Archaeological Explorations in Shasta Valley, California

Author(s): Blossom Hamusek; Eric W. Ritter; Julie Burcell

Year: 1997


The Bureau of Land Management proposed to transfer approximately 4300 acres in eastern Shasta Valley, Siskiyou County to non-federal entities. These lands were were scattered in 17 parcels. Before they were disposed of, intensive (Class Ill) archaeological inventory was completed for these parcels with the exception of one parcel and a portion of a second that were subsequently dropped from the disposal action due to important cultural values. The overall inventory resulted in the documentation (or redocumentation) of 40 lithic scatters, three occupation sites with midden, two rockshelters with midden, three presumed temporary occupation/seasonal camps, three rock enclosures, nine historic rock walls, three historic trails, two cattle camps, and one historic can scatter (66 sites total). There were also 150 isolates, mostly prehistoric flaked stone remains, minimally documented. A concentration of sites of varied complexity and type was found in the vicinity of Sheep Rock. Native American informants (Shasta) also identified this geographical area as a sacred place.

Development of research issues and a historic context framework, centered on culture history/chronology, settlement/subsistence/economics, lithic technology and procurement, exploration/transportation, and livestock management aided in evaluating site significance. Considerable archival research, informant interviews, resource documentation, subsurface exploration, and artifact analyses contributed to the National Register of Historic Places evaluations.

Both the prehistoric and historic remains reflect apparent cultural marginality and conservatism. Prehistoric. remains range from early Archaic to late prehistoric times, primarily associated with logistically-oriented foragers and hunters using valley-edge residential bases. Pulses in the activities over time are evident, perhaps related to environmental stress. There is little evidence in the parcels to suggest a high demographic profile. Historic sites correlate with sheep and cattle grazing, cattle drives, and early exploration and travel/transportation. Euroamerican occupation sites are limited, short-term locations related to grazing and, perhaps, wood cutting. The concentration of prehistoric sites around Sheep Rock is not a surprise when considering modern Native American oral traditions and ethnographic data. This area, favored by prehistoric peoples, was also a focus of later historic activities, a reflection of Sheep Rock's landmark status, terrain configuration, and hydrology.

Cite this Record

Archaeological Explorations in Shasta Valley, California. Blossom Hamusek, Eric W. Ritter, Julie Burcell. Cultural Resources Publications-Archaeology. Redding, CA: Bureau of Land Management, Redding Field Office. 1997 ( tDAR id: 394024) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8G161T5

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections


Temporal Coverage

Calendar Date: -6000 to 1850

Spatial Coverage

min long: -122.963; min lat: 41.29 ; max long: -122.04; max lat: 41.917 ;

Individual & Institutional Roles

Sponsor(s): Bureau of Land Management, Redding Field Office

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