Beginning and Advanced Archaeological Survey

Professors:  James Eighmey  (Photos by Dr. Philip de Barros) -- Palomar College

Lake Cuyamaca Facing South Hiking the Dead Horse Trail Northern Lake Cuyamaca
 Facing Southeast
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Group Photo of ANTH 210 Students
at Paso Picacho Campground

L. to r. Back Row:  Marty Jorgensen, Bryan Sutt, Kiril Tcholakov, Erica Spring, Alex Wilson, Joshua Faris; Front Row:  Martha Gustavson, Kelsey Manning, Sam Sudprasert, Jooweon Park, Mary Jensen, Emily Wick, Stephanie Morgan, Christina Buttry.
Prof. Jim Eighmey  Not Shown: Ben Witzel; Dean Kaufman

Group Photo of ANTH 220 Students

From left to right: Scot Golia, Sheena Sullivan, Michael Thacker, Perry Kroh, Cory Handa, Alejandra Lamas, Tanya Duer, and Manuel Galaviz.   Not Shown:  Joel Paulson, Instructor

One of the more interesting classes taken by students of the Palomar Archaeology Program is ANTH 210 or archaeological surveying.  Some go on to take ANTH 220, Advanced Archaeological Surveying.  Since 1996, Palomar College has been conducting archaeological surveys 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 DPR 523 site forms
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Identify and record site features and artifacts by kind or type
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Describe the local environment of the site -- landform, vegetation, etc.
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Draw site feature and sketch maps
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Locate sites on the USGS 7.5' Cuyamaca Peak or Descanso quad
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Locate sites with Ashtech ProMark 2 or 3 GPS dataloggers (optional)
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) Re-record old sites whose location/descriptions may be incomplete/incorrect
  ANTH 220
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) TOTAL STATION: set-up a total station for mapping
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) TOTAL STATION: map archaeological sites and features
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) T. S.: download data into AutoCad/ArcGIS 9.3 to create maps (optional)
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS:  setup and use ProMark2 or 3 Real-Time GPS receivers in the field
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS:  record point, linear, & area files
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS:  download GPS files & base station data from CORS web site
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS:  use Program Manager software, especially differential correction
RedDiamond.gif (232 bytes) GPS-GIS: download GPS files into ArcGIS 9.3 or AutoCad for maps

Background on Palomar Surveys at Cuyamaca Rancho State Park
by Dr. Philip de Barros, RPA

The Palomar survey program at Cuyamaca began in the Spring of 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 the Spring of 1998, we switched our attention to the northern half of the park.  We re-recorded two D.L. True sites and discovered and recorded 11 prehistoric and historic sites, including erosion control features built 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 several new sites.  We also mapped two large seasonal habitation or village sites and made our biannual field trip 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 Kwaaymii 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. Since then, the Cedar Fire of 2003 burned off the surrounding vegetation and this feature is now seen as a road support feature. In the Spring of 2002, during my absence on a sabbatical doing Iron Age research in Togo, West Africa, most of the survey work was done in Oceanside at the Pioneer Cemetery under the direction of Professor Crouthamel, with a bit of survey done in Green Valley at the confluence of Harper's Creek and the Sweetwater River.

In the Spring of 2004, surveying was done in both the northern and southern portions of the park. We rerecorded two sites identified by D.L. True in 1960, three sites recorded by Gerritt Fenenga in 1986, and a site recorded by Sue Wade in 2002.  We also found and recorded five new sites, including a major artifact scatter and bedrock milling sites. We are thankful to Sue Wade, District Archaeologist, for the opportunity to conduct these surveys.  Thanks also go to Palomar graduates and Park employees, Heather Thomson and Kerri Hunsinger, who assisted the students during this Spring. 

In the Spring of 2006, we returned to an area we had examined in 1996 and recorded two large seasonal habitation or village sites, one with 21 bedrock milling features and a cupule rock.   We also found three other small artifact scatters:  1) PCC-36, which contained Tizon Brownware sherds, debitage or waste flakes, a core, and two fire-altered, mano fragments; 2) PCC-37, which consisted primarily of large sherds from a broken olla, with a large portable metate fragment a short distance away; and, 3) PCC-38, a flake and sherd scatter.   The weather was quite a challenge. One Saturday we were fogged and rained out and had to abandon work at noon.  The following day the weather was great and we took a FIELD TRIP to the large ethnohistoric village site of  PilchaThe following weekend the bad weather threatened constantly but we were able to get two full days of survey and site recordation completed.  Carmen Lucas of the Kwaaymii once again visited our survey group.  Copies of Cline's recording of Kwaaymii culture as told to her by Tom Lucas was provided to all students who wished a copy.   

In the Spring of 2008, the survey class was taught by Professor James Eighmey, who just joined the Behavioral Sciences Department as a full-time instructor. He is an archaeologist by training. He has considerable experience in Cultural Resource Management and is especially interested in flaked stone tools and flintknapping. Dr. de Barros continued his archaeological research at the Early Iron Age site of Dekpassanware, Togo, West Africa -- a site that has ironworking at least as early as 400-200 B.C. and is 75-acres in size.  He returned in April to assist the Cuyamaca survey on its first weekend (April 19-20).  Both the ANTH 210 and 220 classes participated in a survey in the southern part of the park, finding several new sites.  These included three artifact scatters (one with a bedrock milling feature) and a small historic dam. GPS data was also collected for the features and artifact scatter at a habitation site.

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.

     Oak Woodland Area California Poppy Waterfall on Sweetwater River
Purple Lilac
California Native Peone Stonewall Peak Overlooking
Lake Cuyamaca

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California Plants Photo Archive

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 Luiseño, Cupeño, Cahuilla, Serrano, Gabrielino, and Juaneño.  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 (the Kwaaymii) 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 Diegueño:  The Diegueño 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 most Hokan-Yuman speaking groups in California, i.e., the Diegueño, Kamia, Tipai and Ipai, except those along the Colorado River itself.  Some groups, however, such as the Kwaaymii of the Mount Laguna-Cuyamaca Region, prefer to retain their ancestral name.

Students At Work in the Field

Preparing to Depart for Survey Beginning the Field Survey Finding Bedrock Mortar Feature
Taking a GPS Reading with
 Marty and Jooweon Looking On
Dean Kaufman Finding a Unifacial Mano in Rock Crevice Mary Jensen Admiring the Wildflowers

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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.

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.

Quartzite Core & Hammerstone Serrated Indented
Cottonwood Point
Worked Sherd in Form
of Gaming Piece (?)

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This page was last updated on Tuesday, February 24, 2009.
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