Photos: Archeology of Montara, AD 1500


Posted by on Sat, April 11, 2009

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Barry Parr
The dig took place in this ditch.
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Barry Parr
Soil from the trench is screened
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Barry Parr
A bone fragment screened from the soil

This weekend, State Parks archeologist Mark Hylkema directed about a dozen participants in a dig on the bluffs of Montara.  You may have seen the work from the highway as you passed through town Friday and Saturday. By nightfall Saturday, he would be gone and the site would be returned to its previous condition.

The Chiguan sub-band of Ohlone Indians butchered sea otters at a settlement overlooking the ocean around AD 1500, leaving behind the mound that overlooks the ocean here. The workers were recovering shells and bones. These would be used to research the natives’ diet, as well as assess changes in climate in the last 500 years.

Hylkema last dug at this site 25 years ago, when he was graduate student, and when carbon dating was less sophisticated.

Hylkema also took a core sample, which will be used to look for much smaller remains, such as fish bones and otoliths—tiny earbones from fish which must be examined under a microscope, but which can provide information about the species butchered on the site.

 

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Barry Parr

State Parks archeologist Mark Hylkema.
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Barry Parr

Core samples removed from the trench. 
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Barry Parr

 
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Barry Parr

 
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Barry Parr

 

 


Thanks for posting this. My son and I went for a hike on Montara Friday night and noted the trucks, tents and archaeology gear at that landing and we were wondering what was up. Unfortunately between baseball and Easter we didn’t get out on the mountain this weekend to see the actual dig in progress. Nice to see the pictures, though.

One day last summer while hiking to the top of the mountain I met some folks who were asking about some petroglyphs that were supposed to exist on some rock faces high up on the mountain. The location was supposedly on the south-facing slope above where the singletrack (not the road) from San Pedro County Park comes in from the northwest and below the Knob where the USGS marker is located. Anyone know if what they were looking for exists? And clues to the location?

Todd