Beginning and Advanced Archaeological Survey

Instructor:  Dr. Philip de Barros -- Palomar College

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Craig Taking in a View of Green Valley Below

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Lake Cuyamaca

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Ed Bowen Manning Prism
for Total Station Mapping

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ANTH 210 Student Photos  | ANTH 220 Student Photos

See Updated Photos of Bedrock Mortar Features

One of the more interesting classes taken by students of the Palomar Archaeology Program is ANTH 210 or archaeological surveying.  Some even go on to take ANTH 220, Advanced Archaeological Surveying.  This year we continued to conduct archaeological survey for California State Parks at beautiful Cuyamaca Rancho State Park.   Courses goals included teaching students how to:

  ANTH 210
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Find archaeological sites during survey
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Record archaeological sites on official state record forms
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Identify and record the kinds of features and artifacts on the site
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Describe the local environment where the site is located
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Draw archaeological sketch maps
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Locate sites on the USGS Cuyamaca Peak 7.5' topographic quad
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Locate sites using a GeoExplorer II GPS field unit
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Re-record old sites whose location/descriptions may be incorrect
  ANTH 220
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS: Setup GeoExplorer II field unit with a data dictionary
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS:  Master unit menus and learn how to download data to the computer
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS: Record point, linear, & area features: artifacts, roads, site boundaries
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS:  Download base station data to the computer
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS:  Learn basics of Pathfinder software, especially differential correction
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS-GIS:  Download site locational data into ArcView 3.2 GIS
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) TOTAL STATION: Map archaeological sites using a total station.
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) TOTAL STATION-AUTOCAD: Download data to AutoCAD for map making.

Background on Palomar Survey Courses at Cuyamaca

The Palomar survey program at Cuyamaca began in 1996.  District Archaeologist Rae Schwaderer from the California State Parks Anza-Borrego Office, asked me if my students would be interested in doing survey or excavation within the park.  I had just taken over the Palomar Archaeology Program and was delighted at the invitation.  We began our survey program in the southern portion of the park in the Spring of 1996.  We re-recorded two sites originally recorded by D.L. True in 1960 and discovered three additional sites.   We also toured other prehistoric and historic sites in the park.  In 1998, we switched our attention to the northern half of the park.  We re-recorded two D.L. True sites and discovered 11 prehistoric and historic sites, including erosional control features probably done by the Civilian Conservation Corps in the 1930s. 

In the Spring of 2000, we continued our work in the northern half of the park re-recording True's sites and discovering a few new sites.  We also made our biannual pilgrimage to the ethnographic site of Pilcha.  One of the highlights of the 2000 class was a day-long visit by Carmen Lucas, lineal descendent of the Kwaaymi of Mount Laguna.  She visited sites recorded in past years, including a 60-m long rock wall feature that has no associated artifacts.  Ms. Lucas' opinion is that it may have been a defensive site as it overlooks a major portion of Green Valley from that point, but she also noted that other Indians may have a different point of view.

Flora and Landscape Scenes from Cuyamaca

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park possesses a wide variety of flora and beautiful spring landscapes.  A few pictures have been provided below to give you an idea of why students love to spend a couple of weekends at Cuyamaca during their survey courses.

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Yucca whipplei

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Wild Flowers

Dr. D  on Granite Bedrock Surrounded by Yucca

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Cuyamaca and the Kumeyaay Indians

Cuyamaca Rancho State Park was once the home of the Kumeyaay Indians who lived in southern San Diego and Imperial Counties as well as northern Baja California.  The Kumeyaay lived from hunting wild game; gathering shellfish and a wide variety of plant foods for consumption, medicines, and construction materials; and from fishing. 

The Kumeyaay are part of the Hokan-speaking Yuman Indians of southern California and the Colorado River Basin.  They differ from the Shoshone or Takic-speaking peoples living between the Kumeyaay and the Chumash near Santa Barbara (also Hokan-speaking), such as the Luiseno, Cupeno, Cahuilla, Serrano, and other groups.  The Kumeyaay are also known under other   names:

  • The Ipai, Tipai, and Paipai:   The Ipai lived primarily in the vicinity of Santa Ysabel and Mesa Grande Indian Reservations.  The Tipai occupied much of the rest of southern San Diego County and part of northern Baja California.  The Paipai are located further south in Baja California in the vicinity of Santa Catarina.

  • The Kamia:  This name refers to what are sometimes called the Desert Kumeyaay of southern Imperial County.   In reality, the Mountain Kumeyaay of the Laguna Mountain and Cuyamaca regions had a seasonal round that included forays into the desert to fish in prehistoric Lake Cahuilla (its modern equivalent is the Salton Sea) and to harvest mesquite beans, agave and other desert products.   Some Kamia apparently lived in the desert all year round. The Kamia or Desert Kumeyaay occupied southern Imperial County up to the Sand Hills sand dunes west of Yuma.

  • The Diegueno:  The Diegueno is a Spanish word derived from Indians associated with Mission San Diego.  It includes populations from southern San Diego County and northwestern Baja California.

  • The Kumeyaay:  Kumeyaay is the term now used by all Hokan-speaking groups in California, i.e., the Diegueno, Kamia, Tipai and Ipai, except those along the Colorado River itself.

Students At Work in the Field

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Trisha Drennan Manning Total Station

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GeoExplorer II GPS Unit

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Craig Taking GPS Reading

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Aside from learning how to find archaeological sites and to record their location on a topographic map (as well as with a GPS unit), students learned how to fill out Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) archaeological site forms, including the Primary Record and Archaeological Site Record.  The these forms provides information on site location, site type, site size, as well as features and artifacts present.  Features can include bedrock milling features, rock alignments, rock art, or historic fence lines.  Artifacts might include stone tools (such as arrowheads or manos for grinding seeds), flake waste from making stone tools, pottery sherds, or historic ceramics, metal, or glass.  The site form also provides information on the local environment, such as vegetation, soils, and nearest water sources.  This information is valuable for assessing site function and the reason for a site's location.

Students Enjoying the Beauty of Cuyamaca

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Students Resting After Saturday Hike

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Craig Relaxing on Boulder Overlooking Green Valley

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Life at Camp Hual-Cu-Cuish

During the two survey weekends in April, students and staff stayed at the former Boy Scouts Camp at Camp Hual-Cu-Cuish. This allowed students to sleep indoors where it was less cold at night and to build a nice indoor fire.  The group wants to thank the staff of Cuyamaca Rancho State Park and District Archaeologist Rae Schwaderer for these conveniences.

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Students in Front of Old
BSA Camp Building

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Lake Cuyamaca From
Camp Hual-Cu-Cuish

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Archaeological Sites, Features and Artifacts

A number of archaeological sites were recorded during the survey.  We have provided a few photographs illustrating some artifacts and site types, such as bedrock milling stations, rock alignments, cupules, and probable historic rock features.  Site locations are not provided as such information is kept confidential to protect the integrity of the sites from potential looters.

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Bedrock Milling Features and Rock Alignment

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This page was last updated on Thursday, November 02, 2006.
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