artifact itself can. This is why it is important to leave artifacts in place until they can be examined and recorded in situ or recovered using scientific processes to document the surroundings of the artifact.

Isolate / Isolated Artifact – An isolate is one or two distinct artifacts (see above) or a few fragments of the same artifact that are too far away (typically more than 30-50 meters) from other artifacts or features (see above) to be considered part of a site (see below).

Juncus – These bunching grass-like plants with long stems grow in wet areas. They were used for making baskets.

Kamia – The “Kamia” are a group of Native Americans that live in the eastern mountain and desert regions of San Diego County.

Knapping – Knapping is the controlled breaking up and shaping of rocks to make stone tools. Also called “Flint Knapping.” A stone worked using this process is said to have been “knapped” (also see under “Flaked / Chipped / Knapped stone” above).

KumeyaayThe “Kumeyaay” are a group of Native Americans who live in San Diego County. The Spaniards gave them the name “Diegueño” due to their proximity to the Mission San Diego de Alcalá.

Level – An archaeological excavation level is a portion of a “Unit” (see below) that is removed and processed at one time and as one group. Levels can follow strata in the soil (“Stratigraphic Levels”), but more often in southern California, levels are 10 centimeters thick and are either dug parallel to the horizon (“Horizontal Levels”) using a “line level” (see below) or parallel to the ground surface (“Arbitrary Levels”).

Line Level – A leveling tool that attaches to a string or line. Archaeologists use line levels to dig Horizontal Levels (see under “Level” above) in units (see below) and to measure the depth of artifacts or features in a unit from a unit datum (see under Datum above).

Lithic – This term means “stone”, therefore a “lithic tool” is the same as a stone tool.

Lithic Procurement Area – This term is used to refer to an area where certain types of stone were gathered or collected for tool making purposes. Typically the stones were knapped (see “Knapping” above), partially knapped, or tested (see “Test Cobbles” below) leaving debitage (see), hammerstones (see), and/or cores (see) behind.

LRS – “LRS” stands for “Lithic Reduction Station,” also called a “Flaking Station” (see above). It is a small area where there are flakes or debitage from the same stone, indicating someone was standing or sitting in that location and “Knapping” (see above) to make stone tools.

Luiseño – the Luiseño are a tribe of Native Americans living in northern San Diego County and western Riverside County. Their ancestors were given the name “Luiseño” due to their proximity to the Mission San Luis Rey de Francia. They call themselves Payomkawichum, a name that means “Western People”.

Mano “Mano” is a Spanish term meaning “hand.” Archaeologists use the term “Mano” or “Handstone” to refer to a stone tool used to grind nuts, seeds, clay, or other materials (also see “Metate”). It is typically flattened on one or two faces from grinding use and fits easily into the hand. It is used in a circular or back and forth motion. Also see “Groundstone” above.

Map – Archaeologists use maps for navigating and finding known sites and locations, as well as for plotting site locations. Historic maps can provide information on what once existed in a location and can sometimes lead to the identification of historic sites.

MetateA “Metate” is a large flat rock used as a base-stone for grinding various substances (see “Mano” and “Groundstone” above). Portable metates are often shaped into rounded forms, but can simply be unshaped slabs of stone. Bedrock metates are usually called “slicks” (see below) or “basins” (see above) depending on how much of a depression has been formed.

Mexican Period – In California, this period lasts from Mexico’s independence from Spain in 1821 to the annexation of California by the United States in 1848.

Microfloral Analysis – this study is done to determine the presence of microscopic plant fragments or seeds within an archaeological sample. It is usually used on soils within a feature such as a hearth or a mortar to determine what types of plants were being used or processed.

Midden – A deposit containing ancient refuse (trash) such as shell, bone, and other organic materials. Midden soils are often dark due to these decomposed organic materials (similar to what you might find in modern compost soils) and may feel greasy or ashy. Some shell middens are made up almost exclusively of shellfish remains and contain very little soil or other organics.

Millingstone – The term Millingstone originally was used to refer to stone tools used for grinding, such as Manos and Metates, however, because these tools are often used for more than “milling” grains, the term Groundstone (or ground stone) is often preferred (see above).

              “Millingstone” is also the name of a time period dating from between approximately 9,000 and 5,000 years before present. It is characterized by the presence of abundant manos and metates (see above).

