tDAR Logo tDAR digital antiquity

Examination of an archaeological legacy collection from San Fernando Mission, California.

Author(s): John Foster

Year: 2015

» Downloads & Basic Metadata


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 foreman" for the project. Forty years later to the month (May 2013) I returned to CSUN with the intent to analyze and publish those findings.

Coincidently a revitalized Anthropology Department had repackaged and assembled the artifacts and records into a coherent body of data that could easily be accessible just prior to my arrival. The result was a challenging and rewarding experience in working with old collections. Piecing together notes, maps, photographs, artifacts, and fragmented catalogs was as much an excavation as the original work albeit with paper and files. This paper summarizes the trials and tribulations of revisiting these collections, and makes recommendations for future researchers.

SAA 2015 abstracts made available in tDAR courtesy of the Society for American Archaeology and Center for Digital Antiquity Collaborative Program to improve digital data in archaeology. If you are the author of this presentation you may upload your paper, poster, presentation, or associated data (up to 3 files/30MB) for free. Please visit for instructions and more information.

This Resource is Part of the Following Collections

Cite this Record

Examination of an archaeological legacy collection from San Fernando Mission, California.. John Foster. Presented at The 80th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, San Francisco, California. 2015 ( tDAR id: 396436)


Spatial Coverage

min long: -125.464; min lat: 32.101 ; max long: -114.214; max lat: 42.033 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America