Crisis and Opportunity: Legacy Collections and Archaeological Research in the 21st Century

Part of: Society for American Archaeology 80th Annual Meeting, San Francisco, CA (2015)

Museum curators, archaeologists, and researchers are forging ahead with creative and innovative ways of dealing with the day-to-day realities of the curation crisis in the 21st century. This crisis is a national phenomenon. However, recent collaborations between museum staff, academic and professional archaeologists, students, and local archaeological organizations, presents an opportunity to demonstrate the research and curation value of connecting students and researchers with existing scholarly assets – such as legacy collections - in lieu of creating new collections. This session highlights current research with existing archaeological collections from the American Southwest, and provides a forum to continue the dialogue on addressing the curation crisis.

Resources Inside This Collection (Viewing 1-13 of 13)

  • Documents (13)

  • Addressing the Curation Crisis through Research in University Legacy Collections (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elanor Sonderman.

    Despite their critical importance, the care and management of archaeological collections has not always been at the forefront of the discipline’s overall methodology or federal and state regulations that are intended to mitigate harm to those resources. A seminal paper by Marquardt et al. (1982) argued for the existence of a crisis in the curation of archaeological collections. Marquardt, et al. (1982) as well as Childs (1995, 2003) and Sonderman (1996) highlight the ethical responsibility to...

  • Ethical Consumption and Archaeological Ethics: a case study in the responsible treatment of cultural collections and the resulting lessons learned (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Heather McDaniel.

    The backlog of curated archaeological collections can be overwhelming; and the notion of taking on another’s "work" can seem very daunting and at times, considering who the "other" might be, down right intimidating. So many variables add to the challenge of assuming the responsibility of a curated collection, but they also offer great potential for personal, academic and professional growth. It is the prospect, after all, of finding the missing piece to the puzzle and making sense of the...

  • Examination of an archaeological legacy collection from San Fernando Mission, California. (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only John Foster.

    The 1971 San Fernando Earthquake severely damaged several buildings at San Fernando Mission, which had been established in 1797. In May 1973, the church was slated for demolition and during the course of that activity several burials were encountered. Students and volunteers from California State University, Northridge (CSUN) were asked to assist in the removal of the burials, artifacts, and documentation of features that had been found. I had been one of those volunteers and was the "dig...

  • Excavating the Collections: Redefining Archaeological Practice in the 21st Century through Utilizing Existing Assemblages (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Ann Stansell.

    The Northridge Archaeological Research Center (NARC), which began as a student club on the campus of San Fernando Valley State College in 1969, was involved in more than 800 cultural resource management projects throughout Southern California before falling inactive in 1996. Accessibility of the collections has been variable over the years. In recent years however, these legacy collections which are now housed at and administered by the Anthropological Research Institute at California State...

  • An Exploration Into a New Method of Skeletal Inventory in a Curatorial Setting (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Margarita Villarreal. Lindsay Jacoby. Karimah Richardson.

    The Standards for Data Collection from Human Skeletal Remains has been the standard for inventorying skeletal collections around the country, as well as most recently adopted by the Autry National Center of the American West. In 2011, a new digital method of inventory was developed by the Smithsonian Institution, called Osteoware. Osteoware is intended to be a common set of core observations between different researchers and incorporates The Standards. This project looks over the merits and...

  • Forget Me Nots: Smaller Collections Need Archaeologists Too (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Stephanie LapeyreMontrose.

    From Native Americans to Spanish and European settlers, Southern California has a rich history. One town in particular, Simi Valley, incorporated in 1969, was home to several Chumash villages, part of the Santiago Pico 1795 Land Grant, and attracted European settlers. CA-VEN-346, the El Rancho Simi Adobe, was occupied during all three eras. It was a Chumash village, home to Santiago Pico, and home to European settler Robert Strathearn and family. When Robert Strathearn purchased the El Rancho...

  • Forgotten Finds: Updating Existing Collections for Modern Research (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Mario Borrero.

    The existing collections of our nation’s institutions hold great potential for future research and should be subject to modern scientific inquiry. If these collections are not catalogued or sorted properly, they can lie forgotten and virtually inaccessible to scholarly research. The example presented here is of a legacy collection, comprised of artifacts from the Tulare Lake area in Kings County, California. This selection is primarily of lithic tools, which represent ancient California...

  • It Takes a Village to Curate Burro Flats (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Carol Plannette.

    Nestled in the hills of Simi Valley at what is known as the "old" Rocketdyne site and where NASA conducted testing for the Airspace program, is the sacred site of Burro Flats. Considered to be a ceremonial site with evidence of astronomical alignments, Burro Flats carries important meaning for some of the tribes of Southern California, primarily the Chumash and other local communities such as the Fernandeno and the Gabrielino/Tongva. Mainly known for its’ painted cave drawings associated with...

  • Legacy Collections in Public Education (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Elisabeth Rareshide.

    Not all legacy collections are forgotten in dusty boxes. Some find new life in public education, offering non-archaeologists tangible connections to the past. Integrating legacy artifact and document collections with effective education techniques provides the opportunity to engage children and adults in archaeology. Through the case study of developing an interactive educational tour about pre-Contact Chumash at the Leonis Adobe Museum in Calabasas, this paper explores practical concerns...

  • A "Lost" Collection Makes Its Way Home: The Long Road of the Lost Village of Encino (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Barbara Tejada.

    When a major village site was encountered during construction monitoring in the early 1980s, newspapers declared that the "Lost Village of Encino" had at last been found. In reality, archaeologists suspected its presence since the 1950s based on descriptions of the Portolá expeditions of 1769 and 1770. The resulting archaeological data recovery produced a large collection of artifacts, as well as human and animal burials. Subsequent disputes between the developer, archaeologists, the Native...

  • Turning "Crisis" into Opportunity: Rediscovering and Reconnecting with a Colonial Era California Collection (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Austin Ringelstein.

    In the late 19th century museum collectors recovered an abundance of cultural materials from the Channel Islands and dispersed them to national museums. Although they recorded important ethnological observations, their practices were often not in the best interests of native peoples or even academics. Many of the artifacts were stored without provenience information and in many ways disregarded. However, the unique preservation of legacy collections provides an excellent opportunity to...

  • Understanding Island Tongva Villages: Results From the Catalina Island Museum's Toyon Collection (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Hugh Radde.

    The Catalina Island Museum (CIM) cares for the largest collection of Island Tongva (Gabrielino) artifacts in the world, the results of early expeditions, modern excavations as well as objects donated by Catalina Islanders. Opened in 1953, the Catalina Island Museum boasts a wealth of historic, archaeological, and archival materials that document life from the first islanders 8000 years ago to the present day, and strives to provide awareness and appreciation of the island’s rich heritage...

  • Unearthing the Mysteries of the Frank Palmer Archaeology Collections (2015)
    DOCUMENT Citation Only Monica Corpuz.

    The Frank Palmer collections were the founding collections of the first museum in Los Angeles, the Southwest Museum, opened in 1914, and also for the Southwest Society’s exhibit in the Pacific Electric Building in downtown Los Angeles of 1907. Their profound importance to the individual founders of the museum, the Southwest Society and to the general populace of Los Angeles is well documented in meeting minutes, newspaper clippings and articles in magazines. The artifacts assembled by Frank...