Mission Period – In California, the “Mission Period” lasted from the founding of the first Alta California mission in San Diego in 1769 to secularization of the mission system in 1833. The Mission Period includes the Spanish Period (see below) and the Mexican Period (see above). Also see American Period (above).

Mitigation – “Mitigations” or “mitigation measures” are treatments proposed under environmental review (see CEQA, NHPA, and Section 106) that are meant to reduce the severity or significance of a project’s effects or impacts to a resource (including archaeological sites). Archaeological excavation or “data recovery” is one type of mitigation often used to recover data about an archaeological site before it is damaged or destroyed by development (see CRM above).

Mortar – A shallow to deep, circular hole or depression in a bedrock outcrop that is used as a container for pounding, pulverizing, and/or grinding acorns, seeds, plants, pigments, or other materials and foods with the use of a pestle (see below). Portable mortars that are shaped on the outside are often classified as stone bowls.

NAGPRA – NAGPRA is the “Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act”. It was enacted in 1990 to address the rights of lineal descendants, Indian tribes, and Native Hawaiian organizations to repatriate (see below) and recover Native American cultural items, including human remains, funerary objects, sacred objects, and objects of cultural patrimony from museums, curation facilities, and other institutions.

National Register – The National Register of Historic Places (also called the National Register or NRHP) is the Nation’s official list of significant cultural resources worthy of preservation. Authorized under the National Historic Preservation Act (see NHPA below), the National Register is part of a national program to coordinate and support public and private efforts to identify, evaluate, and protect our historic and archeological resources.

NHPA – NHPA is the “National Historic Preservation Act”. It was passed in 1966 and supports historic preservation activities and programs. It established the National Register of Historic Places (see above), the SHPOs (see below), and “Section 106” (see below).

North ArrowUsually made from a piece of wood, plastic, or metal with a printed or painted photo scale (see below) and a point on one end. Archaeologists use “North Arrows” for indicating which direction is north when they take photographs of sites, features, units, or artifacts.

Obsidian – This natural volcanic glass was highly prized as a material for making stone tools. It is very easy to work and provides an extremely sharp edge, but it is brittle, so it often does not survive much use. Obsidian has distinct mineral characteristics that can be used to identify or “source” the origins of obsidian found at archaeological sites. In southern California the closest source of obsidian was at Obsidian Butte out by the Salton Sea, but other sources exist farther north in central and northern California and south in Mexico. By determining where obsidian found in an archaeological site came from, archaeologists can determine trading patterns. Also see “Obsidian Hydration” below.

Obsidian Hydration – A technique used to determine the relative date of a site. When it is broken, knapped, or flaked, obsidian (see above) starts to form a microscopic rind that grows at a specific rate depending on the moisture, exposure, and soil conditions. This rind can be measured and used to determine how long ago the stone was worked.

OHP – In California, the SHPO (see below) heads the California State Office of Historic Preservation (OHP), which is responsible for identifying, evaluating, and registering historic properties, for ensuring compliance with federal and state regulatory obligations, and for promoting historic preservation. The OHP also maintains the statewide Historical Resources Inventory database managed by the California Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS), which oversees the regional Information Centers (see above)

Olla – This is a Spanish term for an open-mouthed clay pot, often used for cooking or storage (also see “Potsherds” below)

Pestle – An elongated and cylindrical stone that are sometimes shaped to fit into a mortar hole. It shows battering or pounding on one or both ends and sometimes grinding around the edges. It is used with a mortar (see above) to crush, pound, pulverize, or grind seeds, plants, pigments, or other materials and foods.

Petroglyph – a form of rock art that is carved, scratched, pecked, or ground into a rock surface. Compare to pictograph (see below).

Pictograph – a form of rock art that is painted onto a typically vertical rock surface using natural or mineral pigments. Compare to petroglyphs (see above)

Pin flag – A long piece of sturdy wire with a small, brightly colored flag on one end, used by archaeologists for marking artifacts and features during recordation of a site.

Photo Scale – archaeologists use a photo scale for showing the size of artifacts, features, or excavations in photographs. Historic archaeology typically uses scales showing inches or tenths of a foot, while Prehistoric archaeology uses metric scales with centimeters.

