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Site Discovered at Channel Islands National Park
CA – June 2017 / Newsmaker Alert / The
National Park Service (NPS) discovered a significant ancient Native American
site while conducting archeological monitoring during a rehabilitation
project of the historic Main Ranch House on Santa
discovered artifacts characteristic of ancient Paleocoastal sites that
were occupied by the first islanders on the northern Channel
Islands between 8,000 and 13,000 years ago.
now believe that ancient sites from this period may be evidence of a coastal
migration following the North Pacific Rim from Northeast Asia into the
Americas, part of the peopling of the new world.
ancient site was discovered under the Main Ranch House, part of the historic
Vail & Vicker Ranch at Bechers Bay, in the process of lifting the building
to construct a new foundation.
northern Channel Islands have one of the largest and most significant clusters
of early coastal sites in the Americas with more than 100 sites over 7,500
years old,” said Jon Erlandson, University of Oregon Archeologist and leading
expert on Paleocoastal archaeology. “We suspect the site is at least 10,000
years old, with evidence of some of the earliest people on the West Coast,
the first Americans.”
the artifacts uncovered were two types of stone tools that are distinctly
representative of early North American Paleoindians —Channel Islands barbed
points and crescents. Made from local island chert and used for hunting
and fishing, they are signatures of a sophisticated technology of early
tool making on the Channel Islands.
early settlement sites on the Channel Islands produced several milestones
in archaeology including the earliest evidence for seafaring and island
colonization in North America, the oldest shell middens in North America,
and the earliest basketry from the Pacific Coast of North America.
Rosa Island is also the location of the discovery of Arlington Man, the
oldest known human remains found in North America, dating to about over
13,000 years ago.
of the ancestral homeland of the Island Chumash, many contemporary Chumash
families trace their heritage to Santa Rosa Island. There were up to 1,200
Chumash living there in at least nine known historic Chumash village sites,
including Hichimin, which was located near the historic main ranch complex.
Main Ranch House is a prominent building in the historic ranch, which operated
as a sheep and cattle ranch for more than 150 years. It was constructed
sometime after 1869 and it is believed to be one of the oldest wood framed
structures in Santa Barbara County.
NPS is involved in a major rehabilitation project on the historic ranch
house on Santa Rosa Island for a new use as visitor lodging. This rehabilitation
project is being conducted in a manner that preserves the historical integrity
of the building. It will include constructing a new foundation, increasing
its structural stability, repairing important architectural elements, and
making it accessible.
this discovery, work on the ranch rehabilitation project was suspended
to conduct an archaeological investigation. An NPS archaeological team,
in consultation with the Chumash, is conducting careful test excavations
in the vicinity of the ranch house to determine the nature, extent, and
integrity of the deposits.
NPS is consulting with tribal and preservation partners to monitor this
work, to discuss management of the site, and to assess the results of the
test excavations in order to determine the best course of action.
ancient site is believed to have considerable value and protecting it is
part of the core mission of the NPS and the park’s enabling legislation.”
said Channel Islands National
Park Superintendent Russell Galipeau. “Our goal is to preserve both
of these important and irreplaceable cultural resources found in the park.”
resources at Channel Islands National Park represent an important aspect
of the scientific and cultural significance of the park. National Park
Service policy guides the park to protect scientifically significant resources
by on-site protection and stabilization, or collection.
visitors are encouraged to see and experience these amazing resources,
but must leave them in place undisturbed. Collecting, possessing, trafficking
in, removing, destroying, injuring, defacing, or disturbing archeological
resources is prohibited by federal law and agency regulations.
Channel Islands National Park
Islands National Park, America’s 40th national park, was established by
Congress on March 5, 1980. The park is made up of five islands — Anacapa,
Santa Cruz, Santa Rosa, San Miguel, and Santa Barbara — and the waters
within one nautical mile of each island. The park bridges two major biogeographical
provinces within 250,000 acres of land and sea, protecting a rich array
of natural and cultural resources. The park offers the public with unparalleled
opportunities for solitude, tranquility, wildlife viewing, outdoor recreation,
and education. Visit www.NPS.gov/chis/index.htm
for more information.
the National Park Service
than 20,000 National Park Service employees care for America’s 417 national
parks and work with communities across the nation to help preserve local
history and create close-to-home recreational opportunities. Visit us at
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