2022 SCA Data Sharing Meetings


2020 Data Sharing Meeting Abstracts

Thursday, October 29th from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.  

This event consisted of live presentations and an opportunity for questions and discussion with Dr. Colleen Delaney, Dr. Sarah Heffner, Dr. Kate Magargal, and Dr. Shannon Tushingham.

Colleen Delaney, University of California, Channel Islands
Out of the Ashes: Archaeological Investigations of a post-WWII structure at Camarillo State Hospital

The California State University Channel Islands campus buildings were originally constructed when Camarillo State Hospital was opened in the 1930s. In addition to a medical hospital and patient wards, the hospital included a working farm with row crops and orchards, as well as a dairy and piggery. During archaeological surveys of campus after the May 2013 Springs fire, students and faculty located a small structure built on a hillside near the former farm/dairy. This structure is a mystery, as it is not identified on any hospital plans or maps, and is not visible in aerial photographs from the 1930s-1970s. This presentation focuses on the results of our summer 2019 excavation of the structure, outlining the artifacts recovered and our interpretation of this enigmatic structure.

Sarah Heffner, Environmental Scientist (Archaeologist), California Department of Water Resources
Excavating a Community: Telling the Story of Yreka’s Chinese Community Through an Archaeological and Historical Lens

In the spring of 1969, through constant snow and freezing temperatures, archaeologists with the Department of Parks and Recreation, local volunteers, and college students, excavated the remains of Yreka, California’s, third Chinatown, occupied from 1886 through the 1940s. It was a large-scale salvage excavation designed to recover as much archaeological evidence of the Chinatown prior to its destruction by the construction of I-5. After three months of excavation, archaeologists had dug 73 units and two trenches, identified nine features, and recorded over 5,000 artifacts. Artifacts include both Chinese (porcelain, medicine vials, eating utensils, coins, opium pipes) and non-Chinese (liquor bottles, patent medicine bottles, toys). When combined with historical research and archival information, these artifacts help tell the story of Yreka’s Chinese community and provide a glimpse into their daily lives and struggles.

Kate Magargal, University of Utah 
Forests of fuel: Firewood harvest as a driver of social and ecological change

Surface-harvested biofuels, of which firewood is a major constituent, comprised the major fuel source for all humans until very recently. Even today, roughly one-third of the global population depends on surface fuels harvested daily from woodlands and forests. This economic relationship forms the basis for a long and continuing connection between humans and arboreal ecosystems. With data collected among contemporary Diné ‘wood haulers,’ I employ an ethnoarchaeological approach to explore the dynamics between prehistoric fuel use as a driver of settlement patterning and ecological change.

Shannon Tushingham, Washington State University, and Tiffany Fulkerson, Washington State University
Geophyte Field Processing: Experimental and Theoretical Approaches to Understanding Front-Loaded Plant Storage Strategies

Geophytes provide an important source of food in many parts of the world, and archaeologists are gaining a greater appreciation for their importance in the past. Although geophyte processing and storage is often portrayed as a relatively straightforward endeavor, requiring less coordination (and labor) than other front-loaded foods such as salmon, many traditional processing methods could be quite complicated, required a great deal of coordination and work, and involved decisions about when, how, and where to process and store the food. Understanding the logic behind how these decisions were made can have broad implications for understanding settlement-subsistence patterns on the landscape scale. Geophyte storage and field processing decisions involved several alternative strategic outcomes, which were heavily influenced by how far people had to travel to get geophytes back to central places, processing time, and geophyte utility before and after processing. We present a geophyte field processing model developed for the Plateau and discuss potential applications of the model for California archaeology. We also address gaps in key nutritional data—for instance, little information exists about how different traditional food preparation methods alter the nutritional value by volume or weight (and hence, utility), of geophyte foods—and ways in which experimentation and collaborative research can fill knowledge gaps while also serving descendant communities.

2020 Orphaned Collections Professional Services and Curation Project 

The 2020 Orphaned Collections Award for 2020 goes to Susan Gilliand and Joan Schneider for their project, Curating the Blue Goose

Curating the Blue Goose: 1A Project to Assemble, Prepare for Curation, Curate, and Publish the Research Data and Artifact Collection from Dr. Claude N. Warren’s 1960’s Excavations at the C.W. Harris site CA-SDI-149.

Submitted by: Susan H Gilliland, Archaeological Collections Specialist, for project led by Dr. Joan Schneider


This project will organize, catalog and curate a classic “orphan collection” held by a retired archaeologist, Dr. Claude N. Warren. For over 50 years Dr. Warren has stored all the field notes, artifacts, maps, drawings, photographs and analyses from his 1965 and 1967 excavations at the

C.W. Harris site in the San Diego coastal region. Although it was Dr. Warren’s intention to complete this project, the work from this very important site was always set aside for more pressing projects. His analyses are only partially completed, and the artifacts and field data have not been organized and prepared for curation. Much of the material is still in the original paper field bags. Unfortunately, Warren is not able to complete his long-deferred research. He has authorized Dr. Joan Schneider and her associate Susan Gilliland to assemble, organize, curate and publish this material. Wendy Teeter, Archaeological Curator of the Fowler Museum at UCLA, will accept the entire collection into permanent curation once it has been properly cataloged. Schneider and Gilliland have made three trips to Las Vegas, Nevada to gather and assemble the physical and digital materials. All materials are now stored together in a safe location. This winter the team will begin sorting and cataloging the approximately 30 boxes of material. Schneider and Gilliland will publish the written portions of the research that has been partially completed by Dr. Warren. The entire collection will be available to researchers when it is moved to the Fowler. The team presented a paper on this project during the 2019 Kelso Conference. Our work on this project is pro-bono. We would use SCA Grant money to purchase archival supplies to prepare the collection for submission to the Fowler Museum under the Fowler Museum Curation Agreement protocol.

1 The Blue Goose is the affectionate name for Dr. Warren’s stand-alone office at his former Nevada home.