Pot Drop – This term is used to refer to a small grouping of “potsherds” (see below) that fit together, or are all from the same pot or pottery vessel. A “Pot Drop” is an archaeological “feature” (see above) indicating that a pottery vessel was dropped and/or broken at this location.

Potsherd Archaeologists seldom find whole pots or pottery vessels, instead they usually work with broken fragments called “Potsherds” or “sherds” (see below). Sometimes archaeologists can piece a vessel back together if they can locate all of the potsherds. Potsherds often bear certain characteristics that can provide information about what type of vessel it came from and how that vessel may have been used. “Rim sherds” include the lip of the vessel. “Decorated potsherds” include those with incised designs or painted-on pigments. “Slipped potsherds” had a thin layer of white or pale clay painted on the outside as a decorative element. “Drilled potsherds” contain a small hole that was drilled after the pot was fired in order to repair broken vessels by tying pieces together with twine. Some potsherds were also ground down around the edges and used as pendants or as game pieces.

Prehistoric Archaeology – In California, Prehistoric Archaeology is the study of the material culture of Native Americans from the time periods before they adopted or had a European lifestyle imposed upon them. Compare with “Historic Archaeology” above. Also see “Protohistoric” below.

Primary Number – a primary number is assigned to an archaeological site, historic building, or isolated artifact much like a “Site Number” (see below) is assigned. Primary Numbers are also assigned by the Information Centers and include a numeric ID for the county in which they were identified as well as a sequential number assigned to the particular site, building, or isolate. Archaeological sites are assigned primary numbers as well as trinomials (see under Site Number below).

Projectile Point – This term is what archaeologist use for stone points that were attached to long, straight sticks to make darts or arrows and used with atlatls or bows respectively. Most non-archaeologists call these “arrowheads.” There are many varieties and they evolved over time. Archaeologists can often date a site based on the type and style of projectile points found there.

Protein Residue Analysis – this type of study looks at proteins left behind by plants and animals using an immunologically-based technique. These analyses can show if a stone tool was used to cut, scrape, or grind a certain plant or animal species.

Protohistoric – This term is used to describe the time period between the arrival of European explorers and trade items in California and the adoption of basic European lifestyles by the Native Americans of the region. For example, protohistoric archaeological sites contain mostly traditional artifacts and features with an occasional glass bead, metal tool, ivory button, etc. or traditional tools made out of European materials such as bottle glass or porcelain projectile points.

Provenience – The source or origin of an object. In archaeology this refers to the specific place within an archaeological site where an artifact or item was originally located. An item’s placement in a site provides information about what was occurring at that location and the relationship to other artifacts and features within the site area. This is an important part of the story of an archaeological site, and why it is important not to move or remove artifacts from a site without completing archaeological studies and documentation.

Quarry / Stone Quarry – Prehistoric quarries are locations where naturally occurring outcrops or deposits of certain types of stone were broken up and/or removed, typically for making stone tools. Compare to Lithic Procurement Area (see above). Historic quarries can include locations where rock or sand was removed for use as building materials, etc.

Repatriate – To restore or return to original or native land. In archaeology this term is usually applied to human remains, burial items, and sacred objects being returned to the Tribe or group of native peoples from which it originated. The act of returning such items is called “repatriation.”

Repository – A curation facility (see above) for storing, maintaining, and managing collections.

Retouched Flake – A “retouched flake” is a flake (see above) that has been purposefully worked along an edge to create a simple tool. It is a type of Flake Tool (see above).

Rock Art – This term refers to any design or image placed on a rock face or boulder that does not have a utilitarian purpose. Types of rock art include petroglyphs (see above), cupules (see above), and pictographs (see above).

ScreenAn archaeological screen is a frame made of wood or plastic containing a sheet of wire mesh on the bottom, typically with holes of either 1/16-, 1/8-, or 1/4-inch. It is usually mounted to collapsible legs, attached to a motorized shaker-frame, or fitted to hang from a larger frame. Archaeologists use “Screens” to sift through excavated dirt to find artifacts by shaking the screen or pushing/scraping the dirt through the wire mesh using trowels or hands. This process is called “Screening”. Also see waterscreening below.

Section 106 – “Section 106” is part of NHPA (see above) which requires all federal projects or state, local, or private projects with federal involvement (e.g., funding, permits, lands, etc.) to identify and assess the project’s impacts to archaeological sites.

Shard – The term “shard” refers to fragments of glass (compare to “Sherd” below).

Shell / Shellfish Remains – The Native Americans along the coast collected shellfish for consumption from the beaches, bays, and ocean. The shells left over when they removed and ate the meat inside can tell us about what the Native Americans were eating, what time of year they were at the coast, how many people lived or stayed in an area, and even information about climate or harvesting procedures. These leftover shells were also used as tools including bowls and spoons, or modified to make ornaments such as beads (see above) or pendants, as well as to make tools such as fishhooks. Also see “Midden” above.

Sherd – The term “sherd” refers to pottery or ceramic fragments (compare to “Shard”). Also see “potsherd” above.

ShovelArchaeologists use shovels to find and recover buried artifacts. Straight-nosed shovels are for digging straight walls and square pits, round-nosed shovels are for moving dirt and digging round test holes or STPs (see below).

SHPO – The SHPO (pronounced “ship-oh”) is the “State Historic Preservation Officer”. In California, the SHPO heads the California State Office of Historic Preservation (see OHP above). Many Native American tribes also have historic preservation officers called Tribal Historic Preservation Officers or THPOs (pronounced “tip-oh”).

Site / Archaeological Site – Archaeological “Sites” are specific places where there are artifacts or features indicating some human activity occurred at that location. In southern California a typical definition of a site is one or more “features” (see above) and/or a scatter of at least three distinct “artifacts” (see above) within 50 meters of each other. Compare to “Isolate” (see above).

Site Number / Site Trinomial / Trinomial – Site numbers are assigned to sites in the order they are recorded with the state Information Centers (see above). The Site Trinomial system for numbering archaeological sites was developed by the Smithsonian Institution and uses three numbers: a number ID for the state where the site is located, a number for the County in which the site is located, and a sequential number assigned to a site in the order it was recorded by the Information Centers. In California, instead of using the state number (4) and the county numbers, letter codes are used for the state and county: CA (for the state), and a three-letter code for each county (e.g., SDI stands for San Diego County, IMP stands for Imperial County, LAN stands for Los Angeles County). So the site trinomial CA-LAN-1 indicates the first site recorded under the trinomial system in Los Angeles County, California, whereas CA-SDI-20156 is the 20,156th site recorded in San Diego County, California. Also see “Primary Number” above.

Site Record / Site Form – Site records are official documents used for identifying and recording archaeological sites. In California, the official site record forms are put out by the Office of Historic Preservation’s California Historical Resources Information System (CHRIS). Once completed by archaeologists, these forms are stored in record storage facilities called Information Centers (see above).

Slick / Grinding Slick – A flat, horizontal area of a rock or outcrop that has been worn smooth by grinding or processing materials with a handstone or mano. Slicks have very little or no depth. Also see “metate” and “groundstone” above.

Spanish Period – In California the Spanish Period is from the arrival of the first Spanish settlers and missionaries in the late 1700s to Mexican Independence from Spain in 1821. The “Mission Period” (1769-1833) overlaps much of the Spanish Period.

Stratum (singular) / Strata (plural) – Layers of soil distinguished by color or compositional changes.

Stratigraphy – The arrangement of the strata (see above) within an archaeological site that shows the relative positions of artifacts, features, and cultural constituents and therefore the chronology of successive levels of occupation.

STP – “STP” stands for “Shovel Test Pit” a small shovel-dug hole used to determine presence or absence of subsurface archaeological materials in an area where sites are suspected. Compare to “Auger” and “Unit”.

Tape measure – Archaeologists use tape measures for determining depth and width of units or other excavations, and measuring the size of sites, features, and artifacts.

Test Cobble – This is a term used to refer to a rock that has only one or two “Flake Scars” (see above) on it. Compare to “Core” (see above).

Tinaja – Spanish for “large earthen jar.” Also used to refer to a basin-shaped water catchment area usually carved into bedrock by natural erosion, although some are human-modified or enhanced.

Trowel Archaeologists use small-bladed triangular- or square-nosed masons’ trowels to help them excavate and screen (see above).

Unit – The square pits that archaeologists dig are called “Units”. A typical size used in southern California is a 1×1-meter square excavated in 10-cm levels. These are often called “one-by-ones” in the field.

USGS Maps – The 7.5-minute maps, produced by the United States Geological Services (USGS), are the current standard in California for plotting archaeological site locations for inclusion in a site record (see above).

Utilized Flake – An unmodified “flake” (see above) with evidence of use such as micro-flake scars, use-wear, or polish (visible under a microscope).

Waterscreening – Waterscreening is similar to regular archaeological screening (see under “Screen” above). But instead of shaking or pushing the dry soil through the wire mesh, water is used to break up hard or clay soils and wash the dirt away from the artifacts and through the wire mesh. This method is typically used to recover more small pieces that may be hidden in dirt clods from site deposits with a potentially richer density of artifacts.

Whisk Broom – these tools are used by archaeologists for cleaning off dirt from features or unit floors. Archaeologists use plastic or synthetic fiber whisk brooms instead of those made from plant fibers to prevent contamination of protein residue, microfloral, or other specialized study samples.

Yucca – A native southern California plant with long, tough, pointed leaves that were harvested for fiber.






Special thanks to Marla Mealey for providing this glossary of archaeological terms.












California State Parks

Archaeological Interns/volunteers with California State Parks’ Southern Service Center will assist State Parks archaeologists and other cultural staff in field, laboratory, and office work that may include excavation, survey, artifact processing, cataloging, form preparation, and other tasks.

For more information, CLICK HERE


San Diego Archaeological Center

Internship opportunities include: Collections Management, Collections Research, Digital Photography, GIS – Geographic Information System, Library Science, Public Archaeology , and Development & Marketing Intern


Volunteer opportunities include: Center Docents, Project Archaeology Assistants, Outreach Assistants, Library Assistants, General Projects, Spercial Events, Marketing and Administration, Board Committees, and Spearkers Bureau


San Diego Museum of Man

Internships and volunteer opportunities are available through the curatorial department. Some of the tasks include inventory, data control, minor conservation, and identification research. Applications available on the SDMoM website.


South Coastal Information Center (SCIC)

 The SCIC is one of ten offices of the California Historical Resources Information System established by the California Office of Historic Preservation to maintain an inventory of the state’s historical and cultural resources. The SCIC is the primary repository for archaeological site records and reports for San Diego and Imperial counties. This information is utilized by archaeologists and other cultural resource professionals to meet the requirements of state and federal law, as well as all levels of academic research. Students interning at the SCIC will aid staff in maintaining and managing the archive, including: processing newly recorded archaeological sites and reports; working with GIS, specifically maintaining SCIC’s geodatabase; gaining familiarity with California and federal law regarding cultural resource preservation namely CEQA and Section 106; and interacting with members of the local archaeological professional and academic communities.  An internship with the SCIC is highly recommended to students interested in pursuing a career in Cultural Resource Management or other local archaeological organizations and institutions.  


For more information, visit the SCIC website


Collections Management Program (CMP) San Diego State University 

Collections is an on-campus curation facility for archaeological and ethnographic collections including an archaeology lab and storage for the over 800 collections featuring several hundred thousand artifacts. Students interning at CMP will get direct experience working with artifacts through the curation of archaeological collections including artifact identification and executing proper curatorial methods. Interns will also assist CMP staff with cataloging, report writing, and research. An internship with CMP is recommended to students interested in gaining experience with artifacts and the curatorial process.


NOTE: Internships for credit must be SDSU students. Volunteers do not have to be students.


For more information, visit the Collections Management website








Palomar College

Excavations during the Fall semester at Los Peñasquitos Ranch House


San Diego City College

Excavations during the Spring semester at Los Peñasquitos Ranch House





California Arhcaeological Site Stewardship Program (CASSP)


CASSP is the California Archaeological Site Stewardship Program, where trained volunteers work with professional archaeologists to protect archaeological and historical resources by regularly visiting sites and recording changes.


Passport In Time (PIT)

Passport in Time (PIT) is a volunteer archaeology and historic preservation program of the US Forest Service (FS). PIT volunteers work with professional FS archaeologists and historians on national forests throughout the U.S. on such diverse activities as archaeological survey and excavation, rock art restoration, archival research, historic structure restoration, oral history gathering, and analysis and curation of artifacts. The FS professional staff of archaeologists and historians will be your hosts, guides, and co-workers.



Artifact Illustration Classes 

“Learn artifact illustrationand representation of “wear zones” on stone tools; how to measure and draw artifacts to scale; pen & ink techniques; how to draw and represent historical items, such as wood, bone, leather, glass, and stoneware. Focus, depending on individual interest, may also be on illustrations of native plants used for food and medicinal purposes by local Native American Tribes.Classes are kept to a minimum of 5 participates to ensure individual attention and assistance. Each session will begin at 10 am and end at 12:30 pm. To reserve a Saturday class, please contact Donna directly at 858-829-5861 or email: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. A fee of $35 for SDAC, KIIC and Living History members is requested per class, $40 for non-members. Hand-outs with sample drawings and measuring techniques will be provided.”


BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE: Geology and Stone Tool Workshop

March 29 @ San Diego Archaeological Center 9 a.m. – 4p.m.

Geology with Patrick Abbott, Ph.D.
Patrick Abbott is Emeritus Professor of Geology at San Diego State University.
Dr. Abbott is a well-known authority on the geological history of the San Diego region. He is the author of two books, The Rise and Fall of San Diego (1999, Sunbelt Publications) and Natural Disasters (2011, McGraw-Hill), as well as numerous scientific papers.


Flint Knapping with Jim Bowden
Jim Bowden is a flint knapping expert, certified level 1 blacksmith instructor, archaeological excavator, and an interpretive guide. He has 30 years experience flint knapping using traditional tools and methods. His knapped work is represented in Modern Lithic Artists Guild Journal, Gold Prospector’s Magazine, and
in over two dozen museum and visitor centers across the country.


Ground Stone with Jenny Adams, Ph.D.
Jenny Adams is a research archaeologist for Desert Archaeology, Inc. in Tucson, Arizona. Dr. Adams has over 30 years experience in archaeological fieldwork, laboratory and data analysis, and is a specialist in ground stone studies. Her publications include Ground Stone Analysis: a Technological Approach (University of Utah Press) and numerous journal articles.





In our efforts to help local archaeologists in San Diego we would like to encourage employers to submit information regarding job openings. Contact us



CRM Companies





1420 Kettner Boulevard, Suite 620

San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: (619) 233-1454

Fax: (619) 233-0952



Affinis Environmental

Shadow Valley Center

847 Jamacha Road

El Cajon, CA 92019

Phone: (619) 441-0144

Fax: (619) 441-6421


ASM Affiliates

2034 Corte Del Nogal

Carlsbad, California 92011

Phone: (760) 804 5757

Fax: (760) 804-5755



Brian F. Smith & Associates

14010 Poway Road, Suite A

Poway, CA 92064

Phone: (858) 484-0915

Fax: (858) 679-9869



Dudek & Associates, Inc.

605 Third Street

Encinitas, CA 92024

Phone: (800) 450-1818

Fax: (760) 632-0164




8690 Balboa Avenue. Ste. 200

San Diego, CA 92123

Phone (858) 712-8400

Fax: (858) 712-8333




9775 Businesspark Avenue. Ste. 200

San Diego, CA 92131

Phone: (858) 578-8964

Fax: (858) 578-0573



Laguna Mountain Environmental, Inc.

7969 Engineer Road, Suite 208

San Diego, CA 92111

Phone: (858) 505-8164




1927 5th Avenue

San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: (619) 308-9333

Fax: (619) 308-9334



Statistical Research, Inc.

555 West Beech Street Suite 215

San Diego, CA 92101

Phone: (619) 299-9766

Fax: (619) 299-9774



Tierra Environmental Services


9915 Businesspark Avenue. Suite C


San Diego, CA 92131

Phone: (858) 578-9064

Fax: (619) 578-3646



URS Corporation

7510 Clairemont Mesa Boulevard. Suite 108

San Diego, CA 92111

Phone: (858) 565-9585

Fax: (858) 565-9588







California State Parks



California Deparment of Parks and Recreation


4477 Pacific Highway

San Diego, CA 92110

Phone: (619) 688-3260

Application Available Online, Click Here


Classroom Presentations





Do you want an archaeologist to visit your classroom? I enjoy it!

SUSAN D. WALTER (619) 426-5109

Principal, Walter Enterprises

Experience: Archaeologist for about 40 years. Specialist in identifying historic artifacts of Southern California. Many years experience with classroom presentations including: Presentations in 10 school districts, classes ranging from RSP to GATE, kindergarten to high school, Career Day, College for Kids, Historic Ceramics for Palomar College Archaeology classes.


Presentation time: Approximately l hour. Presentations are geared to age group and can include special topics, such as Indians, illustrations, mapping, in classroom excavation, the Gold Rush, ethnic groups, Egypt, Vikings, etc. Depending on the age of the students, I may provide a vocabulary list to be studied. I need to talk to the teacher beforehand for special topics.


This is how it generally goes:

– A brief introduction of myself.

– How to become an archaeologist

– I describe and define archaeology, and what it is NOT.

– I explain how a site is located and why we study it; and

– The major steps in investigating a site:

Research – archives, libraries, oral interviews, etc.

Survey – mapping

Excavation – surface collection, units, features, recordation, provenience, etc.

Laboratory analysis – artifact cleaning, sorting, identification, data entry, analysis, illustrations, etc.

Report – I always bring examples

Artifact curation – where the artifacts end up


– I also include the importance of maps, particularly topographic maps. I usually bring samples, sometimes one that shows the location of the school I am at. I may demonstrate how a site map may be drawn in the field (on the chalk/whiteboard). I

– I describe ARPA and NAGPRA, laws that regulate cultural resources, and how they can affect the students.

– I describe my clothing and equipment. A student is “dressed” in my shirt, bandanna, scarf, hat, camera, compass, backpack, etc. I describe the purpose of my leggings. He/she may also be given my lunch box, maps, and other field equipment to hold. (Don’t tell them beforehand about this!)

– I demonstrate the equipment and supplies in my backpack, emphasizing safety, personal needs, and being prepared.

– Handouts are distributed, and instructions given on how to fill them out. The students, in cooperative groups or pairs are given real artifacts that they examine, describe, and try to identify. Spaces for 4 artifacts are provided. Later I identify each artifact, or leave an artifact ID book for them to use.

– Other artifacts may be spread out for examination.

– I prefer the children and teacher(s) NOT have artifacts they wish to identify or show me.

– Questions and answers at the end of class, time permitting. Favorite questions include what is my favorite artifact, do I get to keep the artifacts, how much are the artifacts that I find worth, have I ever been bitten by a rattlesnake, how much money do I make.

– I may pass out magazines for them to look at and distribute handouts.

– I bring a photo album that shows working archaeologists, and a collection of “archaeologist’s biographies”. These binders can be left for one week at the classroom, upon arrangement (Note: the teacher must agree to return them to my home in Chula Vista within 2 weeks of the class visit.)



l hour classroom presentations are $100.00.

Other presentations at the same school on the same day is $50.00; I prefer to be booked for 2 presentations on one day.



1. To do any presentation, I need a convenient parking space for my car, and assistance in carrying items to and from class.

Approximately 4 – 5 students are the best helpers.

2. I will need a guide to where the presentation will be (the student carriers are usually perfect for this).

3. A large table (cleared oft) and blackboard/whiteboard with chalk/working marker pens.

4. The teacher should contact me beforehand to make arrangements about any specific topics to be covered.

5. The teacher needs to have worksheets, vocabulary words, and other items that I will provide copied BEFORE I arrive.



l respond to student letters, although it may take awhile. I may return one letter addressed to the entire class.



By check, prior to beginning the presentation, made out to WALTER ENTERPRISES. A receipt will be mailed to you.






Why Become a Member?






Why Become a Member of San Diego County Archaeological Society (SDCAS)?



Membership: Adult- $30; Student- $15; Family- $40


  • Eleven fascinating archaeology talks

 August 24th, 2013: Dr. Rex Garniewicz- BEERology: Craft, Culture, and Civilization

 July 27th, 2013: Dr. Jerome Hall- Jesus, Josephus, and the Migdal Mosaic: Rethinking the First Century Galilee Boat

June 22nd, 2013: Dr. Todd Braje- From Abalone to Seals to Foxes: Archaeology as a Tool for Managing California’s Natural Resources 




  • Archaeology field trips


San Diego Museum of Man


Anza-Borrego Desert State Park


Channel Islands Cruise



  • Bi-Monthly informative newsletter listing archaeology events in our region and archaeology news from around the globe ()



  • Arch in the Park (Archaeology Month event in October) including archaeology exhibits, stone tool making, basket making, and more
  • SCAS is a volunteer organization. Your membership dues go towards SDCAS services only.


  • San Diego Archaeological Center members get $5 off. $10 off for Dual membership (SDCAS & SDAC)*
  • $5 coupon to use towards SDCAS mug ($5) or t-shirt ($15)**


* Individual, Family, and Student categories


* *Coupon is redeemable only at the SDCAS sales table in SDCAS events. Coupon is a onetime offer to new, renewing, and life-time adult or family members.


Meet Our Speakers


Meet Our Speakers


April: Savanna Schuermann

Savanna Schuermann completed her B.A. in Anthropology at University of Nevada, Reno in 2009. She recently completed her M.A. in Anthropology at San Diego State University in 2013. Savanna’s focus is in cultural anthropology and she currently teaches a “Sustainability and Culture” course at SDSU.


March: Cara Ratner

I earned my Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees in anthropology from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas with an emphasis in archaeology. My main research focus was on engendered issues among prehistoric sites in North America. Along with a background in research, I have worked as an archaeologist for a number of years in both the public and private sectors. I have had the fortunate opportunity to do fieldwork in Texas, New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, Nevada, and California. I am now the Education Program Director at the San Diego Archaeological Center, where I am combining my experience in archaeology with my passion for education.



February: Nikki Falvey


I have known I wanted to study culture and the past since I was a child. During my senior year of high school, I began an internship at the San Diego Archaeological Center researching, interviewing, and compiling information for the Archaeological Site Investigation summer program to help future children engage with archaeology. Through this and future work with the Center, I have come to be passionate about public archaeology and community outreach. After graduating high school, I attended both MiraCosta Community College, where I earned an Associates Degree in anthropology, and Palomar Community College, where I participated in the beginning and advanced excavation and the beginning survey courses under Phil DeBarros and Jim Eighmey. These courses gave me experience working at prehistoric and historic sites such as Rancho Penasquitos Adobe and Anza Borrego Desert State Park. While attending the University of California, San Diego, I volunteered in the South American Archaeology Laboratory under Paul Goldstein and became familiar with quantitative data analysis and how the archaeological record can reveal evidence of ethnic diaspora and reciprocal economic systems. Other courses lead to my interest in epigraphy; community and indigenous involvement in archaeology; historical Biblical archaeology; social identity; linguistics; and interdisciplinary interaction between historians, epigraphers, sociocultural anthropologists, and archaeologists. I participated in two internships while at UCSD, one in public archaeology with the Center and another with California State Parks’ South Service Center under Marla Mealey, where I gained GIS and monitoring experience. I also completed a Senior Honors Thesis for which I compiled and synthesized data from the Center’s collections of obsidian and attempted to use an obsidian debitage index to determine site type for Late Prehistoric Kumeyaay sites. Last June, I graduated UCSD with a Bachelors in anthropology with an emphasis in archaeology. That same month I began as an intern at Dudek’s cultural resources laboratory and soon was promoted to archaeological technician. I have since worked as an on-call tech with Dudek and Affinis Environmental, gaining artifact processing, artifactanalysis, excavation, and monitoring experience. Currently, I am researching possible topics for a Masters thesis, especially those involving prehistoric longdistance trade and cross-cultural interaction and change, such as the possibility of coastal Californian and Pacific Islander contact, or a collaboration of epigraphy or linguistics and archaeology.


January: Ken Hedges


Ken Hedges is Webmaster, Publications Editor, and a former curator of the San Diego Museum of Man. He graduated from Mount Miguel High School, Spring Valley, California, in June 1961, and received his BA (1966) and MA (1970) Degrees from San Diego State University, where his thesis title was An Analysis of Diegueño Pictographs. Ken is the author of Santa Ysabel Ethnobotany, based on fieldwork with his collaborator, Christina Beresford, now deceased, who was one of the last Northern Diegueño individuals to have an extensive knowledge of native plant uses.


Previous Years

2013 Speakers